back to article Westminster street lamp pay-back cut to 750 years

Someone owes Westminster City Council an apology: the amortisation period on its new planet-saving street lamps is not, as we reported yesterday, an astounding 1,450 years, but a rather more modest 750 years. To recap, the borough is upgrading all of its street lighting to incorporate new £1,000-a-hit Furyo Lanterns. This will …


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  2. JP

    It doesn't add up...

    Do the new calculations include the reduced number of lights on the SAVINGS side? Have they calculated the energy costs of the trucks going around and replacing all the dang bulbs? What is the life-time of such a bulb?

    It's alright saving for our children, but I wouldn't want to leave our children's children in the dark...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing new

    You'll be hard pushed to find any 'energy saving' product that doesn't actually take more energy/money to manufacture & use than it saves compared to the original solution (low energy bulbs, solar panels, double glazing etc. etc.), and/or causes excessive environmental damage during manufacture or disposal (e.g. mercury in low energy lamps, toxic byproducts of solar panel manufacturing), and/or has an excessively low service life (output half-life of low energy bulbs, short service life of wind turbines) and/or is unacceptable from a reliability or performance viewpoint (solar power, wind power etc. etc.).

    Energy saving, renewable energy and the rest is something that is very open to hype from those supplying the products, or those tricked into believing they actually work.

    After all, the real best solution is often not the obvious one - remember that a Jeep is the overall best vehicle to buy from an environmental impact viewpoint due to the low *lifetime* energy usage in development, manufacture, service & disposal, while the 'green' option of something like a Prius is incredibly damaging overall.

    Then again, if I could charge someone £1000 for an 'energy saving' bulb that only saves £1 worth of energy a year, and get away with it, then I'd be out there too shouting about saving the environment.

    And for the record, the south of England is sinking due to post-glacial rebound, so the possibility that London may get wet someday isn't all down to sea levels, whatever people may like to pretend.

  4. davefb

    not bulbs , lamps

    Quick google for Furyo shows that these aren't bulbs,, these are the whole street lamps . So if we're doing Co2 savings calculations they should include the cost of all that steel or aluminium. The article talks about the cost being between 800 and 2000 pounds depending upon the condition of the original lamp , I assume that relates to how many parts of it need replacing ? Well at least they'll look nicer as well.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the maths sucks

    that is less than .2 Pence per day

  6. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    All a crock of proverbial anyway...

    Oliver, the reason they keep raising the barrier is because the south of england is sinking, and the greater London area itself is sinking even faster as ground water is pumped out from underneath it. The IPCC's projected global sea level changes up to the end of this century are in the region of 12 inches as a worst case scenario. This figure has been revised down with every IPCC report released, and I reckon it'll go down again next time too. I agree London will probably be irreversibly flooded eventually, but it won't be because of global warming.

  7. Peter W

    lets have a look at the numbers

    "The lamps were trialled in Harrow Road and saved, on an average day, enough energy to light a house for two days. "

    A typical house has say 4 light bulbs on at once (living room, kitchen, couple of hallways, plus say a bathroom/bedroom), 80W each. each one on for 4 hours a day (say 7-11, more in winter, less in summer).

    4bulbs*4hr*80W = 1.3kWhr a day, 2.6kWhr over 2 days.

    So very roughly they are saying it will save ~940 kWh a year. They probably get a very cheap electricity price, say 4p/kWh. That's £37.60 a year saving, which across 15,000 lights makes a saving of 564,000 a year and a payback period of less than 50 years (depending on how you want to run the interest rates will change the length).

    Now there are a huge set of assumptions and guesses in there but I can't believe it's out by a factor of 25. Essentially either they have the £20,000 figure massively wrong, or the "enough to light a house for two days" completely out.

    Or to put it in reverse: 20k/yr over 15k lights is a saving of £1.33 a year each: since it's saving enough each day to light a house for 2 days, does anyone really think they only spend 66p a year on lighting their house?

  8. Adrian Derham

    We will need all the light we can get

    When the Government installs an enormous pair of sunglasses between Earth and the Sun (which as some of us know is responsible for climate change), then we may need artifical street light during the daytime. These street lights are a fantastic investment for the future.

  9. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Have they got the WHOLE envronmental cost?

    Just curious.

    Fewer lamps may be needed and they may have a reduced power requirement (and hence emissions), but what is the carbon cost of replacing all those streetlamps in the first place?

    Could someone work out the TRUE carbon cost, including mining of the ore, smelting, production of glass, fabrication, delivery, installation and maintenance costs?

    Just curious to know if it's been thought through from start to finish, rather than cherry-picking the good bits.

  10. GrahamT

    I'm surprised there is much scope for saving energy or money.

    Street lamps usually use sodium lamps. These are pretty efficient anyway.

    But if the improved reflectors reduce light pollution, that will at least raise half a cheer from astronomers.

  11. Luca Spiller


    Couldn't they just reduce the number of street lamps to save money? I live in a village that doesn't have a single street lamp and we are all fine. Most built up areas seem to have far to many street lamps to me, and I expect you would be able to see just as well by turning off every other one.

    You could always go down to your local Poundland and invest in a torch.

  12. Rob Farnell

    Just think of the possibilities

    Do you think we are suddenly going to have a black market of Furyo lanterns going at £1000 a pop.

    Don't they get a discount on the lights when bulk purchasing them like some sort of BOGOF system?

    Finally while looking for the lights on the web I found this forum discussion on their favourite streetlights!:

  13. Arnold Lieberman

    It's not the bulb!

    After a bit of digging, my first impression that it was the bulb that is being changed is wrong - it's actually the lamp itself that is being replaced:

    So, it's £1k a pop being spent on a shiny aluminium (and glass) lampshade, nothing that couldn't be done with a new tinfoil insert into the current design, I should imagine.

  14. Ian Michael Gumby

    Silly English number crunchers!

    In all of your number crunching... did you bother to consider the following:

    1) current lamps may be towards the end of their life cycles? Nothing lasts forever.

    2) Rather than replace lamp by lamp or street by street, the project would have been cheaper by replacing them en-masse as well as the esthetic value?

    3) Cost includes labor.

    4) You assume a stable energy price over the next n years.

    Also, what's wrong with a time for ROI to stretch beyond 5 years or 10 years?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Wouldn't it be better to stick the 15 million in the bank at 5% and use the interest to replace end of lifed lamps around Westminster = 750 lamps per year 20 years the jobs a goodun.

    Whats the carbon footprint of 1000's cars stuck in jams when they are fitting all these around the place.

    Any spare interest could be put to good use like 'working visit to south america to look at lighting for around 20 councillors', don't worry about the cost of the hookers as thats a different council fund.

  16. H2Nick

    It must be easy to spunk £15 million if it's not yours...

    ...especially if you aren't numerate.

    (If you were, you could see what a huge waste of money this will be)

  17. Glenn Helms

    Cost-Benefit Analysis

    The installation of costly lamps that won't save Westminster money for 750 years is a classic example of governmental stupidity. While not outright malfeasance, it is darn close! The comment about saving energy is astonishing. Everyone involved is obviously clueless when it comes to conducting a cost-benefit analysis! Oh, well, what the hell! It's just ratepayers' money. The plain fact is that the lamps will be long gone well before 750 years elapses. Westminster has made a huge mistake and is trying to deflect responsibility for incompetent management.

  18. alan buxey

    mesh wireless

    if they'd had half a clue they could have installed the mesh wireless onto these devices as they were deployed......logistics eh? ;-)

    I'm for the other comments regarding just replacing the head-units of the old


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