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energy efficient technologies – in the Woodshop

At a time that global change is becoming even more evident we all need to take note of the current environmental situation we find ourselves in.

Scientists have made it quite clear that we have very little time left to make the changes required to prevent perpetual negative climate change. We have no choice but to change the way we live and work. 

With this constantly being refreshed in my mind I have decided to make some changes. These changes are energy-saving thus good for the planet but any changes I make also have to be good for my pocket.

We must not keep looking at ourselves and our situation but we have to think about our children who inherit our spoils.

Greta Thunberg is a young environmental activist who is drawing sympathisers to the environmental cause. Sadly some generations are ignoring the situation as they feel that it’s probably not their problem. The things we fail to accept is that we are the ones who have caused the current situation for the next generation and all planet life.

We can make a difference

If you work in a place which requires power to run then there are some things we can all do. 

Here I write about the things that we can do in our workshops to reduce our power consumption. Including additional systems Which can provide some of our daily electrical consumption.

Economic use of power

Before you decide on building that 50kw wind turbine thinks about the changes you can make regarding your work habits. 

The machines that we use can be a prime culprit.

Working out our power consumption

Looking at all our biggest power-hungry machines and assuming they are the cause of our high consumption could be a little deceiving. 

You should not just look at the kilowatt of a machine but the length of time it is using power. 

It is not always the machines that are the biggest problem. As an example, I made a simple change in my workshop. I swapped all my fluorescent lighting with LED lighting. 

My workshop has very little natural light the artificial lights are on most of the day. The point being is that although the wattage wasn’t too high it was on for 8 to 10 hours a day. 

My lighting consumed 550 watts. If it is running for 10 hours a day that is 5.5-kilowatt-hours per day. In France where the electricity costs about 20 centimes per kilowatt-hour. My lighting was costing me roughly €1 per day which equates to over €300 a year just to power lighting in my workshop. 

Changes I made to my workshop lighting.

For me, this was a no-brainer as the cost of the change would be paid for within 6-months and now I am quids in or should I say euros in?

The changes I made reduced my lighting watts from 550 to under 200 watts. Almost a third less. So my daily consumption of electricity for my workshop lighting is now only 2 kilowatt-hours per day costing less than €40 per year. 

The change of my lights didn’t just put through extra coins in my pocket. The quality of the lighting was far superior. Fluorescent lighting flickered although you couldn’t see that there is a frequency. This frequency caused me eye strain and potential headaches. I feel that the LED lighting in my workshop is much healthier. My LED lighting has a neutral colour balance which is better when mixing paints. 

Other changes I made to my lighting.

One thing I found was that I had a habit of getting distracted. As I have a home-based workshop my garden is also nearby. I might just wander off to get something for my work or a drink and get distracted. In the meantime, the lights are still on sometimes it could be for hours.

I decided that I needed to do something to turn my lights out if I’m not what in the workshop. This was a simple problem to solve. I installed a PIR sensor the kind you might find on an automatic outside light. You can buy these senses as an individual item to be wired into your lighting. I did give this some thought and was a little concerned that if I wasn’t moving that the lights would go out. 

Although in most situations this is not a problem if I was using the table saw or band saw etc then the lights go out involuntarily this could be dangerous. To solve this I placed a single light wired independently of the PIR sensor. This secondary light meant that I was never left in darkness although not total brightness. This emergency light is only 10 watts so if I do accidentally leave the lights on it’s not what such a problem. 

Daylight workshop

I have to admit I would dearly love to have a daylight workshop. Sadly for me, that is not possible. My workshop is an old French barn which has limited windows. 

There are other ways to get light into our workshop

  1. Skylight – is commonly known as a Velux 
  2. Lantern Light –  is a skylight that has side windows
  3. Light Tunnel – is a shiny metal tube from the roof
  4. Borrowed light – is where you allow light from an already well-lit room or space

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