Hello. This is Kumiko reporting from the suburbs of Florence, Italy. Energy efficiency has become a concern in Italy because electricity is supplied from other countries and the rates continue to rise. Many people are also becoming more eco-aware and are striving to save energy by replacing traditional light bulbs with LED lighting. Let's begin our report on how my family is replacing the light bulbs in our Italian home.
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We decided to use two types of LED bulb
We just purchased two types of LED bulb of different sizes for our home. The E27 bulb, called Nostalgic Clear in Europe, produces a warm and soft glow, while the E14 bulb provides stronger, more direct lighting. My husband Massimiliano will replace the bulbs himself today. Our lights currently use low-consumption fluorescent bulbs that were popular about five years ago. First, we will change the floor lamp in the living room and the lamp over the dining table. Our eldest son, Yuri (7), and second son, José (4), are coming over to see what their father is up to.
Replacing LED bulbs with little spectators on hand
Next, we will replace bulbs in the dining room, children's room and bedroom so that most of our major rooms feature LED bulbs. One by one, my husband changes the lights in each room together with the fascinated children. Shouts of "whoo!" can be heard from each room every time the switch is flipped on.
Indirect lighting is popular in Italian homes, where lights are typically only placed in areas of the room that require them. Families prefer softer lighting that creates a nice atmosphere, rather than bright lighting that directly illuminates the entire room. About a decade ago, when I first came to Italy, I thought lighting in homes and streets was rather dim and insufficient. But now that I am used to the softer lighting, I consider the lighting in many big cities to be blindingly bright. Upon the release of LED bulbs, we heard they produce cold blue lighting. But we were happy to learn about Panasonic LED bulbs that produce a warm, comforting atmosphere appropriate for cozy Italian homes.
Outdoor lighting is a must for rural homes
Having finished with the interior lighting, we moved from the kitchen to the terrace where the bulbs over the stone oven and BBQ grill are ready to be replaced. When European city dwellers dine outdoors, they typically dine at tables along streets or in open spaces. But people in rural areas enjoy meals in the yard with family members and friends.
In the past, we considered LED bulbs too expensive for outdoor use. But we used the terrace so much in recent years that we finally decided it would be worth it. Even if we use the new LED bulbs frequently, they are likely to last 40 years! My husband mused after changing the bulbs "Who knows, this may be the last time I ever replace a light". (He spoke too quick. I'm afraid he forgot the bedside stand lights in the bedroom that we plan to change in the future.)
Eco-friendliness takes hold in Italy's slow-paced lifestyle
Our home is located in the town of Londa, 35 km away from Florence. Many families enjoy homemade vegetables and olive oil from their own gardens in this town where people have always enjoyed a close relationship with nature. About five years ago, when waste disposal guidelines were renewed in the town, we began developing an interest toward environmental issues. The old system used large trash bins in sets spread far apart. But the new system uses smaller bins in sets that are closer together to serve up to 10 households. They are also locked to ensure that only residents with the right keys can use them. Thanks to the efficiency of this new system, 70% of waste is now correctly separated, versus 50% in the old system.
The success of this waste management system encouraged us to also reduce the amount of waste we generate. As a family that worked hard to reduce waste by replacing various items in our home, it seemed only natural to switch to LEDs. Moreover, we would certainly enjoy the savings in our electric bills. While Italy is seeking to implement new renewable energy sources, it still receives its electric power from other countries and the rates continue to rise every year. Electric power companies claim that lighting bills drop to one-tenth current levels after adopting LED bulbs. Let's cross our fingers and hope for a pleasant surprise in next month's bill.