How much light energy waste are UK households responsible for?

"It’s like Blackpool Illuminations in here"



Many will have ingrained memories of their parents yelling out: “It’s like Blackpool Illuminations in here” if they forgot to turn the ‘big light’ off when not using a room.

The world-famous light show has been a staple of British culture for over 140 years, so it’s no surprise they’ve become an intrinsic part of our everyday vocabulary. But this got us thinking…exactly how much energy does the UK waste each year by unnecessarily leaving the lights on?

To find out, we surveyed 2000 UK adults, who told us they estimate they leave the lights on unnecessarily for 3 hours and 36 seconds every single day - that’s 21 hours, 4 minutes, and 12 seconds each week!

Check out the blog below to find out how many years the nation’s light energy waste could power the iconic Blackpool Illuminations, how many households in the UK could be powered each year from the light energy waste, and how to save energy by remembering to turn off the lights.

How many years could the Blackpool Illuminations be powered for with the UK’s light energy waste?

The Blackpool Illuminations have lit up the seaside town annually since 1879, stretching six miles along the town’s Promenade.

The annual light show uses an estimated 960,000kWh of energy per year, according to VisitBlackpool. For context, the average household in the UK uses around 2,700kWh annually - a whopping 356 times less than what’s needed for the light show.

Believe it or not, the nation could power the Blackpool Illuminations for almost 354 consecutive years - just from their annual light energy waste!

If the Blackpool Illuminations were always on, the UK’s annual light energy waste could power them for a mammoth 117 years, 11 months, three weeks, five days, 18 hours, 49 minutes and 37 seconds straight.

How many households could be powered with the UK’s annual wasted light energy?

While most of us are taught from childhood to turn the lights off before we leave a room, many of us have really felt the impact of leaving them on over the past few years due to rising energy costs.

Based on the average household usage of 2,700kWh of energy, we estimate the nation could power 125,856 homes for an entire year from light energy waste!

But exactly how much electricity does a light bulb use?

A standard 100W light bulb requires around 0.1 kW an hour, but LED light bulbs are far more common, with typical wattages of 4 to 18. So, you can assume your LED bulbs only use somewhere in the range of 0.011kW an hour.

While this might seem like just a tiny fraction of the annual energy use of the average household, the wasted 21 hours, 4 minutes, and 12 seconds of light energy per week becomes 1,095 hours and 36 minutes every single year per household. Or, the equivalent of around 12.05kWh wasted.

How to save energy by remembering to turn off the lights

Regardless of how significant conserving global energy or saving money on our utility bills might be to us personally, when it comes to remembering to switch the lights off, many people are still attempting to break a lifelong habit of accidentally leaving them on.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, but recent studies have actually proven that it takes a little longer for one to become an automatic part of our behaviour - 66 days, to be exact - and as much as 254 days until it is fully formed. Safe to say, switching the lights off is quite a lifestyle change.

To help with energy saving at home, our team have pulled together a couple of useful ways to help the UK remember to turn off their lights:

1. Set an alert on your mobile
Many of us already have daily reminders on our phone to remember to take medication, feed pets, or attend appointments. Why not set a reminder on your phone to remember to turn the lights off too? For example, setting one for an hour or so before you usually go to bed, and then another 10 minutes before you would normally leave the house for work.

2. Pop a note on the front of your fridge
A classic, but effective way to remind yourself of anything. In fact, a recent study found that the average adult spends six hours and 50 minutes a week in the kitchen!

Most of us will also pass the fridge before we head out for the day, or before we go to bed, so it’s a great place to pop reminders.

Not the last to leave the house each morning and struggling to get others to get on board with switching the lights off? Why not pop a sticky note on the front door?

3. Upgrade to smart lights
With an average of 2 in 5 (40%) adults in the UK owning a smart speaker, the day is not far away when most of our home devices will become smart devices.

Smart light bulbs are Wi-Fi-enabled devices that connect to the internet, enabling you to control them via a smart device such as Amazon’s Alexa speakers or your mobile phone - for when you leave the house and can’t quite remember if you switched the lights off.

4. Make it a priority
Perhaps the most simple and effective way to get turning the lights off to be a part of your automatic behaviour is to simply make a more conscious effort to do so.

That can be easier said than done, but try to think of turning the lights off as a necessity, not an optional task - like turning off hair straighteners. Instead of leaving a room on autopilot, with your thoughts on the next task, try to ground yourself in what you’re currently doing and the rest should fall into place.

For more energy saving tips, visit our winter energy saving tips, or this one full of tips for saving energy during the summer.


To uncover the number of hours Brits estimate they waste per week on unnecessary light power (3.01 hours per day x 7 = 21.07 hours per week, 1,095.6 hours per year ), we surveyed 2000 adults in the UK. All research was conducted via Savanta between the 1st and 3rd of September 2023.

We then estimated the energy needed for an hour’s use of the UK’s most common lightbulb - a standard LED - at 0.011kWh.

From here, we calculated the wasted kWh per household as 12.05kWh

At an estimated 12.05kWh per household, over 28.2 million UK households, we calculated the wasted light energy for the UK as 339,810,000kWh per year .

VisitBlackpool cites the energy used for the Blackpool Illuminations each year as 960,000kWh .

Using this as our estimation, we divided the 339,810,000kWh per year by the Illumination’s required 960,000kWh to reach 353.96875 = 354 consecutive years