Opinion

Published

Businesses, switch off your lights!

3 Mins

Night in, night out, half of the country is illuminated by businesses with huge coloured signs across their buildings. Don’t they realise the disastrous effects on the environment?

It seems like everyone is urging Joe Public to minimise wasted electricity, with the power companies being one of the loudest voices (no doubt part of their corporate social responsibility efforts). However, surely one of the biggest ways in which power is wasted across not only the UK, but the whole world, is by businesses illuminating their huge signs throughout the night, even when they’re closed.  

You know the kind of businesses I mean here – the big retailers on the out-of-town parks, the supermarkets which are closed and so on. If one retailer stops, they would no doubt fear that their brightly lit competitors may gain some kind of advantage over them. It has become a habit which is hard to break.

My suggestion is that some legislation could be considered to at least discourage businesses from illuminating their signage when they are not open, if not make it outright illegal. I realise this probably seems a very dramatic solution, bordering upon insanity, but it does have some merits when you sit back with an open mind and consider it.

Surely the power required to illuminate a retail park’s outlets through the night must be considerable, so this could really cut down on power usage. Legislation would ensure that all businesses were equal, thus removing the fear that if you stop lighting up, your competitor might gain some ground on you.  

If businesses wanted to illuminate signs when their stores are closed, they could use power stored from solar panels during the day. This would spark a wider use of renewable energy within the business community and boost demand for this technology, motivating investment in renewable energy sources and no doubt making it cheaper as a result.

Yes, this seems like an extreme measure – but if you want extreme results then that is the way to get them. It must be better than spending a fortune on advertising campaigns, reminding us to turn the stair light off and unplug the microwave when we aren’t using it.

If anyone reading this has any views on the issue, please do feel free to drop me an email or post a message below. I’m all for a bit of debate about it!

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