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

By Marcus Kett, Woodworking since 1989

head wood malcolm kett memorial

Malcolm the Boat ‘RIP’

Woodworking for me is in my blood as a son of a traditional boatbuilder. My Father Malcolm Kett was highly skilled and inventive individual often referred to as ‘Malcolm The Boat’.

selfie with mortar board

Marcus Kett and my Mortar!

Although I have spent a considerable portion of my life seeking further education and gaining qualifications in woodworking, electrical installations, bricklaying and to top it a degree in photography.

Yes, it is a medley of possible career choices but the one that I felt truly at home with was Woodworking. Woodworking has been my staple career choice that has given my family stability.

Why do I write these guides?

selfie workshop bio

Well that’s Me

We started to write these guides to help our customers. The idea was to provide the information needed to install our made to measure wooden products that we sell on this website and directly to our local customers.

We soon received feedback from people abroad and interested readers not local to us. I like to help people and I am excited that fellow woodworkers or keen DIYers found guidance in my articles. I intend to carry on writing and producing youtube videos for the purpose of providing useful content. Please share our blog with your friends and anyone that could find interest in the magic of working with wood.


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The content in this article is provided for free but we retain all copyright. We do encourage you to borrow this content but only if you cite us as the original content with a link to our site.

About Wallybois

wallybois mascot christmas

Wally is the middle one

We have lived and worked here in the Limousin Nouvelle Aquitaine since 2010, building window shutters and external doors. Our Volet manufacturing business is based at our home property as a ‘Cottage Industry’. We are a small business operating partly (60%) off the grid and try our best to practice our woodworking ethically.

How did we come up with the trading name ‘Wallybois’? Well, it is simple really, my best buddy ‘Wally’ and the fact that ‘Bois’ is French for wood and we live in France.

Please Comment

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Thank You for visiting

By Marcus Kett, Woodworking since 1989

Based in the Nouvelle Aquitaine of France

Tel: +33 7 81 45 32 82