Low Energy Lights can save energy and money
Have my neighbours done this?
What is it?
Replace inefficient bulbs with efficient ones
What will it save me?
Could save at least £50 per year in an average house
How do I get it?
DIY job in most cases
What does it cost?
The most efficient LED bulbs cost around £5-7 each (2013)
What are the technical details?
Traditional tungsten filament bulbs are less than 10% efficient, with most to the electricity used in generating heat rather than light. Fluorescent tubes are much more efficient, particularly compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) which are 5 times better than the old style bulbs.
The most efficient types for domestic use are light emitting diodes (LED lamps). These are around 10 times better than filament bulbs. A 60W filament bulb can be replaced by a 6W LED equivalent and reduce electricity costs for lighting by 90%.
Although these bulbs are more expensive to buy in the first place, they last 25-50 times as long and pay for themselves in reduced electricity costs many times over.
Not all CFLs and LEDs are designed to be used with dimmer switches, so when replacing bulbs specify dimmable types if necessary.
The previous problems with slow light up from CFL lamps have been largely overcome.
The old type filament bulbs tended to be supplied as a “warm white” colour (slightly yellow). The same are available with CFL and LED lamps and this is specified by colour temperature. For an equivalent to “warm white” the colour temperature is around 2700K with “cool white” being around 4000K. “Daylight” bulbs are around 6000K.
Most types of low energy bulbs are available in all shapes (GLS, candle, globe, golf ball) and fittings (BC, SBC, ES, SES, GU10, MR16 etc.). The other benefit of low energy bulbs is as well as lasting much longer and reducing energy costs, they generate less heat so are less likely to damage lamp shades and require less current putting less stress on electrical cables.
Replacing bulbs is usually a straightforward DIY job if done with care and the light is switched off first, and most types of bulbs are available or can be ordered through a local lighting store.