switch to energy efficient bulbs

Gone are the days when energy efficient light bulbs weren’t bright enough to replace filament bulbs. Now they’re not only brighter, but cheaper to run and have a life expectancy of up to 10 years!

Invented more than 100 years ago, traditional light bulbs are extremely inefficient with only 5 percent of electricity used converted into visible light. Scoring an F on the Energy Efficient Rating, they don’t compare to the A or A+ ratings of the two types of energy efficient light bulbs available in the UK, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).

While more expensive to buy than CFLs initially, LEDs are more efficient and will save you more money in the long term, boasting of an average running cost of £2.80 compared with £16.80 for standard filament lamps. When lighting counts for up to 18 percent of your typical household electricity bill, you can start to see the big savings you can make by switching to LEDs.

Before going greener, consider the following:

What fittings do you need?

Check which fittings your current light bulbs use and make a note of them. Whether a B22, E14 or GU10, knowing what fittings you need will ensure your new bulbs fit and are the correct voltage.

What shape bulb do I want?

Not just a question of how a bulb looks, the shape also affects the way it throws light around the room. You can buy energy efficient bulbs in all sorts of shapes and sizes, for table lamps, kitchen uplighters, wall lamps or ceiling lights. Reflectors are usually best in a spot with a recessed downlight whereas ‘omnidirectional’ bulbs that are spiral, stick or globe shaped are best for ceiling pendants.

How bright do I want the light to be?

For energy efficient bulbs, we need to think in ‘lumens’ when we decide how bright our bulbs need to be. Lumens are a measure of the total amount of visible light (to the human eye) of a bulb or light source. The higher the lumen rating, the ‘brighter’ the bulb will appear.

With low energy LED bulbs, more light output can be achieved with much less power consumption. For example, a 10W LED bulb will give out a similar light to a 60W filament bulb. That’s a difference in annual energy consumption of 100 kWh! When using LEDs, more energy is converted to light rather than heat. As technology improves, more and more lumens will require even less energy consumption.

What kind of light do you want? Warm or cold?

A ‘Kelvin’ is a measurement of the temperature of light. Very orange light has a low number of Kelvin whereas daylight is much colder, often above 5,000K. The most common is called ‘warm white’ (2,700K) to replicate the warm, slightly yellow glow of an old incandescent or halogen lamp. You might want a slightly less yellow tone in your kitchen or bathroom, what is called ‘natural white’ (3,000K). ‘Cool white’ starts at around 4,000K and anything higher than 5,000K often looks a little blue in tone.

Ready to go shopping? Download our comparison chart to see the differences in running costs and energy consumption of traditional and energy saving light bulbs. Click here.

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