A Guide to Energy Efficient Lighting

Posted By: Matthew

Making your home more energy efficient can bring numerous benefits. Not only will you be contributing to the health of our planet, you can also save considerable amounts of money on your energy bills. It is estimated that, in the UK, we waste over £140 million in energy bills every years simply by leaving lights on unnecessarily. Although you can prevent some of this energy loss by switching your lights off when you’re not using them, you can make a huge difference by switching to energy efficient lighting.

What is Energy Efficient Lighting?

Energy efficient lighting works in a similar way to traditional tungsten light bulbs; they turn electrical energy into light energy. Low energy bulbs can be used in almost every light fitting around your home. But, unlike tungsten bulbs, they don’t contain an electric filament. This means that they stay cool when they are switched on. Energy is only being used to generate light, rather than heat. This makes low energy lighting up to 80% cheaper to run than traditional bulbs. They also need to be replaced less frequently.

Just one energy saving light bulb can save you, on average, around £3 a year. If you switched all your lights to low energy alternatives, you could save around £50 a year. However, despite the obvious benefits, the majority of the UK’s 650 million light bulbs are still inefficient. By switching to low energy bulbs, we could make a considerable difference to the nation’s energy consumption.

There are a number of different types of low energy home lighting solutions:

• Compact Fluorescents (CFLs)
Compact Fluorescent bulbs were designed as an energy efficient alternative to the traditional tungsten bulb. They have now become the industry standard in lighting. CFLs are made up of spiral glass chambers filled with gas. When an electrical current passes through these bulbs, it causes the inside coating to glow brightly. CFLs come in a variety of colours and shapes, all using about a third (or less) of the energy of tungsten bulbs.
When CFL bulbs first emerged, some users complained that, when they were first switched on, they were very dim, and took a long time to reach their full brightness. Over time, there have been many technological improvements in CFL bulbs. Modern bulbs are able to reach their full power within one minute.

• Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
LEDs are defined as ‘semiconductor light sources’. When they are switched on, electrons recombine with electron holes within the device. Energy is released in the form of photons, which produces light. Again, this uses considerably less energy than traditional tungsten bulbs.
LED lights have long been used in specialist task lighting, but they are slowing starting gain popularity as replacements for traditional bulbs. They are even superior to CFLs in a number of aspects, including efficiency and output. LED lighting uses around 10% of the electricity needed for the equivalent light in traditional bulbs. They can also last as much as 50 times longer.

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