The easiest way to save energy and money is to simply turn off the light when you are not using it. This way you will ALWAYS save energy if you switch off the light as you leave the room, even if it is only for a minute or two. However, replacing light bulbs with energy saving alternatives will guarantee to save you money.
- If you replace a traditional light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb you will typically save around £3 a year – £55 over the course of the life of the light bulb.
- Replacing a 50W halogen down-light with a 6W LED (Light Emitting Diode) will typically save you around £4 per year – £70 over the life of the bulb, remember this is per lamp.
Many homes today have a mixture of standard light fittings and halogen down-lights. The alternatives for both of these are:
- CFL – known as an energy efficient light bulb or compact fluorescent. This is a Cost effective option for most general lighting purposes. However, extremely harmful to the environment, as well as slow ‘start up times’ and a ‘unnatural’ light put some people off of these fittings.
- LED – even more efficient, these are an ideal replacement for halogen down-lights. Slightly more expensive than CFLs, but will save you even more money in the long term.
How does an LED light work?
LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) work on a completely different basis to other light sources. A diode is created when two conductive materials are placed in contact with each other. When electricity then passes through them, the atoms become lively. Excess energy is then released to the diode and the process of creating light is complete.
LED’s are a much more efficient lighting source, as a typical lamp will waste 98% of the energy used, in the form of heat. A 100watt light bulb emits roughly 1700 lumens – that is only 17 lumens per watt. A typical LED will achieve a light output efficiency of 60-80 lumens per watt!
LED lamps are low voltage solid-state devices that cannot operate on a standard AC current – part of the cost for LED lighting is the internal circuits that are required to allow them to operate on an AC current.
Heat is an LED’s worst nightmare and damage can be caused through excessive heating so the LED’s are designed with special cooling fins and heat sinks to keep the LED at its designated heat parameters.
A LED’s quoted lifetime is based upon an operating temperature of 25°’fbC. At temperatures above this the life of an LED can be reduced significantly.
Choosing a light bulb today for your home is more complicated than ever because the choice of bulbs keeps growing. The technological advances in the development of LED bulbs has been fast and furious, with manufacturers competing to design LED bulbs suitable for every application in the home and as the technology gets better the price of LED lighting is coming down.
The LED production process is complex and the technology is still relatively new and advancing all the time! In my experience, I don’t think pays to buy on price, it’s very easy to produce similar looking products that may promise the same on performance but in reality deliver a different experience than stated.
Here are some examples of how LED lighting compares to other lights on the market
|TYPE OF BULB / LAMP||COST OF 5 BULBS||ANNUAL ENERGY RUNNING COSTS||LAMP LIFE (HOURS)|
|INCANDESCENT / HALOGEN||£10.00||£96.00 Approx||1000 – 2000|
|CFL LAMP (COMPACT FLOURSCENT)||£25.00||£21.00 Approx||10000 – 15000|
|LED||£35.00||£5.00 Approx||20000 – 50000|
Note: Data is estimated all may be different depending on circumstances.
Here at Flex Eco Services we understand that all this information can be confusing, so please do not hesitate to contact us for a friendly chat to see what options would be best suited to your needs.
Lighting Terms explained
LUMENS – Lumens are a measure of light. Typically one lumen is equivalent to the light emanating from a wax candle. A conventional 40 watt light bulb would have a lumen output of around 450lm. A CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) with the same lumen output would only use approximately 9 watts and an LED considerably less depending on the type. As a general guide the efficacy of an incandescent lamp is 10-12 lum/w, a compact fluorescent is around 50-60 lum/w and an LED can vary from 40-90 lum/w. Remember: the higher the lumens the brighter the lamp.
WATTS – A watt is a measure of power consumption. The wattage of a bulb actually tells you how much electricity it uses, not how much light it produces. Traditionally lamps have always used watts as an indication of the light that can be expected from the bulb. However, with new technology and more efficient lamps, watts are becoming increasingly irrelevant and eventually all lamps will be measured in Lumens.
VOLTAGE – Voltage is the pressure within the circuit that’s generated by the electricity company from the national grid. Different countries use different voltages according to their infrastructure system; it’s generally referred to as the electrical potential.
In the UK the current used is typically 240 volts, in America 110 volts and in most of Europe and the Far East the current is typically 220 volts.
In general different plug sockets are used to ensure people use the correct equipment relevant to their local current.
A good analogy is to imagine the pressure behind the flow of electrons in a circuit similar to water pressure in a hose.