According to the Energy Saving Trust, lighting makes up 18% of your household’s electricity bill. Old fashioned light bulbs are being phased out and replaced by energy efficient alternatives designed to reduce the average UK home’s energy bill.
Traditional bulbs are also known as tungsten filament lights and are extremely inefficient since they were created over a century ago. Indeed, only 5% of the electricity used by these bulbs gets converted into visible light. Additionally, these bulbs have a relatively short life span in comparison to their energy efficient counterparts; 4 of which we look at below.
Energy Saving Lighting Types
Halogen Light Bulbs
Although halogen lighting uses filament technology, it runs at a higher temperature which makes it a much better option than a traditional bulb. These lamps consist of halogen gas within a small quartz envelope which combines with tungsten atoms as they evaporate once the temperature is hot enough and redeposits the atoms on the filament which enables it to last longer than the tungsten filament bulbs. A number of fire rated downlights are of the halogen variety though some are also LED lights.
These are Compact flourescent lamps and produce light in a different way to incandescent lighting. Instead of having the electric current running through a wire filament, CFLs have the current flow through a tube which has argon and mercury vapour in it.
Although CFLs use more electricity to begin with, they end up using 70% less energy when the electricity starts moving. You will notice that CFLs take longer to fully light up than other lighting sources; this is because their ballast has to start up the CFL. This regulates the current after the electricity begins to flow but the process can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. It is worth noting that CFLs last up to 10 times longer than traditional lightbulbs.
LED stands for light-emitting diode and this form of lighting uses up to 90% less energy than a traditional bulb. Although LED lights are said to be fairly expensive, improved technology is helping to reduce the price.
LED lights involve the use of a semi-conductor which emits light energy once a current is passed through it. According to LED lighting manufacturers, these bulbs can last up to 30 years and give off light almost immediately which provides them with a distinct advantage over their CFL counterparts.
This stands for linear fluorescent lamps and use the same technology as CFLs; they are glass tubes filled with gas and a tiny amount of mercury. The main difference is the shape; as the name suggests, compact fluorescent lamps are designed for smaller buildings while LFLs are longer, flatter and typically used by organisations in office buildings. Given the amount of energy used by large office blocks, businesses would be well advised to consider LFLs as they can save a small fortune over the space of a few years.
It makes financial sense to replace your old tungsten filament light bulbs with energy efficient alternatives and soon, you will be given no choice in the matter. The UK Government is working with energy companies and retailers across the nation to ensure traditional light bulbs are phased out.
The European Union banned the sale of traditional bulbs back in 2012; an act which the UK Government says will have an annual net benefit of approximately £108 million from 2010 to 2020. By 2016, all bulbs (including halogen retrofit) must be classified as being ‘B’ or above as the crackdown on energy inefficiency gathers steam.