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Energy-efficient light bulbs: how much could you save?

If you’re looking for simple, relatively low cost ways to save on energy usage in your home, low energy light bulbs are a good place to start. But what are the best kind of light bulbs for saving energy, and how much energy can you really save?

Take a look to find out just how much you could save on your bills by switching to energy-efficient light bulbs.

What’s wrong with old-fashioned light bulbs?

Traditional incandescent light bulbs – the ones with the little filament in the middle – were invented over a century ago. And, unsurprisingly, they’re much less efficient than more modern light bulbs. Only around 5% of the power they take up is converted into light – the rest is wasted by heating the bulb to make the central filament glow.

Then came halogen light bulbs – which are only slightly more efficient – and popular for spotlights. Companies are no longer allowed to manufacture inefficient halogen lights, but shops are still allowed to sell their old stock, which is why you might still see them on some shop shelves.

Next up were CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) bulbs, which use around 70-80% less energy compared to an incandescent bulb.

LED lights can be used to replace all of these types of bulbs to reduce your household energy consumption.

What is the best light bulb for saving energy?

Right now, LED light bulbs are the most efficient type of bulb you can buy. They use 90% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs.

LED bulbs last longer than other types of light bulbs, use the least energy, and will fit most standard light fittings, including those with dimmer switches. And they come in a wide range of lumens (how brightly the bulb shines), styles, and light tones.

Is it worth investing in energy efficient lighting?

Not only do energy-saving bulbs have lower carbon dioxide emissions than other types of light bulbs, but they also use less energy, meaning you’ll likely see a reduction in your energy bills. Modern LED lights come in different colours and lumens (which indicates how bright the light it emits is). This means you can match your new LED lighting to the older, less energy-efficient lighting you were using before.

How much electricity could energy saving light bulbs save?

Lighting typically accounts for over 10 per cent of your home’s electricity usage, so making some green changes and switching to energy-saving light bulbs can have a sizable impact in the long run.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, replacing all the light bulbs in your home with energy efficient LED alternatives could reduce your emissions by up to 40kg annually, which is equivalent to driving a car for around 145 miles. You could expect to see your electricity bills reduce by around £65 per year, based on an average household’s energy usage.

If you use halogen bulbs, then replacing a 50-watt bulb will save up to £6 per year, and a 35-watt halogen bulb swapped for an LED bulb will save you around £4 per year. So the more light bulbs you replace, the more you’ll save.

What kind of LED light bulb should I choose?

The strength of LED bulbs are measured in lumens – just like watts were used to determine the brightness of an incandescent bulb. If you want to replicate the light of a 40-watt bulb, the Energy Saving Trust suggests buying an LED light with 470 lumens.

If you’re swapping a 60-watt bulb, go for 800 lumen, and a 100-watt bulb’s equivalent is 1,520 lumen.

You’ll also want to consider the tone of the light it emits. Soft or “warm white” bulbs have a soft, cosy glow and are great for household settings. Those which are pure or “cool white” are often used in offices, or anywhere you might benefit from a sharper light.

What is the difference between LED and energy-saving bulbs?

The term ‘energy-saving bulb’ is essentially used to refer to any light bulb that uses less energy than the older, incandescent bulbs. But the amount of energy you’ll save is very much dependent on the type of bulb you choose.

Do LED bulbs take a while to “warm up” when you switch them on?

No. Older CLF bulbs do take a few seconds to reach their full brightness. LED bulbs reach their full brightness the moment you switch them on.

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