The UK Government is attempting to move away from traditional incandescent bulbs. That’s because they are incredibly inefficient, meaning more carbon emissions and more money wasted on inefficient energy usage. They are therefore trying to shift customers onto energy saving
lighting, from LEDs to CFLs and Smart Lighting, there are a variety of ways you can save energy and money by changing the way you light your house.
Why are we moving towards energy efficient light bulbs?
Because of the much publicised move to reduce carbon emissions, the UK and countries across the EU are moving away from traditional, inefficient incandescent bulbs. This means when you go to replace your light bulbs from the local shop, you’ll most likely only be able to buy energy saving bulbs. It’s not just carbon emissions, but actually that more and more people are finding massive savings when they switch for more energy efficient lighting.
Why should I not use traditional light bulbs?
The normal lighting that your house will be equipped with is an incandescent or tungsten bulb. There are multiple reasons why this might not be the best way of lighting your house:
- Most of the electricity that goes through these lights is actually converted to heat as opposed to light so is therefore wasteful, and is not an energy efficient way of lighting your house.
- They only last for a short time, especially when you turn them off and on again frequently. They typically last only around 1,000 hours or one year of average use. The constant replacing can mean that costs add up.
- Because of the heat, they will damage light fittings and lamp shades meaning that you will have to replace them too.
Types of Energy Saving Light Bulbs
There are a variety of different types of energy saving light bulb, so it’s important to compare energy
saving lighting to figure out the type that works best for you. LED
LEDs or ‘Light-Emitting Diodes’ are some of the most well-known energy saving light bulbs. Whilst they are initially more expensive, they will save you money in the long term should you put them throughout your house. However, it’s recommended that you do not instantly replace all of your bulbs with LEDs as they are bright and will offer a different sort of light to your rooms than you may be used to. They are commonly only used for chandeliers and dimmer switches, so you may want to try a few before you buy in bulk. Prices for LED bulbs will range from £4 to £15 and sometimes even higher. However, they will last up to 25,000 hours and use 80% less energy than a traditional bulb.
A more common and like-for-like replacement are CFLs or ‘compact fluorescent lamps’. These will offer a very similar lighting to traditional light bulbs. CFL bulbs will typically last for around 8,000 hours but more importantly they’ll use about 1/4 of the energy a traditional light bulb will use. In terms of savings, if you compare a CFL to traditional 60W bulb you will save on average around £7 per year per bulb in electricity cost.
If you wanted to go even further, you could install a smart lighting system in your house. These will use energy efficient bulbs that can connect to WiFi. You can then access controls to these bulbs through your phone or tablet. This will allow you to switch them off and on from anywhere which could lead to more savings. However, the startup cost is expensive, for the cheapest you are looking at around £130 just for three bulbs and the bridge to connect it to the WiFi, you’ll also then have to pay for an additional £50 per bulb.
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Disposing of Used Light Bulbs
You cannot just throw these bulbs in the rubbish. This is because CFLs contain a small amount of mercury and will therefore need to be disposed of properly. Most DIY and Hardware shops will offer specific recycling points for this purpose.