Reducing the Costs of Lighting your Home Using Energy Saving Light Bulbs
Typically 30% of your domestic electricity bill is spent on lighting your home.
The use of energy saving light bulbs can help to reduce the typical domestic electricity bill by producing the same amount of light as a standard light bulb but by using a fraction of the electricity. This new technology means that energy saving light bulbs can outlive standard light bulbs by 8 times!
A consideration that one must take into account, however, is that energy saving light bulbs do not work with standard electronic sensors, timers or dimmers, though there are special units available that can work with these bulbs.
There are several different types of domestic lightbulbs and further information can be found below:
Standard light bulbs (tungsten filament lamps)
Standard incandescent light bulbs (your standard domestic light bulb) are generally pear shaped and burn electricity to heat a filament until it glows white and produces a bright light. Approximately 90% of the electricity used to power regular light bulbs is lost to heat and you can expect the burn time to be 800 – 1000 hours before expiration.
These types of bulbs contain a small pocket filled with a halogen gas, which emits a bright white light. They emit a greater degree of light than standard light bulbs of a similar wattage and use less electricity. In addition, they have a longer burn time of 2000 – 3000 hours in total.
Older halogen units ran at low voltage and required a transformer and their output was limited to around 20W – mains voltage halogen bulbs are now available which do not require a transformer and have better outputs.
Standard Fluorescent bulbs
These bulbs are the long, thin tubes that can often be found in offices or garages. They are more energy efficient than standard light bulbs because they do not produce heat, and they can last 10 to 20 longer as they have a 10,000 to 20,000 hour burn time.
Compact fluorescent bulbs
A compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) produces more light when compared with a regular bulb of the same wattage – approximately 4 times as much and can last approximately 10,000 hours before expiration. If you wanted to replace your standard light bulbs throughout your home with an energy efficient bulb, the CFL would be the option to choose.
You should use the following guidelines in terms of the strength of the bulb:
The use of the wattage system to describe the light output of bulbs is rather misleading since wattage is a measurement of the power used. Wattage is simply the voltage multiplied by the current drawn by the appliance and so an appliance running at 240v and drawing 5A of current would have a rating of 1200W.
The units that should actually be used in the measurement and comparison of light output are ‘lumen’ and ‘candlepower’, though the industry appears to have stuck with the wattage system as although it does not give an indication of the amount of light that a given lamp will produce – it only specifies the amount of power that it will draw in use.
This in itself makes it easy to see the potential savings in running costs, and all manufacturers mark the product packaging in such a way that you can see the power consumption of the bulb and also what the light output would equate to in terms of a standard tungsten filament bulb. For example, using the table above you can see that a 32W CFL lamp would produce the same amount of light as a 150W tungsten filament lamp while only using around a fifth of the electrical energy.
An energy saving light bulb will cost more than a standard light bulb, however, they are more environmentally friendly as they will reduce CO2 emissions and will save on electricity bills in the long run. It is estimated that a single energy efficient light bulb will save £6 – £7 per year on your electricity bills.
Based on an energy saving light bulb lasting an average of 10,000 hours and a standard light bulb lasting 1000 hours, with them both being switched on for four hours per day over a ten year life span with the electricity costing 8p per unit, each energy saving light bulb will save you £6.23 per year in electricity bills. If 5 energy efficient bulbs were to be used over a 5 year period, you would stand to save £155.75 on your electricity bills.
An energy efficient light bulb will cost on average between £4 and £10.
There are grants available for the adoption of energy efficient light bulbs for the over 50s and people on benefits. Please see the grants section of our site.
There are a number of ways in which you can increase the natural light in your home that will allow you to use electric powered bulbs less. Simple measures to maximise natural light are to paint internal and external walls in a light colour to maximise the light being reflected into your home. Mirrors are effective for adding light to a room, and you should ensure that window ledges are not cluttered so that the maximum amount of light can come through.
If you require an outside light, ensure it is a motion sensor to save on electricity and the life of the bulb.
If you are using an energy efficient light bulb, try not to switch it on and off frequently as this will decrease the life of the bulb.
It is advisable to place energy efficient light bulb in areas of the home that require the most light i.e. hallways, landing, etc and areas that are not subject to extreme temperature as this can effect the efficiency of the bulb.