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A complete guide to energy efficient ratings for lamps, lighting and bulbs

Since 2012 the old incandescent light bulb that we all knew has been gradually phased out under what is called the New Lighting Standards Order. The main reason for this is that these light bulbs were not considered to be a cost effective option in this day and age, they needed to use a lot of energy to produce light. Roughly 90% of the energy used was given off as heat and this was not only wasted energy but also wasted money.

These days people are far more conscious of the energy they are consuming, and so new technology developed new lights to replace the old incandescent light bulbs Manufacturers have created several options and we will look at those options in a little more detail here.

The new style light bulbs will use between 25% and 80% less energy than the old incandescent bulbs and although generally they are more expensive to buy initially, their life span should be far longer and so in the long run they will save you money and their reduced energy consumption will also add to the savings.

The difficulty comes when comparing the old type of bulb with the new because the old way of measuring light strength was in wattage, that was power used to light given off, and in the new bulbs as the power used is far less to achieve the same amount of light then this measurement is now obsolete.

All new lighting be it light bulbs or other types of light fitting now have the light emitted measured in lumen. This is a much better way of measuring brightness as it takes into account the light emitted and not the power consumed.

If we consider that an old style bulb of 40watts would give roughly 450 lumen and to get the same from a modern LED light you would need only 5watts. In other words an old light bulb would give around 15 lumen per watt and a standard LED would give more than 100 lumen per watt. That could add up to a considerable saving over the year and that’s only changing one light bulb.

But let’s look at the new options in a little more detail, firstly the halogen light which is similar to the old incandescent as it works by holding gas around a filament inside the bulb. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and have the additional saving option that they can be used with a dimmer switch. They are relatively cheap to buy and although the halogen will not last as long as an LED light it will still save you money in energy consumed.

Another option is the CFL or compact fluorescent lamp, and these are simply a smaller curly version of the old type tube light that is commonly used in kitchens and garages. The CFL will use about 1/3rd of the energy of the halogen light for roughly the same cost. CFL bulbs now come in a wide variety of sizes and colours, but if you need to use a dimmer check the product information as not all CFL bulbs can be dimmed. All fluorescent bulbs use mercury and need to be disposed of carefully.

LED’s that we have mentioned before have become one of the most popular choices to replace the old incandescent bulb. LED stands for light emitting diode and the main reason that they are so popular is because they use only 20-25% of the energy of the old type of light bulb and will last up to 25 times longer. They will also last much longer than halogen or CFL lights. The LED can also be used with a dimmer feature making it even more cost effective.

Remember when choosing your new bulbs to check which is most suitable for the fitting you are using it with, although the heat to light ratio is much better with the modern lights there is still a risk of fire if bulbs are too powerful for the fitting. There will be a comparison table on the packet that will give you all the information you need to make the correct choice.

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