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Energy saving advice for lighting, when to use it and how

Since 2012 the old style incandescent light bulb has been phased out and most people are aware that this was because it was considered to be too expensive to run both in terms of energy consumption and cost to the consumer. People these days are far more aware of their use of energy and also of the cost both in monetary terms and in cost to the environment.

There are several types of light bulb that have been manufactured to replace the old style bulbs and it might be worth looking at how each one is best used in terms of lighting effects and energy consumption.

By far the most energy efficient light today is the LED or light emitting diode. This comes in a wide variety of sizes and shapes both in bayonet style and screw in. The LED will use up to 90% less energy than the old style incandescent light bulb and is suitable for almost any area of the house it is also ideal for outside as it is unaffected by temperature. Because the LED has no filament to damage it is also rugged and hard wearing.

Although the LED will cost more than other light bulbs initially, because it can last for up to 25yrs with correct usage overtime it will pay for itself many times over. The LED will also give immediate light with no warm up time required and because it is directional is ideal for highlighting areas like kitchen worktops or work stations. Unlike halogen bulbs the LED contains no mercury and so needs no specialist disposal or handling. LED’s are perfect for use with a dimmer switch and therefore can be used in virtually any area of the home.

Halogen bulbs are also extremely cost effective but even with normal usage will not last as long as an LED and will probably need replacing after 2-3 years. They will use around 30% less energy than the old style incandescent light bulb, but because of the way the filament works they burn very hot and so will not be suitable for some areas of the home. They come in many varieties from the normal spotlight type to linear tube fittings for specialist lights. The halogen light will give a warm yellow light most similar to the old style bulbs and also come with a dim feature on most makes. If you are not too worried about energy consumption but you do want light similar to the old incandescent bulbs then halogen is your best option.

The CFL or compact fluorescent light is simply a version of the old style strip light that is used extensively in garages and even kitchens but it has been designed into a smaller curly light bulb. The CFL will use around 70% less energy than the old incandescent light bulb and comes in a variety of fittings. Although it will not last as long as an LED it will outlive a halogen bulb with normal usage lasting for probably in excess of 10 years. The first CFL lights were very slow to reach full illumination, however newer models are much better. CFL’s are suitable for most areas of the home and give a warm soft and diffused light.

Something to take into account when purchasing your new light bulbs is what sort of light you need and how it will react with the colours you have in your room. The brighter light of an LED will work best in areas where a cool bluish light are needed and a halogen will be much the same. CFL light bulbs will work well with most colours and will give a warm yellowish glow. Try to use a dimmer wherever possible and always check that the bulbs you are buying are compatible with a dimmer switch.

By law all new light bulb packaging must carry a comprehensive comparison chart that will enable you to make the right choice when purchasing your new light bulbs. There should be a comparison not only to the old style incandescent bulb but also to each other with information on energy consumption, life span and colour type.

 
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