A great way to save money and help the environment is to fit LED lights in your home. Lighting makes up a considerable proportion of electricity consumption – especially through winter months and particularly if rooms are lit for several hours – places like kitchens, living rooms and hallways. LED lights use less energy than the traditional low energy lights known as compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. Many are dimmable too.
LED bulbs are a great choice for spotlights – there’s lots of choice and great bright bulbs available that match or exceed the light levels of halogen bulbs. Best are the GU10 spotlights – they are the ones that go in with a push and twist and are 240V.
There’s not quite as much saving for MR16, but still worth doing – they have 2 pins that just push in, no twist – and have a ‘driver’ that reduces the voltage to 12V. With MR16 the LED bulbs do not offer the same output for wattage rating. The driver might also have to be replaced by an electrician.
Lots of choice here too. Recently newer brighter bulbs have become available at affordable prices. We have seen light levels match that of halogen. When recently trialling 3 of the new Philips 6W Master LED Candle in a 3 bulb candelabra we found the light levels very bright.
Many other types of LED fittings can be found too.
It’s easy to make savings and the initial spend on bulbs can be saved in electricity in less than a year in some cases.
Our resident energy efficiency expert recently helped find savings of over £94 a year in a busy family kitchen/diner. It was in a lower ground floor without much natural daylight. The room was lit by ten GU10 type spotlights for an average of 6 hours a day, all year. The cost of lighting the room with the existing halogen lights was calculated to be about £107 per year. As well as being concerned at this high cost the family were regularly having to replace the halogen bulbs that did not last long.
They tried ten 4W LED bulbs to replace the 35W halogen spotlights. Whilst the initial cost of the bulbs seemed high (£13 each), they would pay for themselves very soon and could last 20 years. At today’s electricity price, the savings made over the lifetime of the bulbs could be over £1880! – and this doesn’t include the cost of continuously replacing the old type of halogen bulbs.
All the family were very happy with the light level and colour of the light – having carefully chosen LED bulbs with a wide angle (40 degrees) and a very warm white colour (2700K).
Things to consider when buying LED:
- Colour – check the colour of the bulbs as some cheaper LEDs are very harsh cold colour and not the warm glow of halogen. Look for LEDs described as ‘very warm white’ or referred to as 2700K (this is the colour temperature and matches the halogen colour best).
- Beam angle – varies considerably and depends on your room circumstances – beam angles of 40 degrees are similar to a halogen GU10.
- Bulb dimensions – some are identical to the normal bulbs dimension – others are larger.
- Lifespan – often up to 40,000 hours. That’s 27 years if used 4 hours a day.
- Fitting type – GU10, MR16, SES, ES, bayonet and others.
- Dimmer compatible – plenty of LEDs are compatible with dimmer switches.
- Lamp type – take care in an enclosed light fitting as LED bulbs needs to cool effectively.
- Availability and choice – most choice with GU10 spots.
- Adapters – available to use GU10 bulbs in other fittings such as ES or SES.
- Emit no UV or IR and mercury free