If you’ve decided it’s time to start lighting your home or business property in a more efficient means, it’s worth knowing the range of lighting options at your disposal. As a side note, from September 2013 the EU Commission began to phase-out D and E-rated light bulbs.

Traditional Light Bulbs

Before we start discussing efficient lighting though, it pays to take a sideways glance at the traditional light bulb, invented over 100 years ago. These have several names nowadays (incandescent, tungsten filament, GLS) and by and large are very inefficient.

The stats prove this as only 5% of the electricity they use is actually converted into light. Instead, much goes into the heating of the filament, which in turn gives off that yellow tinge. The main reason they won’t last as long as efficient lighting is this filament will evaporate over time.

Halogen light bulbs

A step up on the efficiency ladder for lighting is halogen bulbs. Due to their higher temperature, they enjoy greater energy efficiency and on most occasions you’ll find them used as spotlights.

The problem with spotlights is although they use less electricity individually; they are normally grouped together in a room – so overall you’ll be using more power. A better alternative in terms of energy efficiency would be LED lighting.

Compact Fluorescents

Compact Fluorescents (commonly referred to as CFLs) use gas inside a glass tube, which gives off a glow when heated. They are by far a much better option for energy efficiency – using some 70-85% less electricity than traditional bulbs. They will also last up to 10 times as long.

CFL bulbs are available in a range of colours and sizes, so you can find something that’s a little different for your own home. You could also consider them for spotlights, although they’re a little more expensive.

CFLs are now cheap to buy and as such, you could easily payback the cost in just a few months of use.

Linear Fluorescent Lamps

Linear Fluorescent Lamps are commonly known as strip lighting and generally designed as long, flat tubes. They use the same technology as CFLs, so their efficiency remains excellent. There are three reasons to choose linear fluorescent lamps over a traditional strip light; they produce a better quality light, light up quicker and are far more efficient.

This lighting is rarely found in homes, although kitchens and bathrooms would be an ideal location, especially above mirrors.

LED Lighting

LED lighting is one of the most efficient options to choose from, with electricity flowing through in one direction to produce light. LED stands for light emitting diode and for domestic and commercial purposes a large number of LEDS will be used to produce the right amount of light.

Although LED lighting can be expensive as an initial investment, they’ll certainly pay for themselves time and time again before needing to be replaced. For larger Watt LED lighting of 75W or even 100W, the upfront costs can be even more expensive.

So, with this in mind, how quickly can you payback the cost of an investment in LED lighting? Well, the following graph shows payback around the world for a 10W LED fixture costing around £7 and used for two hours each day.

This table takes into consideration that the bulb costs £7 and is used for two hours daily, replacing a 60W incandescent. If the bulb is more expensive for this fixture, payback times will be longer. If the bulb is used for more than two hours a day, payback time will be shorter.

As you can see from the graph, replacing one bulb in your home with an LED would take just over one year to payback. The huge difference in payback times around the world is accountable to various electricity charges. Electricity in Denmark and Germany is much more expensive compared to China and India.

The graph is only designed to give a reflection of how quickly LED light bulbs will take to payback the cost of investment. Bulbs may be cheaper or more expensive, and if you require a larger Watt, the figures will change again.

Essentially, by purchasing LED lighting:

Go to chapter 4: The Future of Eco-Friendly Lighting