Do you want to be more energy efficient without splashing out on solar panels and biomass boilers? There is an easier way to reduce your energy usage – switching to LED light bulbs!
Available in all shapes, sizes and styles, LED light bulbs are helping people across the world to become part of the energy efficiency revolution, all from the comfort of their own home.
In this article we take you through everything you need to know about these brilliant bulbs so you can find the ones you need to help increase your energy efficiency and decrease your bills.
What is an LED light bulb?
Let’s start with the basics; just what is an LED light bulb?
LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes and this type of light bulb was, believe it or not, first invented in the early 1900s, in 1907 to be precise.
However, it wasn’t until the 1970’s that they became cost effective enough to be a real contender on the commercial lighting market.
LED light bulbs are now one of the most cost-effective, reliable and energy efficient types of bulb available. In fact, they use around 70–80% less electricity than the equivalent traditional bulbs.
You can save more than money with LEDs
Lighting makes up a significant chunk of our household energy usage, so replacing your old-fashioned bulbs with LEDs, will help cut your electricity spend.
Replacing all the 60-watt bulbs in your home with LED alternatives could save you around £160 a year.1 And that doesn’t even take into account, the saving you make by having to replace your bulbs lss often.
And it’s not just money you’ll be saving.
For every traditional halogen light bulb you replace with a similar LED version, you save around 5kg of CO2 emissions. That adds up to around 63kgs of CO2 saved when the average home makes the change to LED.
If every single home in Britain swapped to 100% LED bulbs, we could save approximately 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. That’s the equivalent of getting 367,274 cars off the road for a whole year.2
So, by making this one simple change, you’ll be helping to save the environment, as well as money on your utility bills.
How to choose the perfect led bulb
1) Understand how brightness is measured
You’ll notice as soon as you pick up an LED bulb in a shop, that the packaging contains lots of information designed to help make choosing the right one easier – especially if you know what you’re looking for.
Along with the colour of the bulb, one of the most important considerations is the estimate of the bulb’s wattage, as this tells you how bright it is when turned on. Many people prefer different watt and coloured bulbs for different rooms of their home to help create the perfect atmosphere.
- Bedrooms and living areas – to create a more relaxing, softer atmosphere, choose yellow bulbs with a lower wattage.
- Kitchens and offices – when you need excellent lighting at all times of the day, opting for higher wattage, white bulbs will give maximum illumination.
It’s worth nothing that the wattage shown on LED bulb packaging is an estimated figure. That’s because the brightness of an LED bulb is actually measured in lumens. The higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb. Having the equivalent ‘wattage’ is just a way to help you easily understand brightness levels.
2) Read the packaging
There’s lots of other useful information on the outer packaging of LED bulbs, all designed to help you choose the one that will not only look great in your home but help maximise energy efficiency.
- Energy rating (shown by letter ‘grades’ – ‘A’ being the highest)
- If the bulb in dimmable
- The bulb’s voltage
- Expected lifetime
- The bulb fitting
- The Kelvin number (this measures the temperature of light)
- The Ingress Protection rating (shows the level of protection against dust, accidental contact and water)
- The degree of the beam angle (tells you how wide an area the light reaches)
Wait, there’s even more you can do…
We’ve covered how you can significantly improve your energy efficiency by just replacing your old light bulbs for modern LED ones, however, there are a few other tricks and tips we want to share with you to help you become even more ‘green’ with your lighting.
- Leaving a room? Watching a film? Make sure to turn off any lights you don’t need – even if you switch them off for just a few seconds, you’ll save more energy than it takes to turn them on again (you might want to leave them on if you’re watching a scary film though!).
- Pop outside lights on a timer or a motion sensor so they only turn on when they’re needed.
- Make sure all light switches are as easy to reach as possible so you’ll be more likely to turn off any lights you don’t need.
- If you have dark or heavy lampshades, consider switching them up for something lighter to help the bulb’s illumination shine through (and it gives your room a little uplift too!).
- Don’t forget to add dusting your light bulbs to your regular cleaning routine to help beat the dirt that can affect a bulb’s brightness.
1 Saving £164.82 a year according to the LED savings calculator on Philips.co.uk and based on replacing 10 x incandescent 60-watt E27 bulbs for LED alternatives each on for four hours a day. Actual savings may vary.
2 According to the epa.gov greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator.