With the huge range of lighting options available today, choosing the right light for you is important. Lighting usually makes up to 8-15% of your electricity bill and, based on your current lighting setup, you could be looking at saving hundreds of dollars by choosing more energy-efficient options. When buying a replacement lightbulb, there are a few things you should consider.
What are your Lighting Options?
Incandescent Light Bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs saw a phase-out in Australia from 2009 where restrictions on imports and sales were placed. although these lights were the most common type of lightbulb for more than 100 years, they waste 90% of energy by producing more heat than light and don’t last very long. If you still have incandescent lights in your house, we highly recommend you replace them.
Halogen lightbulbs are also incandescent lightbulbs and work in a similar way to the traditional incandescent lamps. They produce more light using less electricity than a traditional lamp. They are still common in many Australian homes, especially in downlights. Although halogen lights are generally the most affordable option available, they suffer from the same issues as traditional lighting options where they waste a lot of energy as heat. They may be more efficient than traditional lightbulbs, but the need for frequent replacement makes them costly compared to some other lighting options on this list. The Australian government has also planned a phase-out in late 2021 that will see halogen lights being taken off the market and more energy-efficient options becoming the standard.
Fluorescent Lights (CFL)
Fluorescent lights are one of the more popular choices for homes. They are more energy-efficient and cost less to run than halogen or incandescent lights. CFLs generate a lot of light yet not much heat. The only drawback is that they last about half as long as LEDs but boast about the same level of efficiency.
LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are the most energy-efficient lighting technology available. They have the longest lifespan and produce more light (measured in lumens) with a lower wattage. LEDs last at least 5 times longer than halogen bulbs do. They are also widely available and affordable.
Smart LED light bulbs
Smart LED bulbs are becoming widely used in smart homes due to their ease of accessibility and customisability. They can be remotely controlled through a smartphone and the colours and brightness can be adjusted making them a very convenient lighting option. However, some products even though are LEDs, waste a lot of energy. Some smart LEDs can be as inefficient as traditional incandescent light bulbs. Therefore, When looking for a smart LED, it is highly recommended you do some research to find a trusted and reliable option. Also, take note of the standby power usage as it may be using more energy even in standby mode.
Lighting options Compared
Lumens vs Watts:
When looking to buy a light you should take note of the Lumens (brightness) and not how many watts they use. You can find a cheaper alternative that achieves the same level of brightness and is more energy-efficient than other brands. Usually Incandescent and Halogen lights need to use a lot more wattage to produce the same amount of lumens as more modern lighting options such as CFL and LEDs as seen in the table below.
Lifetime Cost: Initial cost vs lifetime cost
Although halogens are the cheapest to buy initially, they are more expensive to run in the long term as they need to be replaced frequently. LEDs also last 5 to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs, meaning you save on replacement costs and less ends up in landfill.
Make the Switch to LEDs
LEDs are the best value for money compared to Halogen and CFL lighting. They use about 75% less energy than halogen and last 5 to 10 more times longer. Meaning you will be saving on replacement costs. Although, LEDs may cost more initially they pay off in the long run. By replacing 10 halogen light bulbs with LEDs, an average household can expect to save around $65 a year on their electricity bill. Advances in technology also means that LED lights are becoming more efficient, brighter and cheaper to purchase making them better for the environment and the best option.