The Ultimate Guide to Low Energy and LED Lighting
If you’re looking for an easy way to reduce your business’s energy consumption and save money on your bills, energy-efficient light bulbs is a great place to start. Energy prices have increased by over 150% since 2004, a trend likely to continue. Making the switch to LEDs could save your business up to 65% on lighting costs.
Advances in manufacturing techniques, as well as increased efforts by companies in the UK to up their efforts with renewables, have seen a rapid uptake of energy-saving bulbs in the last decade. What exactly makes them so good when compared with their traditional counterparts?
We explore the benefits of low-energy and LED bulbs for your business in this comprehensive guide.
- What is LED lighting?
- What are the benefits of low-energy and LED lighting?
- What’s the problem with incandescent light bulbs?
- Are all energy-saving lightbulbs the same?
LED (Light Emitting Diode) is a technology whereby an electrical current is passed through a semi-conductor, which in turn emits lights.
LED is so efficient that up to 90% of the electrical power is converted to light. By contrast, traditional lighting only converts 20% of its energy into light, meaning the majority being wasted as unnecessary heat. LED lights are up to 68% more energy-efficient than traditional fluorescent lamps.
- Efficiency - Low-energy and LED technology can reduce your lighting-related energy usage by around 90%.
- You’ll save money - Due to a reduction in energy bills, LED lighting will pay for itself within 6 to 36 weeks, depending on the size of the property and your usage levels.
- They last longer - As well as using less energy, LED lights last longer than standard bulbs too. Energy-saving lighting can remain active for a staggering 100,000 hours, with some bulbs having a lifespan 20 times longer than traditional bulbs.
- They’re safe - Whereas incandescent bulbs become hot when active, low-energy bulbs run cool. That means they’re less likely to break and you won’t risk burning your hands when you change them.
- They’re versatile - Modern LED and low energy light bulbs are available in a number of styles, colours and levels of brightness. There’s a bulb to suit every business, whether you’re office-based or you’re running a high-street store.
The problem with incandescent bulbs is that they’re incredibly inefficient. Old-fashioned light bulbs work by passing an electric current through the filament you can see in the centre of the bulb. This filament becomes red hot and generates the light which is then emitted around the room. During this process, the majority (around 90%) of the energy produced is wasted as heat.
Another issue with incandescent bulbs is that they have a short lifespan, typically lasting just 1,000 hours or one year of general use. Regularly turning the bulbs on and off shortens their lives even more - bad news when businesses are turning off unnecessary lights to reduce their energy consumption.
In 2014, the government imposed restrictions on the sale of incandescent light bulbs over 40 Watts to homeowners. Unfortunately, the same wasn’t true for businesses, which is why it’s so important for business owners to take matters into their own hands.
All energy-savings bulbs are designed to convert more energy into light while wasting less energy as heat. Therefore, they use far less power.
However, some energy-saving bulbs are more effective than others.
Halogen light bulbs work much in the same way as traditional bulbs, heating up a filament to generate light.
Where halogen bulbs differ is that they use halogen gas and a tungsten filament. The halogen gas combines with tungsten atoms as they evaporate and redeposits them on the filament. It’s this recycling process that allows halogen bulbs to last much longer than standard incandescent bulbs.
Although halogen bulbs are more efficient than traditional light bulbs on paper, this is often cancelled out as people tend to use more halogen bulbs as they produce less light. They are often placed in a row on ceilings, sometimes for design reasons, but also due to a lack of brightness.
Halogen light bulbs, therefore, will last longer than your typical incandescent bulbs, but they still get extremely hot and are no more efficient in the long run.
CFL (compact fluorescent lamps) use an inert gas to generate power, which creates light when a current is passed through it. When you flick the switch, UV (ultraviolet) light rays excite the atoms within a thin layer of phosphor that coats the glass tube; resulting in visible light. This process takes longer than an incandescent bulb lighting up, which is why these bulbs gradually get brighter over the course of a few minutes.
CFL energy saving bulbs are not quite as efficient as LED lighting but still only use 20% of the electricity used by standard bulbs. You will usually get around 10,000 hours out of a CFL bulb which is a whopping ten times more to what you are currently likely to be using.
LED bulbs are made using many different light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which together provide enough photons to light the room. These bulbs are so efficient because they don’t need to create immense amounts of heat in order to produce light. All they need is a small current, making them far more efficient than halogen or incandescent lighting.
LED energy-saving light bulbs have an estimated lifespan of 40,000 hours — 40 times that of incandescent bulbs — making them ideal for workplaces that need the lights to be on all the time. Ultimately, LED energy-saving light bulbs require just 10% of the electricity used by incandescent bulbs and produce exactly the same amount of light — if not more.
In fact, changing ten 50 Watt incandescent light bulbs in your home or business with an LED alternative could save you around £150 per year.
Installing energy-saving light bulbs, whether it be LED or CFL, is a quick and easy way to lower your business or domestic energy bills right away. You will instantly lower the amount of power you are using on lighting by 80-90% and reduce waste thanks to longer burn times. Once you’ve optimised your energy efficiency, then look into getting onto a cheaper tariff to make further savings.
You can do that right away by using our free, no-obligation energy comparison engine which will find you the cheapest gas and electricity rates at the click of a button. By tackling energy efficiency and your tariff at the same time, you are maximising your chances of lowering your energy bills, helping you make some rather remarkable savings.