Switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest and quickest ways to save electricity in the home.
Since the halogen lighting EU ban, which officially came into effect during September 2018, many homeowners will have switched from traditional halogen bulbs to either CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) or LED.
However, for those who have yet to make the switch, now is the time to make your home light-fittings energy efficient, especially before the nights close in and the clocks go back.
With this in mind, we help answer 4 commonly asked questions.
1. Which bulbs have the EU banned?
The European Union directive (EC244/2009) has gradually been banning less energy-efficient light sources. A halogen bulb’s electricity usage is five times higher than that used by a LED and this directive has been a move to cut both carbon emissions and lower energy consumption.
The ban was an instruction to stop stocking "D"-class halogen bulbs once existing stock sold out. However, some capsule, linear and low-voltage reflector bulbs can still be purchased. For example, you should still be able to access halogen oven bulbs for older model ovens.
The EU's 2020 energy efficiency objective, known as Ecodesign Law is requiring a minimum efficiency standard of 85lm/W for all light fixtures sold. As CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Light) can only reach 60lm/W and also contain toxic mercury – which requires special collection systems for disposal – this bulb along with halogen is also likely to be discontinued in 2020.
This will mean that LED lighting will be the primary option available to homeowners when this new regulation comes into force.
2. What are the advantages of switching to LED?
Not only is LED lighting more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient, but LED will also last longer and save on energy bills.
As LED bulbs do not contain a filament and are solid they hold up well to any sudden jolts or bumps.
LED bulbs use a lot less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and won't become too hot to touch or build up extreme heat.
LED will last you about 10 times longer than CFL and 40 times longer than typical incandescent bulbs.
Not only do LED light bulbs reduce carbon emissions by using 85% less electricity but because LEDs don’t contain mercury, they are kinder on the environment.
3. Can LED light bulbs fit my existing fittings?
In many instances, you won't need to replace your current light fitting for LED replacements and at most stores, you can purchase "bayonet" or "edison" (screw-type) LED bulbs.
Look for bulbs that offer the same brightness levels as indicated on the packaging in 'lumens', as the greater the ‘lumens’ the brighter the light. If you are seeking the equivalent of a 60W incandescent bulb you would be looking for approx. 800 lumens.
As the market grows for LEDs there is a huge range of bulbs to choose including diffuse bulbs and dimmable globe LED bulbs.
If after switching to LED you are experiencing flickering lights you may need to seek advice from an electrician.
For example, there may be an issue if you have halogen lamps that are attached to transformers in your roof (particularly prevalent in kitchens). Some transformers will not detect low wattage equivalent LEDs and cannot detect that the light is actually switched on and therefore cause lights to flicker.
4. How much will I save switching to LED?
If you still have traditional halogen bulbs or CFLs in your home, switching to safer, longer-lasting and more energy-efficient LEDs will provide you cost savings over the life of the bulb.
For example, a traditional 60 Watt light bulb running 3 hours per day, 5 days per week over 52 weeks will cost a homeowner approx. €8 per year in electricity. In contrast, a 6 Watt LED for the same duration will only cost 0.84 cents. That’s a 161% energy saving!
If you already have CFLs in your home you won't save as much, as CFLs are an energy-efficient light source. But given the intended EU ban on CFLs – LEDs are the favourable replacement – with a longer lifespan (about 80000 hours), and durability. Also, you’ll no longer need to wait for your light to warm up and reach full brightness.
Just make sure if you are replacing CFLs, that you dispose of old bulbs responsibly.
If you are upgrading your lighting and need wall lights chased and fitted or new light fittings especially in hard-to-reach spots like Georgian or Edwardian high ceiling homes, post a job to make contact with qualified and registered electricians in your area before winter sets in.