A better Energy Performance Certificate rating for your property, saving money and reducing your carbon footprint are reasons for choosing a low energy light bulb…. and the EU Directive banning the import or manufacture of incandescent light bulbs is now in effect. But are they worth it? 

It is universally agreed that low energy light bulbs are much better for the environment than the standard household bulbs that used to be our only buying option. Low energy bulbs save significant quantities of electricity and because they last much longer they do not result in the high levels of landfill associated with incandescent bulbs.

The consumer organisation Which? say in their online Light Bulb FAQs article that “replacing just one 60W incandescent with a CFL bulb (the most common style of energy-saving light bulb) can reduce your electricity bill by around £7 a year, so replacing 10 light bulbs with energy-savers could save you £70 a year. LED bulbs are even more efficient than CFLs and save almost £7.50 per bulb per year.” 

The cost of LEDs does seem to be coming down but they do cost more to buy. In their FAQs about LEDs, Bulbs.com say that many have a rated life of up to 50,000 hours – roughly 50 times longer than a typical incandescent bulb, 20-25 times longer than a typical halogen, and 8-10 times longer than a typical CFL. They state in their FAQs that used 12 hours a day, a 50,000 bulb will last more than 11 years. Used 8 hours a day, it will last 17 years.

Halogen bulbs are the least efficient in terms of reduced electricity usage. These are being phased out as they have been banned by the European Union. From 1 September 2018 retailers were allowed to sell their remaining stock of halogen bulbs but have to replace these with more energy efficient alternatives. More information about this can be found in The Independent’s article, Halogen light bulb ban: when does it start and why are they being banned?

Confused about Energy have produced a couple of tables in their article on lights showing running costs and carbon dioxide savings. The table below comes from this article.

Bulb typePowerRunning cost for 1 hourCarbon dioxide emitted
during 1 hour of use
Incandescent100W£0.0160.04kg 
Halogen70W£0.0110.03kg 
Compact fluorescent20W£0.0030.01kg 
LED15W£0.0020.01kg

Our last pointer for good advice in this blog post is the Which? article Five tips for choosing the right light bulb. Worth a read to make sure you buy the low energy light bulb that’s right for you and help you avoid making expensive mistakes!

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