With research suggesting that UK households waste around £140m in energy bills annually by leaving lights on unnecessarily, now is the time to sit up and take notice. It’s not difficult to help the environment while also saving on bills; by installing energy efficient lighting and energy saving bulbs we can make a real difference.
Energy saving lamps may cost more at the outset in terms of initial cost but when it comes to long-term costs it’s a no-brainer. Energy efficient bulbs cost less to run and need to be replaced less frequently than traditional light bulbs, meaning the cost of maintaining the lights are incredibly low by comparison.
Unlike traditional bulbs, energy saving bulbs don’t contain an electric filament so they stay cool when lit. Electric current passes through the gas-filled bulb and causes the inner coating to glow brightly – the energy is used to create light rather than heat, meaning energy saving bulbs are up to 80% cheaper to run than old-style bulbs.
The best part is that energy efficient light bulbs now come in a wide range of sizes, wattages and styles – meaning it’s easy to convert your existing light fittings to provide energy saving lighting.
There are a couple of downsides to energy efficient bulbs, however. Firstly, they take longer to light up than traditional bulbs. There’s a small amount of ‘lag’ between flicking the switch and the bulb reaching full brightness, but we’re talking about a minuscule amount of time and new developments mean that the delay is becoming less and less noticeable.
The second drawback is that low energy bulbs are generally not compatible with dimmer switches. The bulbs flicker when used in such set-ups, so you’ll want to go traditional if that’s how your lighting system is set up.
On the whole, though, investing in energy saving lighting or bulbs makes a lot of sense in terms of both long-term costs and improving the environment. In order to extend the life of your low energy bulbs as much as possible, try to leave them on for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes before turning them off. This will allow a ‘stabilising’ period, although switching them on and off sooner than that shouldn’t have any noticeable detrimental effect.