It’s true that one of the biggest costs in running a household or commercial building is the cost of electricity needed to power lighting….until now.
Most buildings contain a combination of halogen (down lights and outdoor floodlights), incandescent (such as common light bulbs), fluorescent tubes, Sodium Vapour (such as outdoor floodlights and warehouse Hi bay lights) plus various other types of lighting.
These can all be replaced now with LED lighting technology, and the savings in energy usage can be up to 90%…but how?
LED (which stands for light emitting diode) is a new form of lighting that offers immense benefits to the user and the environment. Replacement bulbs of all types are now available and generally fit right back into the same socket as they were removed from.
Unlike conventional forms of lighting, LED doesn’t burn a filament inside the bulb for its brightness. This burning causes heat and a majority of the energy used to power traditional lights is wasted by this heat generation.
Does the latest generation of energy-saving light bulbs really save energy?
A major study conducted by Osram, the giant German lighting company, provides evidence that they do. Until the release of the report Dec 2009 the answer remained unclear because no one knew if the production of LED lamps required more energy than needed for standard incandescent bulbs. If more energy were used in the manufacturing and distribution process, then the lighting industry would be harming not helping CO2 production.
To calculate what is known as a Life Cycle Assessment of LED lamps, Osram compared nearly every aspect of the manufacturing process, including the energy used in manufacturing the lamps in Asia and Europe, then packaging them, and transporting them to Germany for sale.
Now back to saving money…
One of the easiest things to do is get yourself into the habit of turning off appliances and lights that aren’t in use. This seems obvious, but do a simple experiment of your house one night. Are the kids leaving the lights on even when they aren’t in the room? Is someone taking off to go to the shops or play outside while the TV continues playing in the living room?
While you’re checking out light usage, look at the wattage of the bulbs you use in the lamps and overhead lights. You can probably go down a few watts: say, from 75 to 60 without noticing it too dramatically.
But switch to LED and suddenly you can go from a 50-watt halogen bulb to a 5 or 7-watt model with very similar light output.
There is very little heat generated by LED too… (typically halogen bulbs can reach temperatures up to 320 C and have been known to cause countless fires).
This means after the switch to LED you can run AIR CONDITIONING at lower speed and higher temperatures saving even more money and CO2 gases.
If you have Halogen lights chances are you have around 50 installed in the average sized 3-bedroom house. If these run daily for around 5 hours they will cost you around $820.00 per year to run (based on a conservative rate of 0.18c per kwh). If you switched these same lights to LED they would cost you around $88 per year to run- but the real benefit is the savings over their lifetime. Typically LED runs for 50 000 hrs- that’s about 12 years of savings before replacement – or about $5850 in this example.
You can save a considerable amount of electricity by unplugging unused electronics. Many products still draw power even when they are not turned on. These items can contribute up to 25% of your electric bill! To save even more money – turn off the lights when you leave a room.
You can also use floor lamps instead of the overhead lights when you’re working in one area (reading in bed, for example, or watching television). Its called task lighting and instead of lighting a whole room, concentrate on the tasks that require lighting. Under cabinet lighting in the kitchen or a bench light in the workshop are examples. Task lighting eliminates shadows and eases strain on your eyes.
Lets not forget the humble dimmer. Dimmers provide an additional way to save energy and money by allowing you to control the strength of the light. With most solar street light electronic type dimmers need to be used instead of conventional incandescent types. Dimmers create a mood in a room.The dimmer the light, the less energy used, and the greater the savings.
DO they make all types of LED replacement lights now – even Fluro tubes?…The answer is YES!
New developments in LED technology have made the humble FLUORESCENT tube outdated. While the fluro tube is relatively efficient by itself, compared to LED tubes, it is a waste of energy and a major contributor to green house gases.
In conventional fluorescent tubes, there is a harmful gas containing mercury vapour, when this is heated by a tungsten cathode, electrons react with phosphor salts inside the tube and cause light. Over 30% of this reaction is in the form of wasted heat. LED on the other hand is the most energy efficient form of lighting available due to its longevity and low heat emission, coupled with solid-state technology.