The prices of high quality LED’s having fallen by 50% in real terms (after exchange rates) in the last 2 years, reducing your electricity bills through replacing inefficient old lighting technology is now a real option, with attractive financial returns on the investment.
As an overview:
- Incandescent bulbs are very inefficient with the majority of the electricity being wasted through heat.
- Halogen bulbs do not save any energy over incandescent.
- Low voltage lighting (12V) is actually less efficient than mains 220V lighting.
- CFL lighting can save up to 70% of the electricity used in an incandescent bulb and enjoy a much longer life.
- LED lighting can save up to 85% of the energy in an incandescent bulb for the same lumens output. They also enjoy a very long life of up to 60 years before failing. Before investing in LED lighting technology consumers need to be aware of some of the potential pitfalls.
- If LED down lights are not correctly fitted with sufficient space for the heat to be dissipated efficiently, their anticipated life may be reduced to months or a few years.
- The lumens output is not always as much as claimed particularly with cheaper product from unknown brands. A 5W LED may for example only produce 4,5W output after a short period, rendering the light output to be inadequate. For example a 6W LED in replacement of a 50W halogen will probably be a better bet than a 5W that claims to have the same lumens output as the 50W halogen.
- A number of manufacturers now offer a variety of light colours, for example yellow light rather than the harsh cold daylight colours which many people find unattractive. Dimmable LEDS are also now available.
- As the investment can be considerable, it is advisable to buy better known brands with strong warranties and as with all energy efficiency to do the research. There is a lot of information readily available over the Internet.
- The return on capital expended can provide a payback on the investment of 2 years or less, but only if the LED is good quality, and it is correctly installed.
- DIY installation on down lights is generally simple and straightforward, and should only take about 2 minutes per fitting.