7 reasons why you should swap to LED lighting

There are about 700 million light bulbs in UK homes (an average of 25 bulbs for each of the 28 millions houses) but only a fraction of these are LED lights.

LED bulbs have lots of advantages over incandescent bulbs and even the older CFL energy saving bulbs.

Considering lighting tends to account for 10-20% of a typical energy bill, if you do make the switch you can expect to see significant energy savings.

7 reasons why you should swap to LED lighting

In this blog, we are going to list out 7 reasons why LED lights are the future and you are silly if you don’t make the switch.

Reason 1: LED lighting uses less energy

An LED light typically uses 90% less energy than an equivalent incandescent or halogen bulb. As a rule of thumb, if you have a 50w bulb, you will be able to replace it (with similar performance in terms of light output) with a 5w LED bulb. This is because in a traditional bulb, when electricity passes through the filament it produces an enormous amount of heat before producing any light. In an LED, as soon as an electric current passes through the bulb light is given off – far less waste heat is given off, hence the incredible energy savings.

To do a really quick worked example – imagine running 8 x 50w halogen spotlights in a kitchen for 4 hours per day over the course of a year. Each hour they will use 400w of electricity – so 0.4kWh – over the 4 hours that the bulbs were on, they would use a total of 1.6kWh of electricity

In the UK the cost of electricity is approximately 13p/kWh – so that means the cost of having these bulbs on per day is £0.21. Over 365 days that would add up to £76.

If you were to make the change to LED bulbs – so replacing the halogen 50w spotlights with 5w LED equivalents, your hourly usage would be just 40w of electricity – so 0.04kWh – over the 4 hours the bulbs would use a total of 0.16kWh of electricity which would cost just £0.02. Over the year this equates to £7.59 in total, so quite the saving!

Now imagine swapping all the bulbs in your home!

Reason 2: LED bulbs last much much longer!

If you have halogen spotlights in your home you will know they blow on a pretty regular basis. So much so it is actually a bit of a pain having to replace them all the time.

The good news about LED is that they last approximately 20 times longer – no more having to get the ladder out! The reason that traditional bulbs blow so often is that every time they turn on the filament burns off a minute amount of tungsten as it heats up. Over time the filament gets thinner and thinner and eventually it simply pops, meaning you need to replace the bulb. This doesn’t happen with LED lighting, your bulbs will likely last till you move out of the house!

Reason 3: The colour choice of LED bulbs is almost endless!

Traditional incandescent bulbs produce a really nice warm light. It is the light that most of us grew up with and so on the whole we are used to it and like it.

LEDs give people choice though – yes you can get the nice warm light colour reminiscent of incandescent bulbs, but using LED lighting you can achieve any colour on the colour temperature chart. LED lights emit this light with a constant colour temperature too, regardless of the intensity to unlike conventional light fittings.

Reason 4: LED lighting is better for the environment

There are two major reasons that LED lighting helps the environment – the first is related to the fact that LED lighting uses less energy – this means that energy demand decreases and therefore less power is required in the first place. For a single house the difference it will make on the wider environment is negligible however if we were all to make the swap then energy demand would decrease significantly. Remember about 10-20% of the average household energy bill goes on the cost of lighting – and that doesn’t even consider workplace lighting.

The other reason LED lighting helps the environment is because the bulbs themselves can be recycled. CFL bulbs, which are the old style energy saving bulbs that take an age to come on contain mercury. This means that they need to be disposed of in a safer manner to ensure the waste site is not contaminated.

Reason 5: No need to change the fitting

So these LED bulbs use less electricity to run, they last longer, they come in all different colours and they are better for the environment – what are the other reasons for making the jump to LED lighting. Well since LED bulbs are becoming so popular it is now possible to replace about every type of light fitting in the home with an LED equivalent. When they first came out, the number of LED fittings was limited, but now you can get spotlights (GU10 & MR16), bayonet fittings, Edison screw and even LED strip lights too. We even had a customer who wanted to swap their fridge light with an LED equivalent – so whatever your requirements, there is an LED to do the job.

One thing to be slightly mindful of is when using LED bulbs with 12v circuits (like an MR16 bulb). Normally an external transformer is used to take the mains voltage down to 12v, however the transformer has to be able to operate with LED bulbs – i.e. it has to be a LED transformer. The reason for this is that transformers typically require a bit of load for them to operate – approximately 40watts. If you replace 7 MR16 bulbs in a kitchen circuit with LED equivalents you will take the load travelling through the transformer down from 350w to 35w. This means that the transformer won’t work properly and the result will be flashing lights.

We always recommend keeping your lighting at 240v if you do any retrofit works, but you can still buy the LED transformers if you existing lights do work at 12v. In most cases though we find people are much better off replacing the fitting and the LED bulbs (so swap MR16 bulbs with new GU10 fitting and GU10 LED bulbs).

Reason 6: LED bulbs provide instant lighting

You would be amazed at the number of people with the old style energy saving lights in their homes. Obviously there was a huge drive by the Government for people to swap to these bulbs in the 90s because honestly so many of our clients have them in their homes. On the whole they are better than incandescent bulbs because they use less energy and last longer, however the reason I don’t like them and actually refuse to have them in my house is that they take so long to reach full brightness.

Entering a room to find something you have lost and needing to wait 2 minutes while the bulbs warms up sufficiently to light the room is not ideal. Well with LED bulbs you experience the same instant lighting as incandescent bulbs. This is not a massive thing, but for many it might be a clincher!

Reason 7: LED bulbs are coming down in price every day!

The final reason is that LED bulbs are coming down in price all the time. When we first started the GreenAge about 3 years ago, I remember that this particular GU10 we used to recommend to people cost £13.99 – quite an expense. These same LED bulbs now cost just £4.99 and they have better packaging!

This means that the cost of replacing all the bulbs in your home with the LED equivalents is now more affordable than ever. Obviously the outlay is not going to be cheap, but the energy savings from the bulbs and the fact they last up to 20 times longer than the incandescent / Halogen equivalent means the payback should be less than a year – so in our opinion certainly an investment worth making!