How good are the Philips Hue light bulbs?

Following on from our last podcast where we covered LED lighting we have had lots of interest in the Philips Hue.

What is Philips Hue?

Philips Hue is an intelligent lighting solution, which takes advantage of the WiFi in your house to allow you to turn lights on and off automatically from an app on your phone.

Key to the Philips Hue system is the Hue bridge – this is the bit of kit that plugs directly into your wireless router and allows the app on your phone or tablet to turn lights on or off. The Hue bridge is pretty small (the footprint of the Hue bridge is 88mm x 88mm and just 24mm high) and it needs to be plugged in to the mains to operate.

Once it has been plugged in to the wireless router, the Phillips Hue app can then be downloaded, and 50 Philips Hue lights of your choice can be connected to it and then each of these lights can be controlled independently. If you are looking for more than 50 lights, then you would need a second Hue bridge (which would allow you to control 100 bulbs total).

Can the Philips Hue lighting system save money?

In a word – yes. All the lights with the Philips Hue solution are LED lights – so they use far less power than equivalent incandescent or halogen bulbs. Typically LED bulbs use about 90% less electricity than incandescent or halogen bulbs and the reason for this is how they produce light. Both halogen and incandescent lights have a filament housed inside the bulb – when electricity is passed through the filament it gets extremely hot which causes it to glow and give off light. The issue is that about 90% of the electricity that goes through one of these bulbs is turned to heat and only about 10% is actually converted to light.

LED bulbs convert almost all of the electricity that travels through them into useful light (about 90%) and very little heat is given off as a by-product. Hence, if you swap out older bulbs for new LED bulbs then you will save money very quickly on your electricity bills.

LED bulbs also last considerably longer than halogen or incandescent bulbs – they should last approximately 15,000 hours compared to the 1,500 hours for the older bulbs – so obviously far less bulb buying going forward!

Does the smart functionality of the Philips Hue save money?

As discussed, installing Philips Hue light bulbs will save you money if you are replacing older bulbs (either halogen or incandescent), but there are also other features that can save you money. The first is the App’s location awareness feature, your lights will automatically turn on when you arrive at your front door or turn off when you leave home. No more being told off by a parent for leaving lights on – the app will know when you are no longer on the wifi network and automatically turn off.

Likewise, even if you don’t have this feature on, you can still remotely turn lights on and off from afar via the app.

Improving Security around the home with Philips Hue

Most of the comments directed to us following our podcast were actually related to how Philips Hue can be used to improve security around the household. I have installed the products in my house and I have to say they work really well. The key feature we use at home is to set a routine for a particular set of lights to come on in the evening when it gets dark. The clever bit of this ‘random times’ adjustment you can make to this, so if you say the lights should come on at 7pm, you can use this adjustment to say the lights will turn on around 7pm, but not exactly at that time. It makes your lighting appear more random for someone looking from the outside giving the illusion someone is actually at home.

The other major feature is that the Philips Hue can be set up to take advantage of the IFTTT (if this, then that) framework. This basically allows smart devices in the home to work together – so for example you can set the Nest camera to work with the Hue lighting system, so when the Nest camera spots someone, a particular light will come on in the house – again giving the sense someone is at home.

All in all, the Philips Hue works really well for me and I would definitely recommend it to other GreenAge readers!

Think we missed something? Do you have a different opinion?

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