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Energy Saving Light Bulbs

By: Helena Stratford - Updated: 10 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
Bulbs Light Bulbs Energy Saving Energy

With electricity prices going up and the credit crunch beginning to bite; we could all do with saving a bit of money somehow. And one extremely simple way to do just that is to replace existing light bulbs with energy saving ones.

What Are Energy Saving Light Bulbs?

Energy saving light bulbs or to give them their ‘official’ title, Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs), are, as the name suggests, bulbs which save energy. And the saving is significant - for while they give off the same amount of light as normal bulbs, they use up to 80% less electricity.

It has been calculated that if everyone replaced three of their standard bulbs for energy saving ones, the amount of energy saved would be enough to supply all street lighting.

How do they Work?

Energy efficient light bulbs work in a similar way to fluorescent lights in that an electric current travels through gas in a tube, allowing the tube’s coating to glow. Mercury is used to generate ultraviolet light which is then converted to visible light by the bulb’s coating.

With standard incandescent bulbs, electricity is used to heat a filament until it glows white hot and a burns brightly. However about 90% or more of the energy is expended as heat – and this is the crucial difference.

How Much Money Would I Save?

Although energy saving bulbs may be more expensive in the first place to purchase, that initial investment should be recouped within the first six months of use, leaving you pocketing the savings from there on.

Lighting makes up between 10% and 15% of our electricity bill in the average home so by turning lights off when you leave a room and swapping those you use most to take energy efficient bulbs, will make a significant saving.

An energy efficient bulb could save as much as £60 in electricity over its life span and, depending on the type of bulb last, on average, 10 - 15 times longer than ordinary bulbs with each bulb saving about £7.00 per year.

Don’t they cast a Funny Light?

Many people are put off making the switch to energy saving bulbs because they believe that they cast a harsh glare in the room, more like an overhead strip light than a softly diffused light. And there is some truth in what they say, because early versions certainly gave off a less ‘cosy’ light.

However, times have moved on and these days energy saving light bulbs are almost indistinguishable from regular ones with bulbs which look the same as standard ones and which cast the same quality of light easily available.

Will they fit my Existing Light Fittings?

Yes, energy-efficient lights will fit most current standard fittings. In fact the technology for CFL’s is developing very fast with dimmer-switch lights, floodlights, halogen-style lights etc all becoming available as energy savers.

In fact the government is currently working with retailers who sell light bulbs to phase out inefficient old-style ones and to only make available energy efficient ones, which is another incentive for manufacturers to supply bulbs which are exchangeable with existing ones. Indeed, by the end of 2011, we may only be able to purchase CFL’s when we need to change a bulb!

Although this is still currently a voluntary initiative, the Government nevertheless sees it as an important part of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and estimates that it could save more then 3 million tones of CO2 per year by 2012.

So what are you waiting for - why not help turn a bright idea into a brighter future?

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