Energy-saving light bulbs and your energy bills.
Now that the Australian Government intends to phase out the old style of energy-inefficient incandescent light bulbs in favour of energy-saving light bulbs, it’s important to know how your bulb choice can affect your energy bill.
In this guide, we look at energy-efficient light bulb facts, including:
- What are energy efficient light bulbs
- The different types of energy efficient light bulbs available
- How they work and the advantages of each
- What their energy efficiency and running costs are
Why the old standard light bulbs were phased out
It’s fascinating to think that one day, kids will look at the light bulb ‘idea’ icon and wonder what that ‘thing’ is inside the bulb.
Until recently, it was very common for householders in Australia to use “incandescent” light bulbs with a filament inside. These light globes work by using a lot of energy to heat the filament to such a high temperature that it glows and gives off light. But only about 10% of that energy is converted into light, making them extremely energy inefficient.
So, there’s really no such thing as energy-efficient incandescent light bulbs. That’s why the Government are phasing them out and energy-saving light bulbs have become the choice of savvy homeowners.
What are energy-efficient light bulbs
There are three main types of energy-saving light bulbs, but they are not all equally energy-efficient.
Energy-saving halogen light bulbs
Halogen light bulbs work by using a tungsten filament (like the filament in a standard incandescent bulb) with halogen gas in the bulb. They use much less energy than incandescent lights, and are brighter and last longer.
Other advantages of halogen lights are:
- they come in a wide range of shapes and colours to suit your décor
- you can use them with dimmers
- they light up instantly.
Fluorescent light globes (CFLs)
You might be wondering, are fluorescent light bulbs energy efficient? Yes, they are. Even more so than halogen light globes.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use less energy than an incandescent bulb yet they are brighter and last up to 20 times longer, using up to 80% less energy.
Other advantages of CFLs are:
- they come in a range of white and yellow tones
- some have dimmers
- you can use a cover to diffuse the light
CFLs use a tiny amount of mercury, so they need to be properly recycled at the end of their lifespan. But the level of mercury is so small that they are not a health risk, even if the lamp is broken.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs)
LEDs are the most energy-efficient light bulbs. LEDs use semiconductors that convert electricity into light. They are the most expensive energy-saving bulb to buy, but because they use so little energy and last a long time, they will save you the most money in the long term.
Other advantages of LEDs include:
- they work equally well outdoors and indoors
- they come in a range of colours
- there are motion sensor and dimmer LEDs available
- they are flicker free and provide instant light.
The final word
Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs is one of the fastest and easiest ways to save energy and reduce your energy bills. Investing in LEDs will give you the greatest savings over time.