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Why Have Energy Saving Light Bulbs Taken Over?

In most shops now you will find that energy efficient light bulbs dominate the shelves, and over the next couple of years inefficient light bulbs will have been completely phased out. But just how much energy will they save and who has implemented these changes?

When it comes to your household bills, the average household will be spending 8% of their energy bill on lighting their home, which is why energy efficient light bulbs have become one of the most effective ways to reduce those energy bills. There are still approximately 650 million bulbs in use in UK homes, and the majority of these will be inefficient bulbs; the below figures show just how much money and energy could be saved if people turned to the efficient option.

A typical energy saving fluorescent bulb that gives off the same brightness as your standard light bulb will save you £55 over its lifetime, which is around £3 a year. Multiply this by the number of lights you have in your home and you’ll see where you should start to notice these changes in your energy bills.

With your downlights, traditional ones were 50W halogen bulbs, but these have been replaced by 6W LED ones and these save around £70 in their lifetime, equating to £4 per year.

How can you save money in your home?

These calculations indicate just how easy it is to save money through your lighting and regardless of how big your home is or whether your rent or own it, changing your lights is an easy way to save both energy and money. Looking round your home you will probably find a mixture of light fittings, from spotlights/downlighters to standard bulbs and lamps; but energy efficient bulbs can be found for all types of fixtures.


These are the most efficient of lights, and are great if your halogen downlighters need replacing. They are slightly more expensive than compact fluorescents but will generally save you more money over their lifetime.

Compact fluorescents (CFLs)

When you think of an energy-efficient light bulb these are probably what you think of and are the most readily available of light bulbs. Compared to your standard bulbs, these are a much more cost-effective alternative.

It goes without saying that the best way to save energy through your lighting is by turning your lights off – even if you are going out of the room for a couple of minutes, by turning your light off until you return you will save money. Equally, if you have several downlighters in one room, why not turn these off at night if you’re watching television and just put a small table lamp on instead?

Who has enforced the use of energy-efficient lighting?

Energy companies and the Government have been working tirelessly together to try and encourage the use of energy-efficient light bulbs by phasing out those inefficient ones. Equally, factories where light bulbs are produced have also started working to change their manufacturing facilities in order to meet with growing demand for energy-efficient light bulbs.

This phasing out first started in the UK with 100W or greater bulbs being phased out; this has gradually decreased to lower rated bulbs until many have now been removed completely from the shelves in most major stores.

Is this the same in Europe?

The UK scheme is more advanced than the one the European Commission has implemented, but they have managed to phase out all 60W and above standard filament bulbs. From September of this year bulbs with a lower wattage are to be phased out. Additionally, from 2016, halogen spotlights will also need to be within the minimum efficiency standards.

Some more light saving tips.

  • If you are building a new home or you are having your lighting re-wired it’s a good idea to consider where you will need to turn lights on and off. For example, having a light switch for the landing at the bottom and top of the stairs will allow you to turn it off once you have walked up or down the stairs without the temptation of just leaving it on until later.
  • Light your room with various lights operated by separated switches so you can then achieve the lighting you want, whether it be bright or dim; this is a more effective way of saving energy than using a dimmer switch.
  • While it is true that if you switch a light on and off constantly it will not last as long it will also use more energy if you leave it on. It really is straightforward; just turn it off when you don’t need it.
  • When it comes to your lights outside, it’s a good idea to have them on a sensor so they switch on when they detect you moving around outside. You should also look into installing a time switch too so it won’t keep coming on whenever the cat walks past during the night.

1 Comment to Why Have Energy Saving Light Bulbs Taken Over?

  1. karl's Gravatar karl
    November 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I agree totally , however we dom need to weigh up the balance as disposing of these is extremely comprehensive and damaging to the enviroment .

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