Should You Switch To LED Lightbulbs? Green Steve Takes A Test Drive
Lighting your home can contribute a significant amount to your energy bills and more modern interior design tends to use an even larger number of lighting fixtures throughout the home (when did one light hanging from the ceiling become insufficient?) with many enjoying multiple spotlights in each room.
The rented flat I live in is no different with 10 halogen lights throughout so I decided to look into the potential savings of switching to LED bulbs instead. Panasonic were kind enough to give me 2 of these LED lightbulbs to try out and you can see my video review below.
In essence then, at just 7w, the LED lightbulbs that I was given represent an 86% reduction in energy consumption compared to the 50w halogen bulbs I had previously.
My own estimate is that I can save £10 – £11 per year on my electricity bill (at current rates which are likely to rise) which is as much as £275 over the expected lifetime of the bulbs. Add to this the cost saving of the replacement bulbs over 25 years and it starts to look very worthwhile.
And the more you use halogen lighting around your home, the more you could save. None of my bulbs are on for more than 90 minutes per day but if you have spotlights in your living room for example, you may be using them for many hours each day and if you have a busy family kitchen then the same logic applies. Panasonic claim payback on the initial outlay could be as little as 2 years based on 4 hours usage a day.
As I mentioned in the video, Panasonic have an online calculator that helps you work out potential savings; you can click here to visit their site and use it for yourself.
The cost savings are not the only benefit. In my case, an £11 annual saving represents around 88kWh and at the current UK energy mix this equates to almost 38kg of CO2e – this is the same as around 535 average cups of tea or spending 7.6 hours in an average electric shower.
A quick Google search reveals plenty of stories about halogen bulbs blowing after a matter of days or weeks but only a few about LED bulbs going the same way. I have scoured the internet for more details and it seems that there is an argument for buying the slightly more expensive, branded LEDs based on the assumption that these brands use higher quality components (and some offer guarantees).
So to answer the question posed in the headline, yes you should switch to LED lighting instead of halogen if you can afford to do so. There are also new LED bulbs being brought to market that fit regular screw and bayonet light fittings so there won’t be many bulbs you can’t replace.
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