Instead of just switching off your lights this Earth Hour why not make a real difference and replace your inefficient lights with more efficient technology. This means you’ll be saving money and reducing demand for electricity everyday of the year!
These are the old style globes you would have seen for many years, most of these are now not available for sale in Australia in a move to make people use more energy efficient lighting. These globes produce more heat than light from the energy going into the globe and therefore are very inefficient and in summer contribute heat to a room making air conditioners work harder.
What can you do?
Replace your old style light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL). Replacing your standard incandescent globes is probably the easiest of all changes you can make to your home lighting. There are many shapes, sizes, light output and light temperature models of CFL’s available and new models also have the ability to be dimmed. You will easily be able to find one that fits in your current light fitting.
Choosing a CFL
- Light output – If you are happy with the current light output of your incandescent globe you’ll want to get a CFL with an equivalent light output which is determined by the wattage (W) rating of the globe. A general rule is a CFL will be one fifth the wattage of a standard incandescent light globe will have the same light output. E.g 100W incandescent globe = 20W CFL. If you think you have too much light or not enough adjust accordingly. Keep in mind that a CFL can take a few seconds to ‘warm up’ and emit its full potential.
- Light temperature – some people like ‘warm white’ which is the more yellow kind of light that is output by incandescent globes. Others like the ‘daylight’ or natural white light (which may appear to have a blue tinge) . CFL light temperature is measure in Kelvin (K) The lower the number the ‘warmer or more yellow the light’ the higher the number the ‘whiter’ it is. Most brands will also label these as ‘warm white’ or ‘daylight’ on the packaging. Personally I prefer the warm white light
- Fitting – This will either be Bayonet Cap (BC) or Edison Screw (ES). Small Bayonet Cap (SBC) and Small Edison Screw (SES) may also appear in smaller light fittings. Make sure you get the right type for the globe you are replacing otherwise it won’t fit!
- Shape – If the globe is visible in the fitting it will live in you might want to go for a round ‘normal’ looking globe. Spiral and straight are also available, spiral tends to be more efficient at spreading the light due to the increased surface area . Some of these spiral and straight ones might be smaller than others but still output the same amount of light so get the size that best suits your situation. Even candle shaped globes exist to put in your chandelier!
- Dimmable – If you have a dimmer installed you will need to get a CFL that is capable of being dimmed, check that it is compatible with the type of dimmer you have.
- Brands – There are many brands if CFL’s available, for the best results don’t buy the dirt cheap globes from a $2 shop
Light globes get hot! Don’t be stupid and burn yourself! Make sure the light is switched off before replacing globes.
LED globes are more efficient but more expensive and are now coming out in shapes to suit ‘normal’ light fittings. Take a look at Todae
Many people think that because most of these lights are low voltage that they don’t use much energy, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Generally Halogen lights are 50W globes and most of the energy they use is converted into heat rather than light.
Most Halogen downlighting will be 12V which involves a transformer than drops the power supply from 240V to 12V and a 12V globe. 240V halogen downlights are also available, these obviously, don’t have a transformer.
What can you do?
- Replace the globe AND the transformer with something more efficient. Some transformers can use 10W or more just themselves. The best solution here is an efficient transformer such as the Redback as well as a LED replacement globe that fits into the existing fitting. Depending on the light output you need there are many available. Check out the range from Todae to get an idea of what is available. You’ll want to be looking at the temperature of the light you prefer and the amount out light output and angle of output you need. Replacing a 50W halogen with a 6W LED will save you around 90% in running costs. An LED halogen replacement will easily pay off the initial higher cost of the globe with it’s lower running costs and longer life. Less heat from your lights in summer also means less work and less energy usage from your air conditioner.
- A more involved method is to replace the fitting altogether and install a ‘downlight CFL fitting’. Due to CFLs being larger than LED/Halogen globes you’ll generally require a larger hole in the roof. This can easily be done by making the existing hole larger and putting the new fitting in. There are smaller CFLs available now, a new fitting will still be required but it may fit in the same hole from your old halogen fitting. Check out the downlight guide at Todae
These are just two quick examples and probably the most relevant. If you’ve got any questions about anything I haven’t mentioned feel free to leave a comment
Note: If you are exposing wires to do any of the above you need to get a licensed electrician to do the work