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Lighting can contribute to over 30% of a households total electricity bill. By replacing inefficient halogen and incandescent light globes with energy efficient and cost effective LED lights, you will reduce your electricity bill and your carbon footprint.
This article will provide an LED comparison to Halogen and Compact Fluorescents (CFL) and prove why LED is the clear winner.
Incandescent and Halogen Lights
Incandescent lights are the most commonly used form of lighting. This includes the standard everyday light bulbs and halogen downlights. On the offset, they are inexpensive to buy but their lifetime running costs quickly add up.
An incandescent light creates light by running electricity through a filament, which heats up and then literally glows white-hot. It is a very inefficient way of creating light as 90% of the electricity used is turned into heat with only 10% being turned into light.
Incandescent lights are very dangerous and are a fire hazard with halogen lights being responsible for many household fires. The filaments in halogen lights rise up to 2,500°C and the bulb up to 500°C. The temperature at which paper will ignite without a spark or flame is 230°C, so if there is any insulation touching the light fitting a fire can easily start.
Because incandescent emit so much heat, your cooling system needs to work harder to compensate amounting to extra costs in energy bills. The lamp life of an incandescent is only an average of 1,000 hours making regular replacement necessary which wastes money on maintenance costs. It is also very impractical in hard to reach places such as high ceilings.
The most simple alternative to halogen lights is to replace them with the more efficient IRC lamps. They are virtually identical to standard halogens, only the bulb has an Infa Red Coating that reflects some of the heat back into the filament. Lamp life is extended by up to 4,000 hours and will save up to 30% of energy in comparison to a standard halogen. Although the fire hazard still remains and much greater energy savings can be achieved with other options.
Compact Fluorescent Lights
Compact fluorescents have come a long way from the flickering, unflattering light they once were. They are now available in a wide range of light temperatures, are longer lasting than incandescent lights and are more energy efficient. CFL’s have a lamp life of about 10,000 hours and use approximately 80% less energy than an equivalent incandescent.
CLF’s use gas, mercury particles and phosphor to create light. The gas becomes excited by electricity, and when combined with mercury particles, produces invisible ultraviolet light. The UV light then hits the white phosphor coating inside the bulb causing it to fluoresce and emit white light. There is circuitry inside the base of the light that stops it from flickering like in old fluoro lights.
Most CFL’s have a charge up time usually using about 5 times the bulbs wattage rate for roughly 10 minutes, making them inefficient for areas where fast switching is needed and where lights are frequently switched on and off. They also take around 30-45 seconds to reach full light output from a cold start.
LED is an acronym for Light Emitting Diode. Diodes are semiconductors, which will conduct energy in only one direction. LED lights and tubes use diodes instead of gas or heated filaments to produce light making them the most energy efficient lighting option available.
The benefits of LED Lighting are endless. LED Lights are energy efficient, cost effective, durable and more. They are the lastest technology in lighting and offer a great alternative in replacing your current halogen or standard lights. Below is a detailed list of some of the many benefits of LED Lighting.
A standard 50W halogen lamp turns 90% of electricity used into heat with only 10% into light. The benefit of LED Lights are that they use only 15% of the energy a standard halogen uses, provide up to 85% of the light output and create less heat making them so cool to touch. This makes LED Lights not only energy efficient but extremely cost effective as air conditioning use can be lowered. Some LED Lights can be operated by mains power, but when used with a Low Voltage LED Driver, LED Lights will produce more light output per watt.
Long Life Span
LED Lights have the benefit of a super long life span of up to 80,000 hours which means you can cut maintainance costs as the lamps last up to 8-10 times longer than standard halogen lamps making them an ideal replacement.
LED’s have no filaments so can withstand a greater intensity of vibration and shock than stardard lights making them durable with less risk of breaking and need to replace.
LED Light bulbs can be as small as 2mm making them ideal for fitting into hard to reach and compact areas.
LED Lights will start at full brightness, instantly, every time, therefore there is no need for backup lighting. LED Lights are a benefit because they switch on and off instantly making them ideal for flashing signs, traffic signaling and automotive lights, compared to standard compact fluroescent lights which fade in and out or flicker.
Most LED lights operate at low voltage so are cool to touch and much safer to handle during installation and maintenance and can be exposed to rain and snow.
The benefit of LED Lights is that they are an eco-friendly form of lighting as they do not contain mercury or other harmful gasses or emit any harmful UV rays. For example, a 13w LED light emits 68% less CO2 than a standard 40w incandescent bulb running 10 hours per day
The main issue with CFL’s is the large amount of energy and materials that go into manufacturing them. Fluorescent tubes can contain up to 15mg of mercury that is an extremely toxic element, especially dangerous to pregnant women, babies and children. One fluorescent tube contains enough mercury to pollute 30,000 litres of water. It is essential that all CFL’s and Fluorescent tubes are recycled appropriately.