How to choose energy saving light bulbs

With the average household spending about 10 per cent of its power bill on lighting, switching to energy efficient lights – especially LEDs – is one of the fastest and easiest ways to reduce your power consumption.

Types of Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

There are a number of different types of low-energy light globes on the market including LED (light-emitting diode), Halogen and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs).

In comparison, LEDs use less energy than CFLs or Halogen globes but still produce the same amount of light. They cost a bit more but last a lot longer, which will save you money.

LED lights

The initial expense of LEDs is outweighed by the fact they are up to 85 per cent more energy efficient than traditional light bulbs. They can produce more light, use fewer watts and can last for up to 20 years. In comparison, a standard incandescent bulb has a lifespan of around one year.

LED globes are available for pendant lights, desk lamps and outdoor garden lights. They don't always work with traditional dimmer switches, so if you want dimmable LED lighting, make sure you select an LED bulb that is compatible with dimmers or replace your current dimmer switch.

While LED lights are traditionally white, they do come in different colour temperatures. If you're looking for warm lighting, buy a bulb that is close to 2700K (Kelvin). For a cool white, look for something closer to 4000K or if you prefer a cooler light, look for 5000K or more.

But if you're looking for some real festive colour, you can also buy LED multi-colour party lights and solar-powered LED string lights to wrap around trees or patios.

Unlike CFL globes, LEDs don't contain hazardous material such as mercury, which needs to be disposed of properly. They also emit 10 times less carbon dioxide than halogen light bulbs and half as much as CFLs.

How to choose Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Halogen lights

Low voltage halogen downlights are the most commonly used globes in Australia. They produce bright, powerful light and while they’re generally more expensive than traditional light bulbs, they’re about 25 per cent more efficient, lasting up to three times longer than a standard globe. They come in a wide range of shapes and colours and can be used with a dimmer.

Eco halogen lights

Eco halogen bulbs come in the traditional bulb shape and also in downlights. They offer a natural dimmable light, lasting twice as long as regular halogen globes.

Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)

CFLs are fluorescent tubes bent into a shape to fit a standard light fitting. They feature the same brightness and colours of standard globes but use about a quarter of the electricity and last up to 30 times longer. While they may cost more, a CFL will pay for itself in energy savings in less than nine months.

Comparing LED, Halogen and CFL lights

Traditional light bulbs use watts to describe how much energy they use and how bright the light will be. For LED light bulbs, the number of watts doesn't tell you how bright the light will be.

Instead of watts, look for the lumen rating (lm) on LED light bulbs – this is the measurement of their brightness. To choose a globe that gives you the brightness you want and the energy savings you need, check out our light globe comparison chart below.

comparison table

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How to choose Energy Saving Light Bulbs

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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