Did you know that the average cost of running a single incandescent light bulb over the span of its lifetime is 5 – 10 times more than the cost of the bulb itself? People buy these inefficient light bulbs because the upfront cost of the bulb is much lower than that of energy-saving light bulbs. However, in the long run, incandescent light bulbs end up costing you, and the planet, much more.
Fortunately, more and more people are having that ‘lightbulb moment’ and realising that by paying a little bit more for an energy-efficient lightbulb up front, they can actually save themselves a considerable amount of money in the long run.
Energy-Saving Bulbs: What Are My Options?
When it comes to choosing which energy-saving light bulb is best for you, you have three options: halogen, compact fluorescent lights (CFL), and light-emitting diode (LED). Bringing up the rear are halogen lightbulbs.
Because both halogen and incandescent light bulbs use a tungsten filament, the light produced by halogen bulbs is similar to an incandescent bulb’s light in terms of colour and quality. The running costs of a halogen bulb are considerably higher than other energy-saving light bulbs , and with a lifespan of only two years, it is unlikely that this type of bulb will pay itself off before it wears out.
CFL light bulbs are a lot more efficient than standard incandescent lights and halogen bulbs. The costs of these bulbs is so low that a CFL bulb will typically pay itself off in a matter of months. With an annual running cost of just over £2 and an estimated lifespan of 10,000 hours, the only downside is that they take a bit of time to reach full brightness.
LED lights are by far the most energy-efficient lightbulb in the energy-saver range. They also have the longest lifespan on average; roughly 30,000 hours. The biggest barrier that prevents people from buying these bulbs is the upfront cost. LEDs are almost three times more expensive than CFL light bulbs. However, with a longer lifespan and an annual running cost of 97p, the bulb pays for itself after only 1.3 years, making them the cheapest in the long run .
Choosing the Right Bulb
Once you have decided which type of lightbulb best suits your needs, you need to think about its output (lumens) and most importantly, in what type of fitting it is to be used. Because fittings come in so many different types and sizes, it is best to bring an old bulb to the store with you if you can. If not, then make sure you write down the reference number of the bulb- not just the type of fitting.
When buying a new lightbulb, you might be tempted to look for one with the same wattage. However, a 12W CFL produces the same amount of light as a 60W incandescent bulb (700+ lumens). When buying a new bulb, match the lumens, not the wattage.
Choosing the right lightbulb does not have to be tricky. Just remember that paying a little bit more upfront for an energy-saving CFL or LED light bulb will work out cheaper over the total lifespan of the bulb.