In today's world, energy efficiency is more critical than ever, and lighting plays a significant role. Lighting consumes a substantial amount of electricity in households and commercial buildings, so choosing the right lighting solution can not only help lower your electricity bills but also reduce your carbon footprint.
With so many options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best energy-efficient lighting solutions for your needs.
In this article, we will outline the 5 top lighting tips and solutions that we have found can help you save money, conserve energy and reduce your impact on the environment. These tips are:
- Invest in LED lighting solutions
- Know your wattage and lumens
- Use smart lighting for energy efficiency
- Use timed lights
- Know the different types of lighting and their impact on energy
1. Invest in LED lighting solutions
Despite what you’ve read elsewhere, LEDs still are one of the best energy-efficient lighting solutions you can find on the market.
LED (which stands for light-emitting diode) solutions convert almost all the energy they consume into light, with a very little amount wasted. This is in contrast to traditional incandescent bulbs, which convert only about 10% of the energy they consume into light and the remaining 90% wasted as heat.
LED lighting solutions also have a longer lifespan than traditional lighting solutions. This means that they need to be replaced less often, reducing the overall amount of energy needed to produce and transport replacement bulbs.
LED vs fluorescent light bulbs
What about fluorescent light bulbs? Aren’t they also energy efficient?
Yes, compact fluorescent light bulbs (also known as CFLs) are also an effective way to conserve energy. But they simply aren’t as efficient as LEDs and, in any case, the drawbacks of CFLs outweigh their benefits.
CFLSs take longer to light up and contain a toxic chemical called mercury, which can be dangerous if the bulb breaks. Inhaling mercury has harmful effects on humans and, in the worst cases, can be fatal. If you do use a fluorescent bulb, make sure to dispose of it properly and be careful not to break it.
2. Know your wattage and lumens
If you’re going to invest in a lighting solution, it’s important to understand the terminology associated with them.
Wattage refers to the unit of power a bulb uses, indicating how much energy it consumes. The higher the wattage, the more energy the bulb consumes.
On the other hand, lumens measure the amount of light emitted by a bulb. The higher the number of lumens, the brighter the light. Keep in mind that newer bulbs, like LEDs, are measured in lumens, whereas incandescent bulbs are typically still measured in watts.
Let’s look at an example. An incandescent light bulb may have a label that reads "60W" and "600 Lumens". This means it uses 60 watts of energy to produce a brightness of 600 lumens. However, if an LED bulb is labelled "60W Equivalent, Efficient 9W" and "750 Lumens," this indicates that it consumes only 9 watts of power, but provides an even brighter light than the incandescent bulb. This means that you get better lighting and impact on energy usage.
Where can you find the wattage and lumen information of your bulbs? Well, you can find them on your bulb’s packaging (if you haven’t thrown the box out). However, if you no longer have the box, you can buy a new bulb and check the box. Or you can simply look your bulb up online to find the information.
3. Use smart lighting for energy efficiency
A smart lighting system can be a great way to increase energy efficiency, whether it’s for your home or your business. Below, we’ve outlined three examples of these systems that can help you save on your next power bill.
Since most of these methods can be controlled remotely (i.e. you can control your lights from your smartphone or tablet), you can make sure that lights are turned off even when you're not home.
Smart lighting systems can be set up with motion sensors that detect when a room is occupied. This means that lights will automatically turn on when someone enters a room and turn off when the room is empty, ensuring that lights aren't left on unnecessarily and saving energy.
By investing in a high-quality occupancy and vacancy detector system, you can conserve energy so that your appliances only activate when people are detected in the vicinity.
Geo-fencing is a type of smart lighting that has a location-based control feature. This automatically turns off your lights once it detects that your smartphone is far away enough from your home.
This is an excellent tool to consider, because it can also improve the security of your home or your business by ensuring that lights are turned on when you're arriving and turned off when you leave.
Many smart lighting systems allow you to control the brightness of your lights. By dimming your lights, you can reduce the amount of energy they use while still providing enough light for the task at hand.
By investing in a high-quality dimming system, you can effectively replace your light switches entirely and boost your energy savings by up to 65%. Not to mention, dimmers are perfect for customising the ambience in your rooms.
4. Use timed lights for energy efficiency
Timed lights are an effective way to improve energy efficiency. By setting a schedule for your home lighting, you can avoid wasting electricity when no one is in a room or during daylight hours.
This not only helps you save money on your energy bill but also reduces your carbon footprint. Additionally, timed lights for energy efficiency can provide a sense of security by giving the impression that someone is home, even when you're away. Many smart lighting systems offer easy-to-use scheduling features, allowing you to customise your lighting based on your daily routine.
You may also use timed lights to decrease your utility expenses. Some examples of timed lights include:
- Time Delay Switches. Also referred to as time lag switches, these are able to turn on your appliances for a certain pre-set amount of time, so they can switch off at a time you know you won’t be using it.
- Plug In Timers. This timer allows you to supply power to a mains-connected deliver at certain times of the day that you choose, allowing you to remain completely controller of your power supply 24/7.
All these products help you save power as much as possible, so you never waste the wattage of your precious energy.
5. Know the different types of lighting and their impact on energy
Lighting and its impact on energy usage are intimately connected, as lighting is one of the major contributors to energy usage. Hence, it's safe to say that improving the efficiency of lighting is crucial for reducing energy consumption.
There are four main types of lighting:
- LED, and
- Halogen lamps.
These are the oldest and least energy-efficient types of bulb. They work by heating a filament to produce light, which results in a lot of wasted energy in the form of heat.
In fact, only around 10% of the energy consumed by an incandescent bulb is actually used to produce light, while the remaining energy is wasted as heat.
As a result, incandescent bulbs are being phased out in many countries due to their low energy efficiency.
These are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, but less efficient than LEDs. Fluorescent bulbs work by ionising mercury vapour inside the bulb, which produces ultraviolet light that is then converted into visible light by a phosphorescent coating on the bulb.
While they use less energy than incandescent bulbs and have a longer lifespan, they do contain toxic mercury (as mentioned above) and can take longer to turn on and warm up.
LEDs are by far the most energy-efficient type of bulb and are rapidly gaining popularity due to their energy savings and long lifespan. LEDs work by using a semiconductor to convert electricity into light, with very little energy wasted as heat.
Additionally, LEDs do not contain any toxic materials and can be easily controlled using smart technology to maximise energy efficiency. Using LED smart lighting for energy efficiency is a meaningful, long-term investment that will help you to reduce personal expenses and environmental impact.
Halogen lighting is essentially an enhanced version of incandescent lighting. When it comes to the quality of light emitted, it is just as good as regular incandescent lighting.
They are a little more efficient than incandescent bulbs, but not by much. They are still largely inefficient when looking at its lumen-per-watt ratio.
From September 2021, halogen light bulbs were banned in the UK. This move was projected to cut 1.26 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in emissions.
Looking for an energy-efficient lighting solution?
There is no doubt that lighting plays a significant role in energy efficiency. With so many options available in the market, choosing the best energy-efficient lighting solutions can help not only lower electricity bills but also reduce carbon footprint.
By making small changes, such as choosing the right bulbs, scheduling lighting, using motion sensors and investing in smart lighting, we can all make a difference in conserving energy, maximising energy efficiency and reducing our impact on the environment.
At Sparks Direct, we offer a wide range of high-quality energy-efficient lighting solutions, suitable for both homes and businesses. If you need any advice on what solutions are best for you, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re open Monday to Friday, available at 020 7263 8007. We look forward to helping you find the perfect lighting for you!