Energy Efficient Lighting and LED

Clever Energy Saving Lighting to Waste less and save more

With energy efficient lighting there are many important issues. Money and energy saving are the important and obvious ones. We consider other cost-benefits as well as resource use to review choices.

Of course, to consider LED light as your energy efficient lighting solution, I needed to look at price versus benefit first. (We are talking reasonable domestic budgets.) Only then did it make sense including them here.
TED light bulb shining
And besides LED there are a variety of other choices how you can go more energy efficient. I will talk about those a little also.

Learn more about other energy saving options >>

Use low voltage
Switch downlights to compact fluorescents
Or switch them to bright LED >>
Energy saving figures
The smart choices
The heat factor
Under the Hood
Related Articles and Resources

Going Low Voltage

In general, I would give preference to low voltage lights - bulbs, ropes, whatever (Those are the fixtures that do not plug into the main.)

Actually, wherever you can - use low voltage with rechargeable batteries instead of high voltage lights. The best are solar - rechargeables in this respect.

And I don't mean just those neat garden lights you just stick in the ground and forget about them. You could also use battery operated devices. All you need is just a battery recharger that uses solar energy - dead easy. But...

Just because a light source is low voltage it does not necessarily translate to energy efficiency.

For Downlights, Forget! the Halogen Variety

Downlights with halogen bulbs (usually just called dowlights) for example are certainly NOT energy efficient. The may look like energy saving devices, but they are not. In fact, it is a popular myth that low voltage halogen downlights save energy. Why not you ask? Good question, actually.

You see halogens have a narrow beam. So you need to use a great many of them to achieve high enough lighting levels. And by that time, of course, they are no longer energy efficient.

Using better light and less energy is the
real smart way.

So you could go LED for downlights. Now, Atlas LED downlights from Lamina are super bright for their size and are great. But there are even brighter downlight replacements for both 20W and 30W MR16. (If they are a bit pricey for you then just go with dimmable compact fluorescents wherever you can - they will also turn the trick.)

Practical things about compact fluorescent lights >> more

Now let's look at some numbers...

First of all, when we consider energy saving, we mostly mean operational energy. But there is another kind I will touch on next - embodied energy, which measures the amount of resources wasted on your light.

Scientists estimate that energy efficient lighting could cut the use of operational electricity by a massive 50%.

Next, embodied energy means the amount of resources used up and then polluted.

In terms of pollution by power plants like the one that produces electricity: - They are a major cause of acid rain, smog, and generally green house gases. By going energy efficient just with your lighting you could help lowering harmful and polluting green house emisson.

The Energy you Save with LED?

In other words you could almost double both the operational and the embodied energy saving if you traded up your current energy saving lighting solution to LED light.

Now, consider this the other way around:

For the same say 15-23W needed for one compact fluorescent spiral light, several LED fixtures could operate day and night without the need of switching them off. But for the same regular incandescent bulb - 60 LED fixtures could turn the same trick!

Use just one less for each of those LED replacement options and you already save while making way more light. ... Use just half, and you WILL still save much more!

Smart Ways for energy efficient lighting

Switching those inefficient light bulbs off when you don't need them is a good start.

But there are much better choices.
We mentioned compact fluorescent lights or CFLs before. There is a growing variety of them, they have become cheaper and noticeably more reliable.

Next, I would recommend LED light bulbs although not all for all purposes. That is because despite the hype around all kind of drop-in LED light bulbs many of them are mostly good as flood lights and washer lights.  There are good reasons for this including good heat management for led bulbs.

And the most fun-to-use home energy efficient lighting?

Well, they would probably be rope LED lights. You'll find that they are actually available as both low voltage and high voltage light fixtures from most good places. Take a gander at the many ways LED rope lights can be used as various home lighting.

Also, wherever you don't really need ambient room illumination, use versatile and flexible task lights during the day, but also at night. Light or motion sensitive night lights will provide perfect amount of light in hallways, bathrooms and other service areas.

Consider also the HEAT factor!

This may sound odd, but beside energy usage the important thing to also remember is heat Wasting energy on heat when we chose an energy efficient source such as LED is just not too smart.

Understand this too: incandescents are one of the worst heat - and light - polluters. They only use a small portion of the energy for actual light. Same reason why incandescents stack up badly with other light sources with respect to saving energy. But they don't always fall short. And certainly not in ALL respect when you compare them thoroughly with fluorescent lights.

Under the Hood

Yes, that's the real more LED lights. (This is what this site is all about.)

In fact, the future or energy efficient lights and in particular single point intelligent LED lights is just as bright as its present if not brighter.

fiber optic decoration light
Then there is fiber optic light that is also energy efficient, extremely exciting and holds even greater promise. (What's fiber optic? In those fun color changing lamps with the many glass strands those strands are actually fiber glass strands and the color changes are forced by a bunch of LEDs.)

With just one fiber optic light catcher on your roof you could effectively have natural daylight anywhere in your home when the sky is not too cloudy.

The only downside is that it is expensive and currently used for some pilot office projects only. But fiber optic lighting WILL be coming to your home sooner then you think.

Meanwhile, I if you want to have some fun with fiberoptic decoration first hand while  -- I have also reviewed some fiber optic Xmas lights.

Related Articles, Resources

NEW! Very bright drop-in LED bulb review.

NEW! To get really energy efficient - select LED lighted items with a reasonable content of recycled plastic

Compact fluorescent lights

Heat and light and Heat sinking for LED lights

Perhaps the most fun energy saving light around the house - LED ropes

Led (non) Bulbs in light of good heat management

LED 101 -- basics and persistent LED problems

Color temperature basics - compare usages and effects
of various light sources and LED.
Learn the various color temperatures and the different fluorescent coloration effects.

The shady and the bright side of compact fluorescent bulbs

About long life incandescents bulbs

Learn more about LED bulbs as flood lights here

Resources (links open new window)

Compare based on typical initial light output and lifetime >>

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