Whether you rent or own your property, or live in a house, flat or bungalow, you can save money today by changing the way you use your lights and by fitting new energy-saving lights.
•if you replace a traditional light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb of the same brightness you will typically save around £3 per year, or £50 over the life of the bulb
•if you replace a halogen downlighter with an equivalent LED you will typically save around £4 per year, or £14 0 by the time you have to replace the bulb.
Many homes today use a mixture of standard light fittings and halogen downlighters or spotlights (mainly in kitchens and bathrooms). There are low-energy alternatives for both these types of light:
•Compact fluorescents (CFLs) – these are what most people think of as an energy-efficient light bulb. A cost-effective option for most general lighting purposes, and now widely available.
•LEDs – even more efficient, and the ideal replacement for halogen downlighters. More expensive than CFLs but save even more money in the long term.
Of course, the easiest way to save on your lighting bill is simply to turn off the light when you’re not using it. You will ALWAYS save energy if you turn the light out when you leave the room, even if it’s only for a minute or two.
Using lights less
We all need light to do the things we want to do, but sometimes we leave lights switched on when we don’t need to, or we use more lights than we need. The basic message is simple – turn it off if you don’t need it. But here are a few tips to help...
•ALWAYS turn the lights off when you leave the room. Whatever type of lights you have, you will save energy by turning them off even for a few seconds.
•Most types of light bulb will last longer if you don’t switch them on and off repeatedly throughout the day. But you won’t save money by leaving any type of light on for a few minutes just to try and make it last longer. Just turn it off when you don’t need it and turn it back on again when you do. Simple.
•Try and arrange light switches so that it’s easy to turn them off. Most houses are wired so you can switch the landing light on at the top or the bottom of the stairs. Make sure you can do this wherever it will help, usually at every door to a room or corridor. Otherwise you may be tempted to leave the light on for later.
•If you have external lights, then a sensor that turns them on when you approach will make them much cheaper to run. If you fit a time switch too, they won’t keep coming on all night whenever a cat walks past.
•Use the right light for the job in hand. If you’re watching television you probably only want low level background lighting, but if you’re reading a book you will want something bright but local.
•Having a range of lights in a room, all with separate switches, will make it easier to achieve the lighting you want and need, whenever and wherever you want it. And you’ll save more energy than you would by using a single dimmer switch for the whole lot.