Domestic LED Lighting Guide
Traditionally, many homes have been lit up by incandescent light bulbs. Unfortunately, this type of lighting system is incredibly inefficient as 95% of the electricity they use is wasted by being turned into heat. As part of a wider effort to reduce Europe’s carbon footprint, these incandescent light bulbs are being phased out under EU regulations, ensuring that people replace their old bulbs with energy efficient alternatives like LEDs. This one simple step is set to reduce our CO₂ emissions by up to 15 million tons a year!
What is LED Lighting?
Light-Emitting Diodes (‘LEDs’) are undoubtedly the most efficient type of electronic light source currently available. Unlike conventional light sources like halogen, incandescent or CFL bulbs, LEDs are not made of fragile elements such as glass tubes or filaments and do not contain dangerous materials like mercury or lead, ensuring safer, more durable lighting. LEDs also use considerably less energy and emit less heat than traditional lighting systems, making them more energy efficient as well as less frequent to replace.
What are the benefits of LED lighting?
The main benefit of LEDs is their energy efficiency; due to their extremely efficient electricity conversion system, LED bulbs use up to 90% less energy than an incandescent or halogen bulb and much less is wasted in heat. The absence of heat emitted by LEDs not only makes them safer to handle, but the efficiency with which they convert electricity allows these advanced lightbulbs to easily achieve the same light output of a bulb with a much higher wattage. For example, a typical 4W LED bulb would have no problem emitting the same – or greater – brightness as a 50W halogen bulb. Using less energy to light your home not only significantly reduces energy bills but also helps cut carbon emissions.
Reducing the number of products made using dangerous materials like lead and mercury (classed as the most toxic heavy metals in the world) also reduces the chance of pollution when the bulbs are disposed of. In this manner, LED bulbs are not just good for your energy bill, but also for the environment.
LEDs also have an exceptional duration expectancy, with some LEDs lasting up to 50,000 hours. This is due to the advanced thermal management of LEDs, which are able to remove excess heat from the bulb through ‘heat sinks’. This slows down lumen depreciation, prolonging the life of the bulb. In combination with the fact that LEDs are not made from fragile materials, this means the replacement costs of LEDs are exceptionally low and infrequent.
Since LEDs exist as direct replacements for older, more inefficient bulbs such as halogen, incandescent or CFL bulbs, LEDs are designed in most caps, shapes and sizes in order to work in your existing fittings. That means you don’t need to change anything in your existing lighting system except the bulb to start making energy savings.
How much could I save with LEDs?
Since around 40% of the energy consumed in buildings is used for lighting, it’s extremely important that bulbs are energy efficient in order to minimise energy bills. LED bulbs use up to 90% less energy than an incandescent or halogen bulb and far less energy is wasted as heat, allowing you to light your home for less. Even though they use far less energy, LEDs do not compromise on brightness; due to the efficiency with which they convert electricity, LED bulbs can emit the same level of brightness as a standard bulb using far less wattage. For example, a standard 4W LED bulb would easily achieve the same brightness as a 50W halogen bulb. LEDs also last 25 times longer than a regular halogen bulb, drastically reducing replacement costs. The savings made by LED bulbs can mean a return on investment within five months.
If combined with a Home Automation system, the savings from LED bulb could be even greater. By only lighting your home when you really need to, you can minimise your lighting bill while improving the security and comfort of your home. Find out more about Home Automation in 'LEDs and Home Automation' (below) or check out our Home Automation Guide.
Lumens - The brightness of LEDs is measured in Lumens (Lm). The higher the number of Lumens, the brighter the bulb. Since LEDs are still relatively new and unfamiliar to customers, most LED bulbs will say their equivalent wattage so that customers can replace their old bulbs while keeping the same brightness in their home.
Heat sinks - Heat Sinks provide a path through which heat can escape the LED, reducing the depreciation of lumens and increasing the lifespan of the bulb. Usually made of aluminium, Heat Sinks can dissipate heat via conduction, convection and radiation. LEDs contain other features to help with ‘Heat Sinking’, such as metal fins and wings to increase surface area.
LED Colour Temperature - The ‘Correlated Colour Temperature’ (CCT) in lighting describes how the colour of the light emitted from a lamp appears to the human eye and it is measured in Kelvins (K). With standard, outdated halogen or incandescent bulbs, most people could not choose the ‘colour’ of their lamps. Now, a range of LED bulbs have been made with different CCTs, allowing you to choose the ‘warmth’ and ‘colour’ of the light in your home.
Kelvin scales are common to help customers get the right light colour for their rooms. Counter intuitively, the higher the number of Kelvins, the ‘cooler’ a light will look. 2700K is about the equivalent to the warm, yellow light emitted by a conventional lamp (most popular for homes) while 10,000K is what most people would associate with the light of a clear blue sky, which might be ideal for a more clean, modern look. There are no rules about which colour temperature you have in your home – it’s all personal preference. You can mix and match throughout the house to get a different feel for each room; you might want a warm, cosy 2700K bulb for your bedroom but a cool white, 5000K light in work areas like the office.
Correlated Colour Temperature Chart
LEDs and Home Automation
Since LEDs are the pinnacle of home lighting, they have been made with all possible uses in mind, including ‘Home Automation’. An ‘Automated’ Home is one filled with ‘smart’ technologies – such as ‘smart LEDs’ – that automatically adjust to your lifestyle or can be controlled remotely via mobile Apps.
Using innovative Geofencing and ‘IFTTT’ (‘If This Then That’) technology, your lighting systems can sync itself to your phone’s location and only become active when necessary. These systems also allow you to connect your lighting to whatever websites or apps you like, personalising your lighting to your every need. For example, you can have all your home lights turn off when you leave the house, or set your porch light to turn on five minutes before your calendar says a guest is due to arrive at the house at night. Once you’ve set these preferences using the App, you’ll never have to worry about your Home Automation again – a ‘smart’ lighting system will automatically adjust depending on your location, no matter what the change of plan. By learning your daily routine, an Automated system can even work out when you’re away, and can set your lights to follow your daily pattern in order to deter any potential thieves.
With a Home Automation App, you can see which lights in your home are on and control all of them from anywhere in the world. Being able to monitor your home lighting so closely not only improves your comfort while reducing hassle, but is also a great way to easily save money on energy bills. An Automated lighting system would only light rooms in use, and would automatically turn off lights when you leave the house, making them an ideal energy-saving investment.
Want to learn more about Home Automation? Check out our Home Automation Guide.
Ways to pay for LED lighting...
Though our LEDs save money and often have a quick return on investment, the upfront cost of installation can be daunting, especially if you are replacing the lighting of your whole house. However, it can be cost effective to replace all the bulbs in your house in one go, putting the cost on a credit card, because the savings are so good.
At Greenvision Energy, we also offer our unique ‘Pay As You Save’ scheme, where you put down a small deposit then pay for your replacement LED Lighting over 6, 9 or 12 months. This is a fantastic way to pay for your new LED lighting as the savings made each month on your energy bill will cover the cost of the LED lights. Why not have a look at our 'Pay As You Save' guide?
Frequently asked LED questions
- How bright are LED bulbs?
As with any lightbulb, LEDs vary in brightness from anywhere between 50 to 1200 Lumens. Look out for number of Lumens to tell you how bright the LED is. As well as their number of lumens and wattage, most LED lightbulbs will also state their equivalent wattage to outdated halogen bulbs.
- How efficient are LED bulbs compared with incandescent or halogen bulbs?
LED bulbs use 90% less energy than old fashioned bulbs, which are why old, inefficient lighting systems such as incandescent and halogen bulbs are currently being phased out under EU regulations.
- How long do LEDs last?
Due to the advanced thermal management of LEDs, such as their durable ‘heat sinks’, the lumen depreciation of LED is extremely slow. This means that LEDs have an exceptionally long life span compared to outdated incandescent and halogen bulbs, with some LEDs lasting up to 50,000 hours. LEDs are also not made from the traditional, fragile materials that lightbulbs used to be made of, such as glass tubes and filaments. This means that they break far less easily, significantly reducing replacement costs.
- Is it true that bulbs with more LEDs are brighter than blubs with less?
Though the number of LEDs in a bulb can affect its brightness, the most accurate indicator of a bulb’s brightness is its Lumen count. You can also look for ‘Lux’: how bright a light is on a surface at a specified distance.
- What is CCT and what does ‘cool white’ or ‘warm yellow’ mean?
CCT stands for Color Correlated Temperature. This is a scale that describes how the colour of the light emitted from a lamp appears to the human eye. Measured in Kelvins (K), bulbs with 2700K emit light about the equivalent to the warm, yellow light of a conventional lamp (most popular for homes) while 10,000K is what most people would associate with the light of a clear blue sky, which might be ideal for a more clean, modern look. Find out more about CCT and other colour descriptors in the ‘LED Jargon’ section of our guide above.
- Can LEDs be used as part of my Automated Lighting system?
Yes – some ‘smart’ LEDs have Automated technology built into the bulb, allowing you to control the bulb directly from your phone. Unfortunately, these bulbs can be expensive. If you don’t want to buy LEDs pre-set with Automated technology, products such as the MiHome Light Switch give you full control over all your existing home lighting without need to replace any lightbulbs.
- How long do LEDs take to ‘warm up’ before they emit full brightness?
It is a common misconception that LEDs take a long time to achieve full brightness after being turned on. Some of the first LEDs on the market did only emit a faint glow at first before reaching full brightness, but LED technology has advanced significantly since then and LED bulbs now emit full brightness instantaneously.
- Do LEDs produce heat like my old incandescent bulbs?
Outdated lighting systems like incandescent and halogen bulbs get hot because 95% of the electricity they use is wasted by being turned into heat. The electricity conversion system of LED bulbs is much more efficient, using 90% less energy and emitting far less heat. This means that the bulb does not get hot, making them much safer to handle. Some LEDs, such as the Integral LED Night Light, are specially designed to be extremely safe and are cool to the touch.
- Are LEDs dimmable?
Most LEDs are dimmable but check in the product specification before buying. To be able to dim an LED, you will either need to buy LEDs compatible with a traditional dimmer or replace your existing dimmer with a dimmer specifically designed for LEDs.
- Can I create mood lighting with LEDs?
Due to their versatility and range of colours, LEDs are one of the easiest ways to create mood lighting on the market. LED strip lights can be can be cut, curved and connected to any space in your home and the ability to dim LEDs mean that you can create any mood you wish. You can also choose LEDs for their ‘colour’ and ‘temperature’, helping your bedroom feel sung and warm or your office calm and bright. Find out more in the ‘LED Jargon’ section of this guide.
What are the most popular LED Lighting products?
The Integral GU 10 LED range uses 90% less energy than halogen bulbs while emitting far superior lighting. These A+ rated bulbs have an average life span of 25,000 hours and give full instant light with the ability to be dimmed. Though the Integral GU 10 range only use 5W, their equivalent wattage is 50W: more power for less energy. Due to their sleek design and energy saving potential, GU10s are extremely popular in kitchens and bathrooms.
Integral’s range of elegant LED candle-shaped bulbs are the perfect open decorative fitting for large living areas with chandeliers or wall lights. With a range of wattages to replace any inefficient halogen or incandescent bulb, the high quality Integral LED Candle bulbs can give any room a comfortable, warm brightness for 25,000 hours using 90% less energy than traditional bulbs.
Several models of the exceedingly high quality Integral range of LED GLS bulbs have been awarded Which? Best Buy Light Bulbs in 2015 and 2016. These classically shaped bulbs use the most advanced LED technology and multiple LEDs to emit a huge 1521 lumens – the brightness equivalent of a 100W bulb while only using 14W of power. Lasting for up to 25,000 hours, you can be sure that this high energy efficiency A+ bulb will be saving you up to 85% on your energy bill for years.
Costing less than 2p a week to run, the Integral LED Night Light uses its auto-sensor to automatically switch On at night and Off at dawn, emitting a soft, gentle light while being cool to the touch to ensure your home is comfortable with maximum safety. With a stylish, low-profile design, the exceedingly long 30,000 hour average life of the Integral LED Night Light means no light bulb changes and is particularly well suited to hallways, bedrooms and nurseries.
The simple installation that enables you to manage all your existing lighting from on the go. MiHome’s Light Switches can be controlled via the simple MiHome App or manually using the button on the Light Switch’s casing. Easily see which lights in your house are on, adjust their brightness and set timers through the easy-to-use App or let Geofencing technology automatically adjust your light based on your phone’s location. IFTTT enabled.
Benefits of LED Lighting
Reduce your lighting bill by up to 90%
Easy installation, no electrician required
5 year guarantee on all LED light fittings
Our LED lights last up to 10 years with no need for replacements
Often Home Automation enabled