Energy Efficiency: Lighting

Apr 1, 2022

Our customers can take several actions to improve their energy efficiency which can help to lower their bills. 

Since its invention more than 200 years ago, the lightbulb has undergone a radical transformation over the last few years to become longer lasting and much more energy efficient.

Traditional incandescent bulbs are not very efficient as less than 10% of electrical power supplied to the bulb is converted into visible light with the rest lost as heat1.

Lighting accounts for about 4% of a typical residential utility bill2 and turning off lights when they’re not in use is the simplest way to reduce energy consumption. However, when you do need to have lights on there are much more efficient bulbs than traditional incandescent bulbs which include CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) and LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes).

Residential LEDs, especially ENERGY STAR rated products, use between 75% and 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent lighting while CFLs use 70% less energy than traditional bulbs1. While they may be more expensive, LED bulbs offer more benefits including improved light quality from the moment they’re switched on and they come in a wide variety of sizes and fittings. A good quality LED bulb can last 3 to 5 times longer than a CFL and 30 times longer than an incandescent bulb1 so, despite being more expensive, may end up being more cost-effective over the long term, especially when it comes to energy savings.

In addition to turning off lights when they’re not in use, other ways to reduce energy consumption include only switching on lights you need, installing movement sensors and timers in appropriate rooms, investing in smart bulbs to be able to control them from your smartphone or tablet which is great for when you’re away from home or just don’t want to leave the sofa!

Homeowners and businesses can also install light dimmers which reduce the flow of electricity to the bulb, allowing the lights to operate with lower power inputs. Energy consumption can also be reduced by using daylight where possible and considering taking advantage of natural daylight when designing a new home or office.

In addition to energy savings there are also health benefits to using LED lighting3 including reducing headaches. As traditional fluorescent bulbs flicker a lot, this causes strain in the eye, and contributes to age-related degeneration. LED lighting flickers less and has much lower impact on those who suffer from migraines and headaches. 

LED lights also balance circadian rhythms, the roughly 24-hour cycle which affects biological processes like the sleep/wake cycle, hormone secretion and body temperature. Recent developments in LED lighting technology allows LEDs to mimic natural light and helps to regulate a healthy circadian rhythm. LEDs have also been shown to reduce Seasonal Defective Disorder (SAD) – a type of seasonal depression. Research has also shown LEDs can improve learning performance and productivity.

Finally, LEDs are better for health as they contain no harmful toxins. Traditional fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs contain various levels of mercury which has toxic effects and can cause serious health problems for our nervous and digestive systems, skin, lungs and eyes.

Whatever lighting options you choose, if an AMI metre is installed at a property, customers can log onto, create an account and monitor the changes in energy usage when you switch light bulbs and see savings on your monthly bill. By making small changes, such as changing bulbs to LED, customers can not only enjoy savings on their bills, but also can enjoy living more sustainably. Start today!

1US Department of Energy
2US Energy Information Administration
3US National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health

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