A recent study undertaken by online comparison website, Comparethemarket.com, found households could save £240 a year on energy costs, simply by switching from incandescent to LED light bulbs. Below we seek to breakdown the details of this statement and the gauge veracity of the claim.
The findings were based on a medium sized house with 10 light fittings, each containing a 60w incandescent bulb, on the assumption the lights were on for 10 hours a day. The results were as followed:
10 x 60w incandescent bulbs on for 10 hours a day
Total power consumption: 0.6kWh
Cost of electricity per kWh: 12.2p
Hourly cost of 60w bulbs: 7.3p
Daily cost of 60w bulbs: 73p
Weekly cost of 60w bulbs: £5.11
Monthly cost of 60w bulbs: £21.90
Yearly cost of 60w bulbs: £266.45
10 x 6w LED bulbs on for 10 hours a day
Total power consumption: 0.06kWh
Cost of electricity per kWh: 12.2p
Hourly cost of 60w bulbs: 0.73p
Daily cost of 60w bulbs: 7.3p
Weekly cost of 60w bulbs: 51p
Monthly cost of 60w bulbs: £2.19
Yearly cost of 60w bulbs: £26.65
Potential savings of switching from 60w incandescents to 6w LEDs
The study found the 6w LED bulbs could be purchased online for £8.99, making a total cost of £89.90 to replace all the household lighting. Factoring this into the statistics above, it would take only five months to recoup the cost of the bulbs and a yearly net saving of £149.90 could still be achieved.
Comparethemarket rightly pointed out, that under new EU legislation bulbs will soon be required to have a minimum lifespan of 6,000 hours, which at 10 hours a day would mean a lifetime of at least 18 months for the 6w bulbs, thus a long term payback. Other advantages of LED highlighted include: variety of shape, size, colour, instant on capability and retrofit ability in a range of fittings such as bayonet and screw caps.
Comparethemarket then examined the potential savings should the same household switch to low energy compact fluorescent lighting, with the following results:
10 x 12w low energy CFL bulbs on for 10 hours a day
Yearly savings without cost of bulbs: £213
Yearly savings with cost of bulbs (£45): £168
Comparethemarket’s James Padmore said: “Most people are aware that by making your home more energy efficient, great savings can be achieved. But people might not know just how easy being more efficient can be – by simply changing your light bulbs. Such small changes to the home can have a positive impact on people’s finances; a first-year saving of £149 would pay for a year’s TV licence, for example.”
On the surface, Comparethemarket’s statistics are incredibly convincing, after all, who wouldn’t want to save £240 a year on their electricity bill. However, Lamp Company MD, Ian Fursland, urges customers to be realistic when it comes to energy saving potential.
“The average light bulb is on for 3 hours a day in the home not 10. This calculation is purely to wet the appetite of would be purchasers encouraging them to swap!”
When one blogger commented “Changing my incandescent bulbs to LED in my new home reduced my electric bill so much they sent an engineer round to ensure I was not stealing energy from the grid!” Ian Fursland commented :-
“There is no way swapping LEDs for incandescent bulbs will reduce your electric bill that much! Clearly the previous home owners liked to live in saunas, cooked 10 meals a day and bathed incessantly. Our lifestyles are different; on average domestic light bulbs are on for an average of 3 hours a day and lighting, at most, accounts for 15% of the household energy bill. The 10 hour claim is hyperbole; a good way to try to drive up sales though.”
In addition to this, a 6w LED is not equal to a 60w incandescent. A 10-12w LED, depending on manufacturer, is most likely to be equivalent. “Then there is life. Some LEDs can last up to 15,000 hours, others up to 30,000 hours. You really do get what you pay for!”
Ultimately, switching to efficient light bulbs is an easy way to reduce electricity bills, but be realistic about your usage and take advantage of free energy saving calculators to work out the most suitable bulbs for your applications and requirements. LEDs may make the headlines, but halogens and compact fluorescents can be great energy saving options, especially in the home.
For free and impartial energy savings lighting advice, please contact our experienced sales team on 01462 490066 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.