Category Archives: Incandescent

The Incandescent Light Bulb Strikes Back…

An incandescent light bulb

Following the EU ban on traditional incandescent light bulbs, we all thought the future was based around LED lighting. But it seems that the clever people from MIT in America have given the incandescent light bulb a reprieve thanks to a technological breakthrough.

Incandescent lighting and its warm, familiar glow is well over a century old yet survives virtually unchanged in homes around the world. It is a simple design that everyone loves. But that has been changing fast, as regulations aimed at improving energy efficiency have been phasing out the old bulbs in favour of more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and newer light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs).

Incandescent bulbs, commercially developed by Thomas Edison, work by heating a thin tungsten wire to temperatures of around 2,700 degrees Celsius. That hot wire emits what is known as black body radiation, a very broad spectrum of light that provides a warm look and a faithful rendering of all colours to the human eye.

But these bulbs have always suffered from one major problem: More than 95 percent of the energy that goes into them is wasted, most of it as heat. That’s why country after country has banned or is phasing out the inefficient technology. Now, researchers at MIT and Purdue University have found a way to change all that.

Three MIT professors have made major breakthrough with what they call – light recycling. The key is to create a two-stage process, the researchers report.

The first stage involves a conventional heated metal filament, with all its attendant losses. But instead of allowing the waste heat to dissipate in the form of infrared radiation, secondary structures surrounding the filament capture this radiation and reflect it back to the filament to be re-absorbed and re-emitted as visible light. These structures, a form of photonic crystal, are made of Earth-abundant elements and can be made using conventional material-deposition technology.

That second step makes a dramatic difference in how efficiently the system converts electricity into light. One quantity that characterizes a lighting source is the so-called luminous efficiency, which takes into account the response of the human eye. Whereas the luminous efficiency of conventional incandescent lights is between 2 and 3 percent, that of fluorescents (including CFLs) is between 7 and 15 percent, and that of most compact LEDs between 5 and 15 percent, the new two-stage incandescent could reach efficiencies as high as 40 percent, the team says.

The first proof-of-concept units made by the team do not yet reach that level, achieving about 6.6 percent efficiency. But even that preliminary result matches the efficiency of some of today’s CFLs and LEDs, they point out. And it is already a threefold improvement over the efficiency of today’s incandescent light bulbs.

The team refers to their approach as “light recycling,” since their material takes in the unwanted, useless wavelengths of energy and converts them into the visible light wavelengths that are desired.  Put simply “It recycles the energy that would otherwise be wasted,”

Here at we think this is a brilliant step forward. The majority of people still love the light from incandescent bulbs and the ease with which it works with all dimmers. If incandescent light bulbs are suddenly as efficient as LED’s then we will be able to bring them back into the UK and Europe for our customers.


Why might you purchase coloured light bulbs?

Almost any store – like Easy Light Bulbs – that has some two million bulbs in stock at any one time will inevitably have many different categories of lamp to choose from. You really can turn to us for the most comprehensive range of light bulbs for the home and beyond, from general household lighting and infra red bulbs to halogen energy savers and marine navigation bulbs – so why would you want to invest in our coloured light bulbs?

Fluorescent Tubes               Halogen Reflectors               Pygmy Bulbs

These bulbs, which here at Easy Light Bulbs encompass fluorescent tubes, halogen reflectors, pygmy bulbs, round bulbs, reflector bulbs and standard bulbs, make sense in a variety of settings. You may screw some into your ordinary light fittings to enliven the scene of a party, or they may be used to simultaneously illuminate a room and project a certain ambience. Whatever feel you want a room to have, it can be achieved with our extensive selection of coloured light bulbs.

That is even more the case when you consider the many colours in which we offer such bulbs, ranging from red, yellow and blue to gold, orange and pink. But there are so many more specification options when you buy your coloured light bulbs from Easy Light Bulbs. Even just buying coloured fluorescent tubes from us, for example, allows you to select from four-pin units and those with two pins at either end, as well as from such manufacturers as Osram, Philips, Sylvania and Narva.

Reflector Bulbs               Round Bulbs              Standard Bulbs

Similarly, when you browse our online store for coloured halogen reflectors, you can opt for GU10 or two-pin units, represented brands in this category including Bell, Casell and Osram. You can also choose between a series of wattage counts, finishes, expected lifespans, physical lengths, diameters and beam angles. That amount of choice presents itself throughout our product range – our coloured round bulbs, for instance, are available in both bayonet 22mm diameter and screw-in 27mm diameter variants.

Whether you are picking up coloured light bulbs to help to create a romantic atmosphere in the bedroom, to light up exhibited items in a cabinet, as a backdrop for dancing the night away or for all manner of other potential uses, there really is no need to look to an online store other than Easy Light Bulbs. We take pride in our reputation as the complete – not to mention most competitively-priced – supplier.


What are the UK’s electricity using habits?

The Energy Saving Trust’s report Powering The Nation is an unprecedented in-depth look at the UK’s electricity consumption and provides some of the richest information on lighting usage to date. Domestic energy use in the UK is currently responsible for a quarter of the nation’s CO2 carbon emissions and such reports are vital if we are to achieve the Government’s target of a 34% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

As part of the study The Energy Saving Trust surveyed 251 owner occupied households in the UK from 2010 to 2011. Twenty-six homes were monitored for a year and the other 225 for one month each on a rolling basis. The study was mindful to use a representative demographic and households spread nationwide.

The study observed households on a room by room basis in order to produce a targeted breakdown of electrical consumption. The table below splits households into six sectors taking into consideration both room use and product function. The living room tops the table with an average running cost of £70-£300, primarily for entertainment purposes. The kitchen was not far behind with a high running cost at an average of £150-£185. Although lighting electrical usage clocked in with one of the lowest top ended ranges of £84, it has one of the highest bottom end ranges at £60. This shows, as expected, that everyone relies on lighting in the home and unlike entertainment costs of the living room, lighting is an essential expense rather than a lifestyle choice.

Room/Product Function Running Cost (Typical Range £)
Kitchen Cooking 150 – 185
Utility Washing and Cleaning 32 – 130
Living Room Entertainment 70 – 300
Home Office/Study Computing/Telephoning 25 – 60
Lighting Light 60 – 84
Miscellaneous General 10 – 100
Total - 347 – 859

A breakdown of room/product running costs in the home.

Household Lighting 

Lighting is a significant contributor to energy consumption in the home with an estimated 17% slice of the household electricity pie. Although the uptake of new energy saving technologies has seen a reduction in electricity use in recent years, the report highlights the vast untapped energy saving potential of UK domestic lighting. This is put into sharp focus when remembering that in 2010 the UK consumed 13% more electricity than the European average and 36% more than Germany.

Firstly, consider the type of light bulbs found in the 251 homes surveyed.

Lamp Type Average number of light sources per type of lamp technology Light sources by share of installed wattage
Incandescent 12.9 lamps 49.8%
Compact Fluorescent (CFL) 7.9 lamps 6.7%
Low Voltage Halogen 5.4 lamps 11.2%
Halogen 5.1 lamps 27.2%
Fluorescent 2.0 lamps 5%
LED 0.2 lamps 0.1%

Information based on an average of 33.6 lamps per household.

Incandescent light bulbs account for 40% of bulbs found but consume nearly half of the electricity used; and are thus the most inefficient form of lighting in the survey. Whereas CFLs make up 20% of the bulbs but only contribute 6.7% of energy use; making them a fantastic low energy solution. Low voltage halogens and fluorescents also rate well in terms of efficiency but traditional halogens were found to be a high consumption option with a household average of 5.1 lamps using 27.2% of electricity.

Surprisingly 0.2/33.6 of light bulbs per household were LED. The explanation for this probably lies in the fact the survey took place from 2010/11 and since then improvement in reliability and falling cost has dramatically augmented LED sales. In addition, the findings are only from a relatively small sample size and anomalies diverging from the national trend, though unlikely, could occur.

From this information we can infer that in 2010/11 LEDs had failed to permeate the lighting market at a domestic level. Arguments such as high cost, limited recycling, poor colour rendering, restricted retro-fit ability and lack of consumer awareness are all valid reasons as to why this was the case. However, almost certainly if the study was to be carried out again today the LED sector would see the greatest change, particularly since the EU phase out of inefficient light bulbs has forced consumers to switch to low energy options.

2014-07-29 11_34_12-Powering+the+nation+report+CO332.pdf

Chart displaying electrical room lighting use in the home

Choosing the correct bulb type for a specific purpose is essential when trying to reduce lighting costs. Consider the chart above which shows the average wattage consumption per household room.

The report shows that as expected the greatest energy consumption comes from lamps in the kitchen and lounge with peak time occurring between 9pm and 11pm in the evening at a range of 130 to 200 Watts per household. The lowest wattage consumption rooms turned out to be office, store and circulation space where lights were switched off for long periods of time. Lighting continued to be used throughout the night in the majority of homes, but limitations with the study meant specific light sources were not recorded. The average electrical consumption for lighting over the year clocked in at 537kWh, the equivalent of £77 per household from a range of £60-£84. Compare this to an average estimated usage of 52kWh or £6 per year for a door bell or 166kWh or £24 for a desktop computer.

Although the report does not specify which bulbs were used in each room, clearly different bulbs have their own purpose. For example, although LEDs are generally the lowest wattage bulb type on the market, installing them in a store room which uses 40w per year on average or in a fridge light would not represent value for money. In fact, given the cost of the bulb, it would take years and years to recoup any energy saving benefits if at all. Whereas LED spot bulbs in a kitchen which consumes 249w per year are likely to yield a return through reduced electrical consumption in only a matter of months or a few years.

Although there is not a huge variation in lighting use across different household types, the use of lighting in single person households comes out slightly more than in multi-person households. There was a 33% increase in lighting spend between a single person pensioner home and a multi-person pensioner home. There was also a £5 per year increase spend between a single adult and a multi-person household with no children. Perhaps surprisingly a household with children came out with one of the lower lighting costs at 477 kWh or £69 per year.

What does this all mean for the future of lighting?

Unit cost and energy consumption are key considerations when looking to purchase an energy saving light bulb. Many people clearly still favour the traditional incandescent technology but market share of low priced energy saving alternatives is growing. The LED market is in a state of constant evolution but recent trends indicate a turn towards low energy technologies. LED is the future of lighting in those parts of the home that use lights all the time e.g. the kitchen, but until we get there there are plenty of energy saving products on the market such as CFL and halogen energy savers that can reduce energy consumption by 30-40% without compromising light output. The fact that such reports like Powering The Nation are published reflects an increased awareness of carbon issues and sustainability that can only be beneficial going forward.

As a result the National Grid estimates that electrical demand for lighting could fall by a half by 2020 from 12.5 terawatt hours down to 6 terawatt hours, even if the number of bulbs in use rises.

To view our full range of low energy light bulbs, please click here.

Other key conclusions from the report:

  • Households spend an average of £50-£86 per year on standby appliances which equates to 9-16% of domestic power.
  • Our TV watching habit is worse than feared! Instead of the assumed five hours of TV viewing per household per day this figure is likely to be nearer to six and thus an extra 10bn hours nationwide.
  • Use of appliances in single person households for lighting, cooking and washing is on average equal or higher than that of multi person households. The number of single person households increased from 7m in 2000 to 7.5m in 2010 a trend which if continued could augment energy consumption figures nationwide.
  • We run an average of 5.5 clothes washes per week, and those with tumble dryers use them to dry clothes 80% of the time.
  • ‘Two can live as cheaply as one’ when it comes to lighting electrical consumption.

The report claims that 76% of the nation ‘think about saving energy in the home’, but with increased awareness of electrical use that figure is certainly on the rise!

Our free online energy saving calculator is a great way to review your home lighting use, alternatively please call us on 01462 490066 or email we will be happy to provide energy saving advice.

Our lighting recommendations for the home are as follows:

Kitchen – LED GU10

Hall – CFL

Landing – CFL

Living Room – LED and Decorative Halogen

Bathroom – Halogen Energy Saver

Garage – Halogen Energy Saver

Utility – Halogen Energy Saver

Dining Room/Drawing Room – Decorative Halogen Energy Saver


Statistical information sourced from:

United Arab Emirates ban on inefficient light bulbs to take effect

Light Bulb BanFrom 1 July 2014 inefficient light bulbs will be banned from sale in the United Arab Emirates. The move is designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 940,000 tonnes, the equivalent of removing 165,000 cars from the road, and reduce energy costs by £106.8m annually.

As part of the UAE’s Indoor Lighting Standard focusing on efficiency, environmental and safety issues, the ban will target high consumption incandescent light bulbs. Imports will be further affected – all lamps will be subject to strict mercury control levels, any bulb whether it be halogen, fluorescent or LED found to exceed the mercury threshold will not be allowed to enter the country.

At present low-standard light bulbs make up 78 per cent of lamps in use in the UAE and citizens will be free to continue to use these while they last.

Luceco LEDs Vs traditional equivalents

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Our lighting video compares a Luceco LED 9w dimmable bulb with a 60w old fashioned bulb as well as a Luceco 5w dimmable GU10 bulb with a 50w GU10.

As a fully independent supplier with over twenty three years experience in the lighting industry, we pride ourselves on offering free and impartial advice. For all enquiries and sales, please call 01462 490066 or email and we will be happy to assist.