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Choice

Saving Money On Lighting

Since our ban on incandescent bulbs, Australians have been saving hundreds of millions of dollars on their lighting costs. But there are still many other ways to save money on your lighting.

CHOICE Tips for saving money on lighting

CHOICE has been testing compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) for about a decade, well before they became mandatory in November 2009 as part of the government’s drive to reduce Australia’s energy consumption.

  • Early CFLs used to cost up to $20 or more and were slow to warm up to full brightness. Now, cheaper to buy – typically about $5-$10 per bulb – and run, they are also faster to warm up and have fewer failures.

Information Source: CHOICE
Get energy saving Christmas lights!

Thanks to advances in LED technology, it is now very easy to buy modern energy saving LED lights for your Christmas tree.

  • These won't just look great, they'll save you money on your electricity bill as well.
  • Thanks to the advances in solar and LED lighting technology, it's now also easier to buy solar powered Christmas lights to help green your Christmas.
  • These solar powered lights also make a creative and interesting way to light up other areas of your home and are especially great on verandahs, patios, and as a stylish touch to bedrooms.
  • This will save you money by reducing your energy bills, and will also provide you with a Christmas alternative that can be used all year round!

Information Source: Do Something & Sustainability Victoria
How to save money by 'task' lighting

Task lighting is far more efficient than lighting a whole area:

  • A lamp is better for reading than several overhead lights, for example.
  • Task lights can be combined with dimmable space lighting (yes, you can even get dimmable CFLs now), allowing you to minimise lighting costs while meeting all needs.
  • Use light and translucent lampshades to maximise illumination; some fittings can waste half the energy used by blocking the light.
  • Keeping fixtures clean and free of dust also helps to maximise  lighting effectiveness.

Information Source: Beacon Lighting and Do Something!
How to work with nature to save money on lighting

Here's our top tips to make the most of natural light:

  • Keep windows clean and clear of shading.
  • Choose lighter colours for your walls, ceilings and bench tops to better reflect light.
  • Before you turn the light on, open the curtains or blinds!
  • Mirrors are a great way to take advantage of natural light. Place a large mirror opposite your window to increase the light reflected into the space.
  • Consider the cost benefit of installing small skylights if there are areas in your home that always need artificial lighting during the day.

Information Source: Beacon Lighting and Do Something!
Saving on lighting costs - the basics

When it comes to lighting, we often forget some of the basics and as a result, we pay more for our lighting bills. Here are the real basics on saving money with lighting:

  • Natural light is free and is the most energy efficient lighting source – so leave curtains open during the day to encourage natural light
  • Turn lights off when you don’t need them. This is really obvious but a lot of us still don't do it! You should switch off lights when you leave the room, even if it's only for for a few minutes.
  • Replace standard incandescent globes with energy-saving compact fluorescent globes (CFLs), particularly in high-use areas, and make sure you use the lowest wattage light needed. Incandescent globes have been phased out, but many old globes that are still in use in buildings and homes around the country. If you have any of the old globes, then don't wait for them to fail - replace them straight away.
  • Use programmable timers, daylight sensors or movement sensors to control outdoor and security lighting.
  • For outdoor garden lighting, try solar-powered lights.

Information Source: Do Something and Sustainability
Using skylights to save on energy costs in your home

During the daytime skylights or solar tubes give you the ability to light up rooms without using electricity.

  • In addition to giving you natural light in dark areas such as bathrooms and hallways, they use the light of the sun to reduce your home's energy cost and your impact on the environment.
  • Best of all, they're highly effective, providing you with lighting that's energy-free and that saves your wallet and the environment.

Information Source: Beacon Lighting and Do Something!
What types of lights should I choose to save money and energy?
  • Many people think that downlights are energy efficient, but that's not the case. They're not a very efficient way to light a room and when you include the energy used by the transformer, a 50w halogen downlight can use more energy than a traditional 60w incandescent bulb.
  • You can save money by ditching halogen downlights for their CFL and LED downlight equivalents. CFL and LED downlights use a lot less energy and they also last a lot longer. LED downlights cost more upfront, but the cost of this new generation lighting is coming down all the time.
  • If you're switching to LEDs, get a trusted brand and ensure that it gives out 40 lumens per watt. Your local Beacon Lighting store can give you all the advice that you need.
  • If you can't afford to switch over to CFL or LED downlights, you can save money by switching to a lower wattage bulb. A 35W or 20W bulb can often be used to replace a 50W bulb.
  • Choose fluorescent lighting. The exceptions are places where lights are on for only very short periods, such as separate toilets or stairs, where instant lighting is needed. You could use 20 W halogens or LEDs here.
  • Use multiple and two-way light switches. Use separate switches for different lights or small groups of lights, perhaps no more than three, instead of one switch for all the lights in a room. If a room has two entrances, use two-way switching so it's easy to turn lights off when leaving the room.
  • Use motion sensors on outdoor lights. Set the 'on' time as short as is practical.
  • Use 'task' lights. Use efficient table or floor lamps for specific tasks such as reading or working at your desk, instead of lighting the whole room to a high level.

Information Source: Beacon Lighting and Do Something!
Why you should replace working incandescent bulbs

Although they've now been banned for some time, many houses still have incandescent globes in them. There are some good reasons why you should take them out now, even if they're still working.

  • Failure to replace old incandescent globes with energy savers results in people using 80% more electricity than they need to power a light.
  • The running costs for CFL bulbs is far lower than the old incandescent globes - they last 8-10 times longer and use only a fifth of the energy.
  • While the upfront cost of purchasing CFL bulbs is greater than the old incandescent globes, using an energy saving globe will save you up to $30 per bulb.

Information Source: Beacon Lighting and Do Something!