Previously, eco light bulbs have had a bad reputation: taking ages to heat up and even then only providing a drab, flickering light. Well, a lot of progress has been made in eco lighting in recent years, and the latest generation of eco light bulbs can help dramatically reduce how much energy your eco home consumes – and reduce your energy bills at the same time.
It’s estimated that £1.9 billion is spent every year in the UK lighting people’s homes, with it accounting for 10-15% of our energy bills. With this in mind, it’s unsurprising that the government banned the sale of 150 watt incandescent bulbs earlier this year. The aim is to phase out incandescent bulbs (which still use the same technology Thomas Edison invented nearly 130 year old) altogether by 2011. In fact, they’re banned already in Ireland.
The availability of low energy bulbs means eco lighting is a great way in which everyone can help reduce carbon emissions, whether or not you live in an eco house.
Why everyone should invest in eco lighting
Normal light bulbs last 1000 hours and on average use 60 watts of electricity. Energy saving CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs, on the other hand, use only 9 watts and can last 10,000 hours.
When you consider that the average house has 15 bulbs, investing in energy saving eco lighting can offer enormous savings on your energy bills. Homes also emit 30% of the UK’s carbon emissions, so adopting eco lighting makes smart money and environmental sense.
As well as CFL bulbs, LED (light emitting diode) lighting is now available that’s even more efficient. LED lights can last 100,000 hrs and use only 2 watts (they can even be set to change colour). LED lights use 75% less energy, 80% less heat and are 100% recyclable because they don’t contain mercury or lead.
CFL bulbs and LEDs might be more expensive initially than conventional incandescent bulbs. But when you consider the cost savings over their lifetime (one estimate is that CFL bulbs can save you £90) and the fact that you’re dramatically reducing your carbon footprint, eco lighting is a great way everyone can help to look after the planet.
Eco light shades and Sun Jars
To cover your eco light bulbs you could use recycled light shades. These are available in a wide range of funky designs and materials. This includes polypropylene (the most recyclable plastic) and recycled cardboard. Light stands are also available made from environmentally friendly wood that’s cut from sustainably managed forests.
Another type of eco lighting you might like to use in your eco home are sun jars. These were voted the Eco Gift of the Year in 2007, and are a great way of providing night lights in your garden or in your bedrooms.
They don’t require plugging into a wall because they generate all of their own electricity. Simply leave them outside during the day and the solar cell inside will recharge its battery.
The jars also have diffused frosted glass which gives the impression of there being captured sunlight inside, making them an attractive way of eco lighting your eco home.