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Let there be lightglobes

An article in Saturday’s Age mentioned a UN International Energy Agency study that said if every old light globe was replaced by an energy-efficient one, it would save 16,000 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in the next 25 years — the equivalent to taking every car in the world off the road for six years.

I’d started replacing my lightglobes with the energy-efficient variety anyway, starting with those around the house that are routinely left on for long periods of time. But a factoid like this will help spur me on. Environmentally, and even from the point of view of having less-frequently to fiddle around changing globes, it makes perfect sense to switch.

Economically? Well in New South Wales they give them away. I’m not so lucky to get them for free, but it does seem that given the lower wattage and longer life, despite the higher price, it’ll end up being cheaper in the long run. (Origin Energy claims up to $55 over the life of the globe.)

So as the remaining conventional globes around the house expire, I’ll replace them with the efficient ones. The only exceptions might be lights such as those in the toilet which are turned on for short periods of time only (and would be problematic given the warm-up time some of the new globes require). There’s also a couple of the old light shades/fittings that may not fit them.

Oh, and the kitchen down lights. I’m not clear on whether there is an energy-efficient version of them available at present, and I assume they will rarely, if ever, need changing — at least I hope so, as I’ve no idea how it’s done.

PS. Tuesday night: There’s a wealth of information about energy efficient lighting from the esteemed commenters.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

11 replies on “Let there be lightglobes”

As soon as I moved in a few months ago I set about replacing the old bulbs. Over four rooms, wattage went from 650W to 98W. Same light levels. Sweet.

Oh, and don’t forget to turn off everything that’s on “standby”.

Halogen lights, twist, pull down and unplug. They don’t last forever. No energy saving alternative that I know of but I understand that they use much less power than an incandescent bulb. 25w might do just as well as 40(50)w though. After being in a house at the weekend with energy efficient lights, the lighting was harsh, very slow to start up and did not light up the area well, either in a flattering way or a practical way. Qhite happy to be corrected, but lighting as a percentage of your electric energy use is very small. Flerdle makes a very valid point though about ‘standby’. I did the sums on it a few years ago, so turn your tv off with the the off button on the tv, not the remote control.

When I built my new home the first thing I did was replace EVERY single light the builder installed with an energy saver bulb – there’s not a single regular bulb anywhere.

Furthermore I spent months upon months upon months looking for nice “hanging” kitchen lights for my open-plan kitchen… it took a long time because I was determined to find something I could put energy saver bulbs into, NOT halogens.

Halogens are the worst thing since sliced bread. Unfortunately not only are they the latest craze, but people think they use less power – wrong, you might use lower wattage but their focussed limited beam means you need sh#tloads of them to light up the same area. Furthermore, people fall for the “12V energy saving” halogens… sorry to say even my electrician buddy, who also thought they were the way to go, finally hooked up his 12V halogens to some kind of current logger and discovered they are far from energy saving…

So no halogens and no regular bulbs for me… energy savers all the way!

Being a yank (but Canuck at heart) I have no idea what “kitchen down lights” are. Could you describe them or post a picture? From the discussion, I’m guessing they may be halogen, but I’d still appreciate a pic.

There are 240V halogen systems and the globes are about the same size as the 12V version. But what I have found is some engery saving compact fluro versions of these 240V systems. They have a softer light, not that hard helogen light, and they slowly turn on, one tube at time, they have about 6 tubes in them. These systems are easy to install as you don’t have to install the transformer ( which by the way wastes power its self, they get warm ).

Halogen bulbs aren’t that much more efficient than incandescents, but with perhaps 2x the life expectancy. They have big heat problems. (and the rest of what Chris said!). Sbout the only use I can see for them is in a jeweller’s shop where you want things to sparkle more.

The rule-of-thumb light output equivalent is
100W incandescent = 60W halogen = 22W compact fluorescent (depending on manufacturer, can be 20-25W).

Main thing to remember is that most compact fluorescents you can’t use with dimmers.

It worries me that an electrician needed to use a current meter to prove to himself that a 12V 50W halogen light used as much power as a 240V 50W light of any type.

>> It worries me that an electrician needed to use a current meter to prove to himself that a 12V 50W halogen light used as much power as a 240V 50W light of any type.

Technically 50W at 12V is not the same as 50W at 240V, should drain less power, however throwing a transformer to downconvert down to the 12V brings your current usage back up again… still a saving, but given you need numerous halogens to light up the equivalent area you’re decrease to say 40W is hardly a saving when you need say 4 or 5 of them (so let’s round down to 150W) to match what you got with a regular 50W… doesn’t add up (especially those figuers since I simply made them up!)

Compact flourscent bulbs use much less power and seem to last much longer than regular bulbs. I have about 16 in use in my place and over 5 years I have only had to replace one burned out bulb. Their warm up time has not been a problem. They also produce much less heat. This is important here in hot and humid Miami Florida because most people air condition their homes from April to November. Is electricity expensive in Australia? Florida Power and Light charges me about 7 to 8 U.S. cents per kilowatt hour.

Jed – if you adjust for currency conversion our electricity is about the same (12c/kwh or so). Off peak power (used mainly for hot water) is a bit cheaper – about 7c.

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