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Replacing traditional light bulbs in your home with energy saving light bulbs makes for a good long-term investment when considering your energy usage, energy performance rating and the environment. Epc4less, one of Belfast most established domestic energy assessors, explain why.

Why are energy saving light bulbs important?

As the name suggests, energy saving light bulbs use less energy than traditional ones. EPC assessors in Belfast, Northern Ireland, who survey houses for the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) have found that homes with low energy lights have a slightly better energy rating than homes using traditional light bulbs.

How energy saving light bulbs work

Although energy saving light bulbs may look similar to traditional ones, the two are fundamentally different in how they work.

  • Traditional light bulbs are incandescent lamps. This means that they work by an electric current running through a metal wire filament. The current heats the filament up, causing it to glow and give off light.
  • Energy saving light bulbs are typically compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs. CFLs don’t have a filament, instead they have a tube containing argon gas and a small amount of mercury vapour. When an electric current runs through the tube, these gases emit invisible ultraviolet light that excites the fluorescent coating of the tube and causes it to glow and give off light.

CFLs need a little more energy when they are first turned on, but as they don’t have a metal filament to heat up, they lose less heat energy as they run over time. This means they use around 70% less energy overall compared to traditional incandescent lamps. These bulbs make a difference in your EPC rating of your home.

Different types of energy saving light bulb

CFLs are not the only option when it comes to energy saving light bulbs. It is now possible to buy different forms, such as LEDs, which are often used in spotlight fittings.

The light bulbs used in this type of lighting before LEDs made the lighting system very power hungry. LEDs on the other hand need far less power to produce a lot of light. By replacing 10 of the old spotlight bulbs of 60 watts with 10 low energy bulbs of 9 watts, lighting the whole room takes 90 watts instead of 600 watts – a significant energy saving.

How much do energy saving light bulbs cost?

Fitting out your entire home with low energy light bulbs does of course require some initial investment. The actual cost of replacing all of the light bulbs in your home depends on how many rooms you have and the type of bulb you choose.

You can expect to pay between £1 and £2 for each energy saving bulb, while low energy spotlights are a little more expensive at £3 to £5 each. However, the long-term energy savings possible through switching to low energy bulbs make the investment worthwhile.

The environmental impact of energy saving lights

Interior and landscape energy saving lights don’t just have a positive impact on your energy bills. They also have a positive impact on the environment, particularly on carbon dioxide emissions.

Low energy bulbs use less power so they do not contribute as much to carbon dioxide emissions. It is estimated that each low energy light bulb used to replace a traditional light bulb will save around 2000 times its own weight in carbon dioxide emissions over the course of its life.Energy Performance Certificates allow for up to three extra points for houses that are fully fitted with low energy lights.

Technical issues to consider before fitting energy saving bulbs

CFLs are the most popular type of energy saving light bulb, but like traditional light bulbs, they contain a small amount of mercury. This has no effect on the bulb while it is in use, but means extra care must be taken when disposing of these bulbs to make sure they do not end up in landfill.

CFLs must be recycled so the mercury can be safely removed and each lamp reused. Recycling facilities for such bulbs are available in Belfast as well as numerous other locations across Northern Ireland. Check recycling options local to you with your council or online.

Impact of low energy light bulbs on an Energy Performance Certificate

As low energy light bulbs reduce energy usage and losses, they are sure to have a positive impact on the energy rating of your property. A property using low energy lights will have 1 to 3 additional points in their energy rating compared to a property of the same size, style and age that does not.

To get your property assessed for the Energy Performance Certificate or find out what an EPC survey involves search for EPC providers in Belfast.