The easiest way to save £100 on your electricity bill

save with energy efficient lightingRising energy prices combined with the increased usage is something we can’t avoid but it’s not all doom and gloom, there are still ways we can save.

Did you know that lighting accounts for nearly 20% of a typical household’s electricity bill?

This means one of the easiest upgrades we can all do to our homes is to replace our old light bulbs with more energy efficient versions. For an average house with 30 lightbulbs this can save £100 a year on your electricity bill.

Yes, but are energy saving bulbs really any good?

We can’t deny that the technology has needed to improve to stack up against the less efficient incandescent versions we’ve all been used to, but improve it has! Gone are the slow warm up times and cold white colour and here are fast start bulbs in a range of colour temperatures including more homely warm whites.

According to the energy saving trust, “Replacing a traditional light bulb with a compact fluorescent of the same brightness will save you about £3 per year, or £50 over the lifetime of the bulb “. Which brings us on to the other main advantage of more energy efficient bulbs. They last longer.

No, really they do! Again, the technology has improved and become very reliable making most energy saving bulbs last between 10 to 25 times longer than a traditional bulb. This means upgrading your light bulbs will give you savings for years longer than you may expect.  

OK, so how much will buying new energy saving bulbs cost?

There are two types of energy saving bulbs that you should look at:

Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL)
CFLs can be used as direct replacements for most traditional types of light bulb. They are available with both screw or push and twist fittings so act as a simple swap. CFL bulbs are available in a variety of shapes and sizes making them suitable for floor lamps, table lamps or decorative fixtures. Often they are preferred in fittings where the bulb itself is not directly visible as they are not as pleasing on the eye. Compact fluorescents won’t break the bank, a standard stick shape bulb (see images below) will cost £3 and last around 8 to 10 years.

LED bulbs
Again, LED bulbs have been made as direct replacements for your old household lights, designed in a variety of common shapes and for push and twist or screw fittings. They are also commonly used in spotlights and downlights available with 2 pin or push and twist fittings depending on your fixture. LEDs are the most energy efficient bulbs, meaning they can make the biggest impact in reducing your electricity bill. A good priced LED bulb will cost £4-5 and last 15 to 20 years!

The results

Making the switch to energy saving bulbs has never been more cost effective. The overall price of LED bulbs has decreased so much so that you’ll usually cover the cost with the first year's savings from your energy bill. Then thanks to their long life you’ll have many years after of lower bills and money in your pocket. See our top pick LEDs for around the home.

Final tips before you buy:

Shape – Especially with CFL, consider what shape of bulb you need so that it is suitable for the fitting it is going in. Supermarkets and other high street shops tend to stock only stick shapes but CFL’s are available in compact spirals, small and large globes and candle shapes. You don’t want your bulb to be hanging out the bottom of your light shade!
LED’s are available in all household shapes but are more commonly used in spotlights.  

different bulb shapes

Colour – the colour temperature of the light is important as it helps set the mood of the room. In a kitchen or office you may need a bright clear white to work in so go for a cool white colour however in a living room or bedroom you’ll likely want a homely glow so go for a warm white colour.

Wattage – The wattage of a light bulb is a measure of the amount of energy it uses. With traditional lights this correlated to how bright the light bulb appeared but as energy savers use less watts while giving off the same amount of light. To make sure you get the correct wattage of energy saver, look for the number of lumens the light gives off. A traditional 40W bulb gives off about 400 lumens.

Manufacturer – We recommend sticking with branded light bulbs, especially when purchasing LED bulbs. The internet is an open market place where price is very important and this has meant that poorly manufactured cheap versions of light bulbs have become readily available to all. We’ve heard many stories of light bulbs failing well outside there expected life so with that in mind we recommend buying light bulbs made by reputable manufacturers such as Philips, Osram, General Electric, Sylvania, Megaman… (There are many others but these are some of the biggest and well known).