Starting Small with Energy Efficiency

Many households are facing a squeeeze on the budget from many different directions. Energy bills that seem to increase month on month are one important factor in the increased rate at which monthly finances drain away.

Skimming through the internet will reveal many pages crammed with energy saving tips like suggestions for insulating the home, investing in energy efficient boilers and many other ideas that involve laying out hard earned cash that is in short supply,

Sometimes in life it is much better to start small and work your way up. This wisdom can also be applied to energy efficiency measures. An excellent place to start that doesn't involve a huge capital outlay, is with the humble light bulb.

Every time you flip a light switch in your home, your electric bill goes up another notch. You can't do away with lights altogether, but you can lower your electric bill by replacing the older bulbs in your light fixtures with the energy-efficient variety. By choosing wisely, you can reduce your electric bill by up to 6%.

Traditional bulbs lose up to 90% of their energy to heat. That’s a lot of wasted energy, and it’s also a big waste of your money. Fortunately, breakthroughs in energy-efficient lighting have made it easier for homeowners to replace their older bulbs with a newer variety that are energy efficient. Three of the best types of energy-efficient bulbs are compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), light emitting diode (LED), and halogen incandescent light bulbs.

Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)

A CFL is just a smaller version of the fluorescent lights used in large stores. CFLs are curly-shaped and not at all nice to look at, but they work in the same efficient manner as their longer fluorescent cousins. With a 75% energy savings over traditional light bulbs, each CFL  you use to replace an inefficient bulb can save you about 2£ a year. Not only can you save money on your electric bill by using CFL light bulbs, they will last about 10 times as long as traditional ones. So, you will save on replacement expenses as well as reducing your utility costs.

One interesting fact to come out of UK energy research is that if every UK household installed just 3 Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs, enough energy would be saved in a year to supply all street lighting in the UK.

Light Emitting Diode (LED)

Although expensive to buy on the front end, a LED bulb will last up to 25 times as long as a normal one. A LED bulb uses 75% to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs, so you can make a significant dent in your energy bill by replacing bulbs in track lights and recessed lights with energy-efficient LEDs. Due to thr potential for a long life-span, LED is an excellent choice to use in hard to reach areas such as a foyer with a high ceiling. While LED bulbs are currently the costliest of those available, their prices continue to come down.

Halogen Incandescent Bulbs

These are an energy-saving version of a normal one. A halogen bulb is similar in appearance to the older kind, but the filament inside is surrounded by a capsule which holds gas. This increases its efficiency by as much as 25%, and a halogen fitting will last about 3 times as long as the older type. Some halogen bulbs can be used with dimmer switches, but please also be aware that there some that can’t, so you need to read the label to be sure.

By replacing just 15 older light bulbs with more energy-efficient ones, you can save up to £30 a year. Using energy-efficient light bulbs is good for your finances, and it’s also good for the environment, so you win both ways.

All three types can be found at most home improvement and hardware stores, and you can often save money by keeping a sharp eye out for sales and promotions. So, the next time one of your older bulbs stops working, do yourself a favor and replace it with the energy-efficient variety. You may be surprised at the savings you see in your electric bill and offest rising prices just by starting out in a small way like this. Further on down the road you can start to think about some other measures you can take to drive those energy costs down even further.

CFL for Energy Efficient Lighting

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