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Are Eco-Friendly Lightbulbs Better Than Conventional Bulbs?

 In Blog, Blogs

The cost of Britain’s prison system to the taxpayer was £5.63 billion last year- a sum which many of us don’t have much understanding or experience with. Interestingly, HMP Garth in Lancashire has been at the forefront of an innovative new programme since 2021 which is forecast to cut over £2.5 million of taxpayer’s money. How has this prison saved so much in public spending? By having inmates assemble eco-friendly light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to install across the UK’s prisons, reducing the amount of electricity used by a staggering 62%. What a bright idea!

While inmates at HMP Garth have been at the forefront of the programme, having replaced approximately 13,000 lights so far, there are plans to roll out this green initiative across 140 prisons in England and Wales. Current savings reach around £645,000 per annum with scope to slash energy bills further by replacing 50,000 more fluorescent lights in prisoners’ cells.

As well as the obvious benefit to the national purse, prison officials report that the initiative has provided inmates with new skills, improving their employment prospects upon release and lessening the likelihood of reoffending. As we move towards a net-zero future, programmes such as this have both social and environmental impact, providing an opportunity to combine skills development with environmental awareness. While the prison service is lighting the way with LEDs, many of us could save on energy consumption simply by making the switch to energy-efficient bulbs.

What is an Eco-Friendly Lightbulb?

Eco-friendly, ‘energy efficient’ lightbulbs are up to 80% more energy-efficient than conventional lighting, using significantly less electricity to achieve the same results. Not only is this good news for the environment, but it also means that installing eco-friendly light bulbs in your home or business premises might save you a lot of money in the long term by lowering your energy bills.

Additionally, LED eco-friendly lightbulbs have a far longer lifespan, outlasting conventional alternatives by around 50 times, halogen bulbs by about 20–25 times, and compact fluorescent lamps by about 8–10 times. As a result, when you switch to LED eco lighting, you won’t need to replace bulbs as often, leading to a reduction in the amount of waste generated overall.

What are the eco-friendly lightbulb options available?

There are a number of options to choose from: halogen incandescent, LED and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) are the three most common forms of energy-efficient light bulbs. Of these, The Greenage report that halogen incandescent lights consume less energy yet pale in comparison to the more environmentally friendly options such as LED and CFL. To put that into perspective, it takes 42W for halogen incandescent light bulbs, 15W for CFLs, and 12W for LEDs to provide the same amount of brightness as a 60W incandescent light bulb. Halogen incandescent lights have a similar lifespan as ordinary incandescent lights whereas CFLs can last up to ten years and LEDs can stay in service for an impressive twenty-five-year span.

More about LEDs

Generally, the less energy needed to provide light, the more light-effective. LED lighting is one of the most energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly types of lighting today. In comparison, fluorescent lights convert roughly 95% of the energy they produce into heat and just 5% into light; LED lights, on the other hand, convert around 95% of their energy into light and only 5% into heat. As a result, LEDs use less power than conventional lighting, which means they have a positive impact on the environment as a whole.

With LEDs using far less energy than other types of lighting, LEDs provide a great choice for businesses looking to improve their environmental status. With that, there are two key properties to consider when opting for LEDs, namely Source and Luminaire efficacy. Source efficacy refers to the efficiency with which an LED provides the intended outcome (the LED device’s efficiency), while Luminaire efficacy refers to the device and fixture’s ability to supply the desired lighting. Lighting fixture design is an important factor in determining how much electricity LED lighting consumes.

In the early days, eco-friendly options such as LEDs received criticism for the high price tags; however, traditional lighting is incredibly inefficient and expensive to run in the long term when compared to newer, more energy-efficient alternatives. While the initial cost of refitting your home or business with LED bulbs may not feel like a priority, small but affordable changes such as these, help to cut overall costs, reduce waste and help in our goal towards net zero. Switch today and save tomorrow.

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