Energy-saving light bulbs: A very bright idea

There’s a new trend in eco lighting these days – energy saving light bulbs, combined with a dimmer switch. Using both give you the opportunity to control just how much energy you use with your lighting, while offering you the added benefit of providing a relaxed and atmospheric ambience in your living room!

Why bother with energy saving bulbs?

Unless you’ve had your head in a bucket for the past year or so, you can’t have escaped the hype surrounding energy-saving bulbs. They are economical, functional, and can reduce the amount of electricity used in the home dramatically. The only down side to these fabulous little inventions are…well, there isn’t one. If you’re not already cutting costs and doing your bit for the environment, perhaps it’s time to get that genius light bulb moment and invest in a handful of new bulbs.

All households are now expected to make the jump to energy-saving light bulbs. Although this type of bulb is more expensive, they last fifteen times longer than their regular counterparts, and it is estimated that each bulb saves around $30 form your energy bill, annually.

Don’t believe the hype

There are a number of myths surrounding energy-saving bulbs, including the fact that switching them on and off use more energy (which isn’t true, although it’s worth keeping them on for around ten minutes each time to prolong their life). In fact, manufacturers test bulbs by switching them on and off up to 1,000 times to make sure they are safe to use.

Another misconception is that energy-saving bulbs take a long time to warm up enough to reach their full light potential, but in truth each bulb usually takes no more than a couple of seconds. This happens because to work, an electric current is passed through gas in a tube, making the tube’s coating glow brightly. In traditional bulbs, the current is passed through a wire which heats up and produces light straight away.
Energy-saving bulbs are more compact, and work much more efficiently than traditional styles. While the new bulbs use more energy to make, they work out much more efficient over their lifespan than old styles. You can now buy halogen bulbs which save energy, in addition to ‘normal’ energy-saving bulbs. Philips Masterline and Osram Decostar are two examples, both of which use 30% less energy.

Combining bulbs with dimmer switches

A couple of months ago, if you’d tried using an energy-saving bulb in conjunction with a dimmer switch, you will have noticed that the light flickered, making them pretty much unusable. One manufacturer has now developed a solution – a low-energy bulb designed specifically to be used with dimmers. This means you have even greater options for reducing energy consumption. The Osram Dulux El Dim is currently the only fully dimmable energy saving bulb. However, there are plans for more to be developed later this year.

Where to get your bulbs

Most supermarket chains and online stores offer a superb range of energy-saving bulbs at reduced costs, and you can often find offers and reductions where if you buy more than one, you get a price discount.

Don’t forget to recycle!

To get the true smug green feeling, don’t forget to take your used low-energy bulbs to a local organization in your area that can recycle them for you. Ask your retailer where you can take the bulbs, once they have reached the end of their lifespan.


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