Dave's Column - Lighting Tips. Nowadays there are three main types of lighting on the market: halogen, fluorescent (fluoro) and light emitting diode (LED). Incandescent globes are all but dead - and as of 1.September 2012 - are banned from importing into Europe.
Halogens were 'all the rage' a decade ago and were installed in many ceilings. Halogens are only about 30% as efficient as fluoros & LEDs and are considered 'power hungry'. They also generate a lot of heat. Their main advantage is that they give a warm natural colour rendition and are favoured by artists and expensive clothing and jewellery shops. They are available as 12 or 24 Volt and must run from a transformer in 240 Volt households. See our range of halogen bulbs.
LEDs give a very focused or directed light and are ideal to light up a desk, kitchen bench or hallway. They are less than ideal in lighting up a whole room. They do not have a filament to easily break so they tend to last a long time and make ideal torches because they are robust and give a naturally focused light. They are generally around 5 watts. Unlike fluoros, their electromagnetic emission is very low. The new generation of LEDs give a good light and are available in cool and warm colours. See our range of LED bulbs.
Fluoros and LEDs now have similar efficiency. Fluoros can either be straight (tubes) as found in many old offices and school rooms or as compact fluoros (CFLs). Both types have similar efficiency and are available in warm or cool/ daylight colours. The CFLs distribute most of their light sideways, so a conical white shade is important to direct their light downwards. CFLs are generally between 3 and 20 watts and they are about 3 times more efficient than the old incandescent bulbs.
Dimmers can only be used with specially designed lights and may not save much power. You are better off to have several lights and turn them on/ off as needed. See our range of E17 fluoro bulbs or E27 fluoro bulbs.
If you are leaving the room for more than 10 minutes, turn the light off.
Bring the light as close to you as possible. If you have light on a high ceiling, drop it down closer to head height. A desk light will only need a few watts to be effective but you would need 15- 50 watts to light up a desk from a ceiling light.
Light coloured walls will reflect the light better.
The light output of all lights degrade with usage, which can be significant, eg 20% after a few years. It may be worthwhile to replace them every 3-4 years if you wish to obtain maximum light efficiency.