How much could switching to LEDs save you this year?

Switching to LED light bulbs can help make significant savings on your lighting costs.

Whether you’re a homeowner, a tenant, a business leader or the custodian of a public organisation, you stand to benefit from modernising your lighting. Technological advances over the last few years mean the quality of LED bulbs has increased significantly, and it is possible to realise tangible financial gain by switching from incandescent bulbs and halogens.

With the cost of electricity on an upwards curve, but the same number of hours of darkness throughout the year, the only way to reduce lighting costs is to review the technology you use. Due to their increased efficiency, LED light bulbs use just a fraction of the electricity required by legacy solutions, and this gives you the opportunity to reduce your bills.

Rather than switching the lights off and stumbling around in the dark, it is possible to eliminate the vast majority of expenditure without sacrificing illumination. The reason for this is that LED bulbs do not generate heat as a by-product of lighting.

Much of the energy used by incandescent and halogen light bulbs is wasted as thermal, with no practical benefit for users. So by installing light bulbs which turn bright without getting hot, users can immediately reduce the amount of electricity they consume.

LEDs are smart lighting technology

Richard Evans, investment editor at the Daily Telegraph, recently claimed that LED light bulbs may be “the savviest buy you make this year”. He explained that users can replace 60W light bulbs – which require a large amount of electricity, and therefore cost more to illuminate – with 6W LEDs, without impacting on lighting quality.

“An investment in the latest expensive but super-efficient bulbs could save you £240 a year and pay for itself within five months,” Mr Evans stated in a recent article. He noted that LEDs are around ten times more efficient at converting electricity into light than the old-fashioned filament variety.

Even though LED bulbs are considerably more expensive than incandescents and halogens at the point of purchase, they still work out much cheaper overall. Mr Evans explained that LEDs consume so much less electricity that users quickly recoup their initial outlay through lower bills.

Then there is the longevity of LED light bulbs to consider. With no moving parts to worry about, and no filament to burn out, these bulbs just keep going and going. Having installed a GU10 LED light bulb or other model, it could be many years before you are required to make a replacement.

Throughout this period, the LED bulb will help you to save money. Once electricity savings have paid back the purchase price, you are essentially in profit, considering what you would have had to spend on electricity for your legacy bulbs.

How much can you save with LED bulbs?

The Daily Telegraph commissioned to look at the number in a little more detail, based upon electricity consumption in a medium-size home containing ten light fittings. How much money could be saved by replacing 60W bulbs with 6W alternatives? made its calculations based upon the notion that each of the light bulbs was on for ten hours a day. It noted that the total power consumption of the ten old lights would be 600W or 0.6kW, and a typical unit price would be 12.2p per kWh.

This means that each bulb costs an estimated 7.3p per hour to run – creating an overall cost of 73p per day when traditional bulbs are used. This works out as £5.11 per week, £21.90 each month and £266.45 over the course of a year – so not an inconsiderable sum all told.

The comparison site explained that installing LED light bulbs would reduce the running costs by a factor of ten, meaning the costs would be 7.3p per day, 51p a week, £2.19 a month and £26.65 a year. As such, it estimated the savings to be 65.7p a day, £4.60 a week, £19.70 a month and £239.80 per year.

Obviously, the need to purchase the bulbs in the first place would create additional cost in year one. considered that the average cost is £8.99 per unit, although it noted that the price is likely to fall over time as more customers switch over to LEDs.

Replacing ten 60W light bulbs with 6W LEDs would cost £89.90 up-front, but if the lights were on for ten hours per day – as in the case study – there would be payback in the first half a year. At the end of the initial 12-month period, the customer would still have made a net saving of £149.90.

Are there any caveats?

So what is the catch with LED light bulbs? Well, there isn’t one really. They offer a similar quality of light output to halogen bulbs, ensuring you won’t have to sacrifice illumination to save on cost. You should also be able to buy LEDs which slot into your existing fittings – for example, you can replace GU10 halogens with GU10 LEDs – and if not, use an adapter to allow installation.

LED light bulbs come in all shapes and sizes, including tubes, golf balls and spotlights – ensuring they can be used in rooms across your house or premises, for a range of different purposes. There are also different colour temperatures to choose from, including warm white – which replicates the yellowish glow of traditional incandescent bulbs – and daylight white – which has bluish tones, and may be more appropriate for a working environment such as an office.

As the Daily Telegraph’s Richard Evans noted, LED lights also come on instantly, the moment you flick the switch. “There is none of the slight delay or flickering that you sometimes get with older-style low-energy bulbs of the compact fluorescent type,” he noted. Mr Evans added that, because they generate little or no heat, they are also a safer alternative to many other alternative types of bulb.

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