Although it may be perceived that the considerable lower wattage of an LED may mean that it will not be as bright as a halogen bulb, this is not the case. Most of the power consumed by a halogen bulb is released as heat, to the extent that often retailers used to turn on their lights in the morning to heat the space before opening up a shop. Now this could be viewed as a benefit however, despite the fact that as a heat source, this is also very inefficient and heat rising, with the lamps located in the ceiling, there is also the dilemma of what to do on a hot summers day? Introduce air-conditioning just to counteract the heat produced by the lights? Or shop in the dark? Not ideal.
LED lamps can be around 10 times more efficient than halogen lamps, running at 10% of the wattage of a comparable halogen lamp, which looses up to 90% of its power as heat. A 300 watt halogen bulb will reach around 540 °C. Incandescent bulbs run significantly cooler, with CFLs even cooler than this. But the average LED bulb used in the home will run more efficiently than all of the above. With the hottest internal parts being cooled by integrated heatsinks and often barely reaching 100 °C internally. This also means that the front plastic section of the lamp closest to the touch, never reaches temperatures anywhere near this.
It seems like a lifetime ago that halogen lightbulbs were outlawed in the UK and across Europe. Their sale started to be phased out in 2016, with retailers being permitted to sell their remaining stock, while consumers were permitted to use their existing halogen lightbulbs until they ran out. However, since that time, retailers have been required to only stock energy efficient alternatives like LEDs.
Despite the fact that the phasing out process began so many years ago, many consumers are still unaware of why the change has taken place. So, why are LEDs a better choice than halogen bulbs? Here, we take a closer look at the benefits of LED lighting and how it can be used to great effect in your home.
The Rationale Behind The Outlaw Of Halogen Bulbs
Halogen bulbs may have been commonplace at one time, but modern technology has rendered them redundant and false economy. Halogens use about 5 times more energy than an LED bulb. While they may have had a lower initial purchase price, over time, their inefficient usage of energy meant that they were costing consumers far more in the long run, and since their lifespan was on average less than 2 years, they needed replacing on a regular basis.
Not only was that an issue for customers who were paying higher bills, but it was also an issue for the environment. Using halogen bulbs led to higher CO2 emissions – something that countries around the world are now working hard to reduce. Lighting accounts for around 15% of all electricity use in the UK and leaves a significant carbon footprint. The ban of halogen bulbs meant an enormous saving of both emissions and energy. As this followed on from the initial eco-friendly benefits of banning incandescent bulbs in 2012, it meant that the country was moving forward in its attempts to slash our energy usage and significantly cut our carbon footprint.
Why Are LEDs Better?
We’ve already pointed out that LEDs are super-efficient, especially when compared with energy-hungry halogen bulbs, with far lower annual running costs. An LED bulb has an annual running cost of just £1.71 compared with a shocking £8.42 for a halogen bulb. Also, since LEDs last for as long as 25 years, rather than the 2 years or less that halogen bulbs can function, it’s easy to see why the ban was brought about.
Although at first there was some resistance to the change from consumers, users have quickly began to recognise the benefits. Not only could they save money on their annual electricity bills, but they could also benefit from lower maintenance. With no need for tube or lamp changes and with LED panels being far easier to clean than old-style halogen bulbs due to the fact that they attract fewer insects, homeowners have quickly seen that LEDs are the way forward.
A further benefit of LEDs is that they run cooler than a traditional halogen lamp, and therefore represent a lower hazard in the home. Consumers no longer need to worry about burning themselves on a super-hot bulb if they accidentally touch it – LEDs are cool to the touch and won’t cause burns. Not only that, but cool-running lamps minimise the deterioration to indoor décor, light shades and light fittings which so often occurs with hot-running lamps. This means that light fittings last longer overall.
Modern LEDs Are Lighting The Way To The Future
The earliest LED lamps may have had more in common with alien spaceships than lightbulbs, but times have changed and developments have been made. Today, thanks to the impressive advances in the design of LEDs, modern LED lamps look virtually identical to the old-style halogen bulbs. Lamps with integral LEDs now closely match the light output and shape of traditional halogen lights for those who want to maintain the existing appearance of their classic light fittings.
On the other hand, LEDs also open up a world of choice for homeowners. There is an extensive array of LED lighting products on the market today, with products such as LED strips which change brightness and colour making it a breeze to produce stunning lighting effects virtually anywhere. Recent developments in the LED lighting industry have also allowed LEDs to be integrated into lighting control systems which can be controlled remotely via tablets and smartphones for an even more convenient and exciting way to create ambience and atmosphere inside the home or workplace.
LEDs can also be incorporated into safety features to protect buildings from fire damage. Fire rated LED downlighting is designed to minimise the reduction in a ceiling’s fire rating, preventing flames from spreading so easily between floors and, thus, stopping the ceiling from collapsing within just a few minutes of the flames taking hold. While traditional halogen bulbs were a fire hazard in themselves, fire rated LED downlighting includes special materials which expand when heated. This allows them slow down the spread of fire which would otherwise be able to get through the cut-out space in the ceiling into which the light has been fitted and speed up the potentially lethal damage to the building. The Davic downlight is an excellent example of a fire rated LED that is discreet, attractive, and perfect for use in all kinds of residential applications, whether for task, effect or accent lighting. Thanks to its 90-minute fire rating, it’s ideal for taller buildings with a top floor that stands between 18-30 metres in height as well as for standard homes with loft conversions, or even regular two-storey homes where fire protection is paramount.
LEDs Allow For Exciting Lighting Design
The widespread use of LEDs today has meant that exciting lighting design has become possible in homes and workplaces around the globe. Here at Lightmaster Direct, we have delighted in snapping up the potential of LED lighting to create creative effects and welcoming atmospheres for homes and businesses across the UK and further afield. Contact us today to find out more.