Lighting represents around 12 per cent of electricity usage from households, and around 25 per cent of the electricity used by the commercial sector. This is an area where energy savings can be easily made by replacing inefficient lights with more cost-effective and energy efficient alternatives.
Incandescent lights are currently being phased out by the Federal Government; however, halogen lighting is still available. Halogen downlights have become a popular choice for many homeowners, but are not energy efficient. Not only do they increase lighting costs, but also often increase heating costs as installing downlights can cause gaps in ceiling insulation.
New generation compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are a greener choice and come in a wide range of sizes to fit in small lights or ceiling recesses and can now also provide a warm light colour. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use only 20 per cent of the electricity to produce the same amount of light and using less energy means reduced greenhouse gas emissions and lower electricity bills – benefits to both the environment and individuals.
What to do if you already have downlights:
• Ask for 35w halogen downlights with the same light output as a standard 50w light
• Use the dimmer
• Keep an eye out for LED and micro-CFL technology for a direct replacement or consider rewiring
Tips for choosing High Efficiency Lighting
• A good compact fluorescent light should be a warm white colour and a curly style will give a better light distribution.
• Look for longer life and a reputable supplier.
• Choose a slightly higher wattage that the incandescent equivalent.
• The compact fluorescent lamp should NOT ‘buzz’. If it does, take it back.
Installing Fluorescent Tubes and Lamps
All fluorescent lamps contain some mercury, but this is being reduced all the time. Far more mercury (and other pollutants) are released into the atmosphere from burning coal to provide the power for inefficient incandescent lamps. Nevertheless, you should take care when handling these lamps.
If one breaks, open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes. Later, using gloves and a moist disposable cloth, pick up the pieces. Do not use a vacuum cleaner. Wrap the pieces and cleaning tools and place in a sealable container. Take the container to your nearest Hazardous Household Waste Facility, which you can find by downloading the Recycle Right app free from the App Store or Google Play, or visit m.recycleright.wa.gov.au.