Most efficient lighting –

A comparison between CFL, Incandescent, and LED

The lighting in our homes and offices is not something we ever think about, but depending on the lighting solutions we use, it can be a significant chunk of our energy bills, over both the short- and long-term.

The options currently available to us are primarily the following three: Incandescent, CFL, and LED. To summarise the differences, an incandescent bulb is the very same invented by Thomas Edison way back in the late 1800s. This technology, while revolutionary for its time, is in our day and age the most energy-intensive option, not to mention the shortest lasting bulb.

Next we have CFLs, or Compact Fluorescent Lamps. Compared to general-service incandescent lamps giving the same amount of visible light, CFLs use one-fifth to one-third the electric power, and last eight to fifteen times longer. They’re also slightly more expensive, but the energy savings and longer life make up for the costs. The major drawback with CFLs is that they contain toxic mercury, which makes them difficult to dispose of. GE has stopped producing CFLs in favour of the higher-efficiency and safer alternative of LED.

LED bulbs are the longest lasting of the three, lasting for 25,000+ hours.[i] In comparison, a CFL lasts 10,000 hours and an incandescent bulb lasts a mere 2,000 hours.

According to the Centre for Sustainable Energy, LED bulbs typically cost £3.29 per year in energy bills. Whereas CFL and Incandescent cost £4.11 and £12.32 respectively. If you factor in the longer life of LEDs, they’re far and away the better option. This means that while LEDs are slightly more expensive, over a period of several years you could save quite a bit on running costs. According to nidirect government services, by replacing all incandescent lights in your home with LED alternatives, you could save about £40 a year on your electricity bills.[ii] And over the lifetime of your home, you could end up savings hundreds of pounds.

It all starts with a simple change.