The Energy Blog Which type of low energy light bulb should you use?
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The old and the new

Traditional incandescent light bulbs are still available and generally cheaper than low energy bulbs, but most households use a mix of different types of bulb - old incandescent, LEDs and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). And as the price of LEDs and CFLs comes down, so islanders are increasingly choosing the newer, more environmentally friendly bulbs.

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Low energy options

Household lighting makes up a significant proportion of your electricity bill. Up to 10% of your annual energy costs may be attributed to lighting, making it well worth using these lower cost alternatives. But which should you choose?

The reality is that both LEDs and CFLs use considerably less energy than old incandescent bulbs and can cut your lighting costs by up to 85%. Each have their strengths and are suited for different situations, so here’s a quick guide to help you choose which is best for you.

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The environment

LEDs last longer, use less energy and do not contain mercury, making them more environmentally friendly than CFLs. This does not mean that you should never choose to use CFLs, which still use considerably less energy than incandescent bulbs.

Cost

CFLs are generally cheaper than LEDs, although the price of LEDs is decreasing and they generally last longer.

Type of light

This is where the real practical difference lies. CFLs produce a diffuse light, more like old incandescent bulbs and better suited to spreading light throughout a room. LEDs provide directional lighting, better at illuminating a particular area. LEDs, however, are increasingly being produced with diffusers that enhance their ability to light a whole room.

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Choices choices...

When it comes to making a choice, you’ll probably find that one type of bulb works better in a particular situation than the other, so you’ll be best served by using a mix of LEDs and CFLs throughout your house. Read our article on Where to use low energy bulbs for more tips.

Please remember that even when you use low energy bulbs, one of the best ways of saving energy and reducing your electricity bill is to turn the lights off whenever you are the last person to leave a room.