Incandescent lamps work when electricity passes through a wire filament to create energy. In use for more than 125 years, incandescent lamps are very inefficient because they convert only 5 to 10% of the energy they produce into light, and the remainder is converted to heat. Experts estimate that there are up to 500 million incandescent light globes in Australia. As of November 2009, due to the new government regulations you'll no longer be able to purchase standard incandescent globes.
Low voltage halogen downlights are the most commonly used light globes in Australia. They are a type of incandescent lamp and require, extra low voltage transformer to connect to. In an average room size you may need 3 to 4 units installed, energy conscience people have an option to install light dimmers to achieve energy efficiency, dimming your lighting will use less energy while enjoying mood lighting.
Low voltage halogen lamps are slightly more efficient than normal bulbs of the same wattage, but they use a transformer that can consume from 10 to 30 per cent of the bulb energy, reducing the efficiency gain.
More efficient electronic transformers are available which reduce transformer losses.
Low voltage halogen lamps usually have a very narrow beam angle and so are most suitable for highlighting features such as paintings or for task lighting directly over a cooking area or study desk. If used, fit lower wattage and more efficient bulbs. Efficient 35W lamps are available that produce as much light as a standard 50W lamp. Compact fluorescent lamps designed for down lighting are an energy efficient alternative that should be considered.
The new energy saving downlights with CFL bulbs and no electrical transformer is needed. To replace the exisitng halogen down light a complete fitting will be required to house the CFL bulbs.
The refit of low voltage halogen
downlights requires a special light
fitting therefore you need the
services of an electrician to
replace them with CFLs. For new
homes and renovations, there are a
range of CFL downlights available.
Compact fluorescent and linear or tubular fluorescents lamps are the most energy efficient form of lighting for households. Fluorescent lamps use only about one quarter of the energy used by incandescent bulbs to provide the same light level.
They work by causing a phosphor coating in the inside of a glass tube to glow. Different types of phosphor emit different coloured light.
Although more expensive to buy they are much cheaper to run and can last up to twenty thousand hours. With careful design they can replace incandescent and halogen lights in most situations.
Fluorescent lamps are ideal for areas where lighting is required for long periods of time, such as the living room and kitchen, and for security lighting. They also produce less heat, helping keep your home cooler in summer.
There is much greater variation in the quality of fluorescent lamps sold in Australia than there is for other lighting types. In the past some poor quality fluorescent lamps were sold. To counter this, at the same time as bringing in regulations to phase out inefficient lighting the Government will bring in performance and quality standards for compact fluorescent lamps.
Fluorescent lamps are a developing technology and there have been many improvements in the performance of both linear and compact fluorescents lamps (CFLs) in recent years. Fluorescent lamps that cover a range of desired colours, including the warm light of most incandescent globes (around 2,700 Kelvin) are readily available. Cool white tubes have a higher colour temperature, around 5000 Kelvin, and are better suited to garages and workshops. By selecting the appropriate wattage and colour fluorescent lamp a large range of lighting effects are achievable. When mixing different types of lighting in a room try to use similar colour temperatures.
There are two main types of fluorescent lamps tubular and compact.
Tubular lamps, also known as fluorescent tubes, are available in a straight or circular style. They are cheaper to buy than compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), but unlike CFLs require special fittings. Tubes are ideal for kitchens, garages and workshops.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), also known as long-life bulbs, are usually designed to fit into conventional bayonet or screw fitting light sockets and so are the ideal replacement for inefficient incandescent bulbs.They come in a range of shapes, most common is the stick type, but there are also globe style, or circular and square 2D types.
CFLs can replace incandescent light bulbs in many light fittings. Not all light fittings are suitable for conversion to CFLs but most can be successfully converted with the right choice of lamp.
All fluorescent lamps need a ballast to start them. For tubes, the ballast is separate and usually located in the light fitting. CFL ballasts are generally built into the lamp base. However, some CFLs have a separate tube and ballast. As the ballast is more expensive and lasts longer than the tube, the tube is detachable and can be replaced when it fails. Few domestic light fittings are currently specifically designed for separate ballasts, although desk lamps and some surface mounted models are available.
Ballasts can either be older magnetic types or newer electronic versions. Electronic ballasts are more expensive to buy, but are more energy efficient. They also start the lamp quicker, produce less flicker and make the lamp last longer.Magnetic ballast lamps cannot be dimmed, but some electronic units can. They cannot be used with standard light dimmers
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
CFLs work by passing an electrical current through a gas which activates phosphor powder to give light. Put simply, they are fluorescent tubes bent into shape to fit a standard light fitting.
CFLs use around 20% of the power required by an incandescent bulb and will last four to ten times longer. CFLs are available in a range of colour outputs and designs to suit many existing light fittings around the home and office. For more information see the Fact Sheet CFLs.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
LEDs are the next generation of lighting, illuminated solely by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material. They don't generate heat, contain no chemicals such as lead or mercury, and emit no UV rays or infrared radiation.
LEDs are now available as a real option for replacing the commonly used halogen downlight. The recently released LEDlux downlights work very similar to common halogen downlights, but use 85% less energy, last 25 times longer and operate at a much cooler temperature, making them a safer option. Shop our range of LED downlights online
LEDs are also widely available in desk lamps and outdoor garden lights, with brighter products generally being more expensive.
Commonly used in gardens to light pathways, solar lighting is the ultimate green lighting alternative. Solar lighting is entirely self-sufficient and requires only the energy from sunlight to convert into electrical energy.
The EcoClassic Halogen range
The lamp starts instantly, is dimmable and comes in a retrofit design,
which means that consumers can use the halogen energy savers in all
traditional lamp sockets. Read more on dimmable energy saving bulb alternatives.