Sustainable Home: How To Choose Sustainable Lighting

How much thought have you given to the lighting in your house? So small of an object, yet can play a significant part on what your energy bills look like at the end of the year. Light bulbs have come a long way since they were first introduced to the mass market, and now we have a variety of options to choose from when we go to our local home store.

Unlike traditional bulbs, when choosing an energy saving bulb, it’s important to note that you cannot use Watts to determine the brightness.

Simple Science: The Power that a bulb needs is measured in Watts, and since the whole point of energy saving bulbs is that they don’t use as much power, their wattage will be lower – but not necessarily their brightness.

Power and watts

To measure a bulb’s brightness, you need to look for the lumen output, which will indicate how brightly a bulb will shine. For a bedside lamp you would want something around 400 lumens or for a fairly sized living room 1500-3000 lumens (made of a collection of a few bulbs).

Light Bulb Comparision Chart

Halogen – Using a tungsten filament like an incandescent bulb, there isn’t much difference between the two in terms of the amount of energy used. They also tend to be more expensive, and likely last for only 2 years meaning they won’t pay for themselves in energy savings before they fail.

CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) - They tend to be cheap, and are four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs. They pay for themselves in energy savings quite quickly. But not all people enjoy the light they emit and can it take some getting used to.

LEDS – are more expensive, but use 90% less energy than a standard bulb. Clearly the best in the long run, they can last up to 25 years, and due to their efficiency, will pay for themselves many times over before they fail.