New light on the best bulbs

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

Waikato shop­pers buy­ing the lat­est en­ergy-ef­fi­cient light bulbs should buy a brand they trust af­ter re­search by Con­sumer re­vealed sig­nif­i­cant vari­a­tions in qual­ity

Light emit­ting diode bulbs (LEDs) are expected to last up to five times longer than the equiv­a­lent com­pact flu­o­res­cent lamps (CFLs) and up to 30 times longer than stan­dard in­can­des­cent bulbs.

How­ever, test­ing by the En­ergy Ef­fi­ciency and Con­ser­va­tion Author­ity (EECA) of 24 LED bulbs found the qual­ity var­ied con­sid­er­ably be­tween each bulb.

The tests mea­sured power con­sump­tion, light out­put, colour and how close that colour was to the light from an ideal bulb.

Con­sumer re­viewed the test­ing and cal­cu­lated how much light the LEDs pro­duced for the elec­tric­ity they used, as well as how much light they pro­duced for their pur­chase price.

Ac­cord­ing to Con­sumer, the LED re­place­ments for stan­dard in­can­des­cent light bulbs showed sub­stan­tial sav­ings and were five times more ef­fi­cient.

LEDs use about one-fifth the power of an equiv­a­lent in­can­des­cent bulb – about the same as a CFL.

While the re­search found the sav­ings weren’t as dra­matic for halo­gen down­lights and spot­lights, LEDs were still three to four times more ef­fi­cient.

A stan­dard halo­gen down­light costs be­tween three and four times as much to run as its LED re­place­ment.

Al­though Con­sumer found in many cases CFLs re­mained the best choice, LEDs had a num­ber of ad­van­tages and the higher price of LEDs was likely to fall in the fu­ture.

LEDs last longer than CFLs, which makes them ideal for dif­fi­cultto-get-at places like high ceil­ings.

They are also avail­able in a wide range of stylish and high-qual­ity fit­tings. Com­pared to most CFLs, LEDs pro­vide full light in­stantly with­out any warm up time and many LEDs are also dimmable. LEDs also do not con­tain tiny amounts of mer­cury like CFLs.

Sue Chetwin, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Con­sumer New Zealand, said while LEDs were likely to be the lighting of the fu­ture, some bulbs were cur­rently too ex­pen­sive to be cost­ef­fec­tive.

Con­sumer be­lieves that LED prices will be­come more com­pet­i­tive in the years to come.

“Be­cause the pur­chase cost of the LED bulbs varies hugely, their cost over five years also varies hugely. We think the five-year over­all cost be­comes unattrac­tive when the LED bulb is priced at more than about $40. It seems cer­tain that LED prices will re­duce over the next few years and that will make them more cost-ef­fec­tive.

“There’s a wide range of LED lighting prod­ucts on the mar­ket and tests show they vary enor­mously in per­for­mance.”

Terry Collins, EECA’s prod­ucts gen­eral man­ager, said the re­search un­der­lined the im­por­tance of buy­ing a brand shop­pers trust.

“While LEDs are the most en­er­gy­ef­fi­cient light bulbs on the mar­ket, like most elec­tri­cal prod­ucts, the qual­ity can also vary.

“LED bulbs can qual­ify for the En­ergy Star mark, which de­notes the most en­ergy ef­fi­cient prod­ucts in a cat­e­gory. If a bulb car­ries the blue En­ergy Star mark, then shop­pers know it will give a good qual­ity light, per­form ef­fi­ciently and last its life as claimed.

EN­ERGY EF­FI­CIENT: Light bulbs.

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