Ten reasons to change to LED lighting

The accelerated development of LED lighting in recent years is changing the way we light our homes and businesses. LED is one of the great clean technologies of the early 21st century. If you’re unsure how this revolutionary technology can benefit you, we have put together 10 strong reasons for changing your current lighting to LED…

1. Energy efficient

LED bulbs are 80-90% more energy efficient than incandescent lighting and will significantly reduce your energy bills. They are up to 50% more energy efficient than fluorescent lamps. Lighting normally accounts for 20-40% of electricity use in a home or business.

Switching to LED bulbs also reduces your carbon footprint, which means less oil, coal, or gas is burned to produce your electricity, and less carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

A 2014 UN report written by 745 IPCC scientists outlined an urgent worldwide need to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming. This urgency stems from an internationally recognised 2°C global warming target (Copenhagen Accord, 2009). Not meeting the target invites dangerous climate change, according to scientific opinion, affecting human life and large-scale ecosystems.

2. Long life

LEDs have typical 20,000 to 50,000 hour lifespans, which compare favourably to the 1,000 to 2,000 hour lifespans of filament bulbs. They are also 2-3 times longer-lived than fluorescent light sources.

3. Save money

Though they require a higher initial investment, LED lamps or luminaires will often pay for themselves within a year to 18 months. The drastic reduction in energy consumption helps this, of course, but there is also a huge decrease in maintenance or re-lamping costs. Our How much will I save article covers this in more depth.

Cost saving comparison over 25,000 hours
50W Halogen GU10
50W Halogen GU10
5,000 hours Av. bulb life 25,000 hours
£1.13 Bulb cost £2.84
5 No. of bulbs 1
£5.65 Total cost of bulbs £2.84
£150 Running costs £15.00
£162.45 Total costs £17.77

 

Saving on purchase costs = £2.81
Saving on energy costs = £135.00
Total saving – £137.81
5W=50W LED GU10
5W=50W LED GU10

 

4. Cool beam

Although LEDs have significant heat sink needs, unlike a filament bulb they do not project IR heat in their beam. This makes LED ideal for lighting heat-sensitive items such as artworks or food. Less heat also means less work for air-conditioning systems, so there are secondary benefits, too. Filament bulbs do not pay for themselves during the winter, incidentally – cooling a room costs more money than heating it!

5. No mercury content

Unlike fluorescent light sources, LEDs have no mercury content. This makes an LED lamp harmless if it breaks, whereas safety procedures are usually advised whenever a fluorescent lamp is shattered. Lack of mercury also makes end-of-life disposal simple in LED lighting, while CFLs and fluorescent tubes are viewed as hazardous waste and require special handling.

6. Dimmable

An increasing number of LED bulbs are fully dimmable, dependent on the built-in LED driver. Once connected to a compliant switch, LED bulbs offer exceptional dimming performance, with maintained energy efficiency and no colour change. Reduction of power in an incandescent bulb affects the colour of its light, giving it a warmer hue. Most fluorescent lighting is either non-dimmable or inferior in dimming capability.

7. No UV emissions

LEDs produce little or no UV, which is especially useful when lighting art, or textiles. Ultraviolet radiation is a major cause of fading in artworks, and is emitted in modest quantities by fluorescent lighting. In combination with lack of IR heat, this makes LED an art-friendly light source!

8. Instant light

Fluorescent lamps often take 2-3 minutes to warm up and reach full brightness. This is not the case with LED lighting, which achieves maximum power instantly!

9. Easily focused

LED lighting is naturally directional, which is especially useful in spotlighting applications. Very little light is spilled outside of the specified beam, or needs redirecting. In bulbs requiring omnidirectional light (e.g. GLS), multiple LED chips are used for widely dispersed light.

10. Colour temperature

Unlike filament bulbs, LEDs are widely manufactured with warm or cool colour temperatures. This has particular benefits in display lighting, where the natural colour of display items or art can be accentuated by a warm or cool light source. Cool white LED spotlights are also useful for task lighting applications (e.g. kitchen), and are unavailable in traditional halogen form.

As previously mentioned, to explore the financial benefits of switching to LED lighting, please take a look at our LED Conversion / How much will I save article.

For more inspiration, advice and news, visit our Lighting Advice section.

Shower lights – clear ideas

Many people have a distinct preference for taking either a bath or shower. It’s the rushed lack of luxury that spoils the showering experience for some, but a shrewd choice of shower lights can improve that perception. With the right lighting, a shower needn’t be claustrophobic or uninviting.

Below we look at some of the best ways to use shower lighting, the types of products that are available and offer guidance in terms of any applicable regulations.

Shower lighting ideas

A classic technique used in shower lighting is to position fittings over a rear wall. This provides a greater feeling of space, rather than creating a boxed-in effect with centrally positioned lights. Any light that reflects from a surface is naturally diffused, which has a flattering and restful effect.

Fireguard LED7 dimmable spotlight in whiteFor their remarkable energy efficiency and lifespan, LED fittings such as the Integral 6W LED Downlight offer excellent value for money. Highlighting features of this downlight includes an astonishing 35,000 hour lifespan and 3-year guarantee.

If recessed ceiling lights are not possible, consider wall-mounted outdoor downlights with high IP ratings. Remember that LED lighting is 80-90% more energy efficient than halogen lighting and needs far less maintenance. Halogen lighting has its own merits, including modest initial outlay and superb colour rendering.

Building regulations

In the home

Installation of shower lighting in the home is subject to Part P Building Regulations. An NICEIC ‘Part P factsheet’ is available in PDF form here.

Workplaces

HSE Electricity at Work Regulations apply to workplaces such as hotels or university campuses.

In all instances reference to IEE Wiring Regulations (17th Edition) is required (see below). Note that ‘IET Wiring Regulations’ are the same (the IEE now forms part of the IET).

Bathroom Zones and IP Ratings

Latest IEE Wiring Regulations (17th Edition) divide a bathroom into Zones 0, 1 and 2. Perceived risk of electric shock defines each zone. Areas falling beyond these zones are ‘outside zones’ (the previous Zone 3 no longer exists).

Please see our articles on bathroom zones and IP ratings for precise details.

Shower power

In some countries, the idea of bathing in a pool of stagnating water is odd. A shower is more hygienic, uses less water, takes less time, and often uses less space. A little care taken over warmth and light makes it enjoyable, even, to the extent that some people burst into song!

Why not browse our range of shower lights? Alternatively if you’re looking for more inspiration, advice and ideas, take a look at our Lighting Advice section.

American Diner Lights Showcase

American diner lights are an increasingly popular style of fitting. Inspired by the stainless steel exteriors and metallic surfaces of the diners that were so synonymous with US culture in the 50s, 60s & 70s. The stunning American Diner range from Searchlight pays tribute to these iconic eateries, with a selection of traditional ceiling and wall lights.

These fittings certainly have a retro feel about them, with gleaming metallic finishes, decorative yet practical designs, and a subtly industrial look – perhaps a trace of the American railroad from whence the diners themselves originated back in the 1920s. Lyco stocks a wide variety of American Diner light fittings, meaning you can easily add a touch of American style to any premises or home.

The American Diner Lighting Range

American Diner Semi Flush Fitting in Antique BrassThe American Diner Semi-Flush Fitting has an IP44 rating to indicate possible Zone 1 and 2 bathroom use. This light looks fantastic in kitchen and dining areas, too, whether in the home or a restaurant. Much like many original American diner lights, it is compact in design and ideal for a low-ceilinged room.
American Diner 3 Light (Dual Mount) in Satin Silver

Offering a choice of semi-flush installation or normal pendant use, Searchlight’s 3-Light and 5-Light dual mount fittings cater for any height of ceiling. Install these eye-catching luminaires over dining tables or a kitchen island.

American Diner Antique Brass Pendant LightLike all items in this range, the American Diner Pendant comes in a choice of metallic finishes. The glass is finished differently, too, with clear or frosted options. The former allows a slightly crisper light, whilst still cutting out glare with its ribbed surface. It also projects an attractive pattern onto ceilings. Frosted glass produces a softer light, and has a pleasing white finish to suit many styles of décor.
American Diner Wall Light in Antique Brass

Ornate wall lights are another part of American Diner heritage, common as they were in the original dining cars of trains and alongside diner booths. Searchlight’s American Diner Wall Light is elegantly designed with a characteristic gleaming metallic finish, and offers convenient independent control with its on/off pull cord.

Value for money

The American Diner lighting range offers fantastic value for money, with an enticing blend of high-quality manufacturing and authentic style.

Why not take a look at our full range of American Diner lights?

For more inspiration, showcases and guides, try our Lighting Advice section.