House Energy Lighting Solutions

Fairlane Green aims to provide residential sustainability solutions to empower householders to become energy independent by reducing electricity bills up to 80%.

There are many changes you can make that will have a real impact on your lighting costs and carbon emmissions. They may be slightly more expensive to buy, but the long term advantages far outweigh the initial expense. Switch to energy saving lighting bulbs and use much less energy to produce the same amount of light.

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The many components and products of a smarter home make it very easy to use and importantly are scalable and can be added as budget permits.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

Currently in development and touted as the next generation of lighting, LEDs are 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 consume as little as 4 to 8% of energy when compared to incandescent bulbs and have a life expectancy of 30,000 to 50,000 hours.

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Inefficient Lighting Ban

On 20 February 2007, the Australian Minister for the Environment and Water Resources the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP announced action to phase out inefficient light bulbs by 2009 – 2010.

Minister Turnbull stated that the step should reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 4 million tonnes per year by 2012. This is the equivalent to taking 1 million cars off the road or planting 4 million trees.

Australia’s annual greenhouse emissions in 2004 totalled 564.7 million tonnes.

According to the Australian government, lighting is responsible for 37% of greenhouse gas emissions; household lighting is responsible for 12% of the total greenhouse emissions and commercial lighting such
as public and street lighting 25%.

Lighting costs the community over $2 billion in electricity each year and it is predicted that converting to low energy lighting will save Australians 66% off their household lighting bills, or $1.3 billion per year.

Low Energy Lighting

Low energy or energy saving lighting is about reducing the wattage used in a light fitting while maintaining similar light output. By using energy saving lighting you can generate huge savings on your electricity bills, and contribute towards building a better environment.

Low energy lighting alternatives such as CFLs cost more to purchase, however the investment is outweighed by the fact that they use only 20% of the electricity consumed by a standard incandescent light globe. This produces significant savings on your power bills.

Furthermore, CFLs will last from four to ten years, as opposed to a standard globe which lasts about one year, saving you the inconvenience of having to regularly purchase and replace globes.

And most importantly, energy efficient globes reduce energy consumption and therefore help cut greenhouse gas emissions which are harmful to the environment.

Australia’s leading national lighting retailer Beacon Lighting notes that consumers are today very conscious that they can reduce greenhouse emissions through opting for low energy lighting solutions and many have made the switch to low energy lighting alternatives.

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Lighting Efficiency

Over the next ten to twelve years the Australian government will introduce legislation to improve the efficacy of light globes. Manufacturers must gradually reduce the wattage of globes, which generates carbon dioxide, while maintaining the light output (lumen). So in the future, the most energy efficient globes will require fewer watts to generate the equivalent light which will further reduce carbon dioxide emissions from lighting.

Lighting tips to save energy

Use these tips to help reduce your household lighting:

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Lighting Alternatives

Incandescent lamps

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.

Halogen lamps

Low voltage halogen downlights are the most commonly used light globes in Australia. They are a type of incandescent lamp and although they require lower voltages they are not low energy lamps. In fact each low voltage halogen lamp generates a kilogram of greenhouse gas every 15 hours which is about the same as a standard 60 watt incandescent globe.

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.

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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.

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Solar Lighting

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.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are simply fluorescent tubes bent into shape to fit a standard light fitting. They work by passing an electrical current through a gas which activates phosphor powder to give light.

CFLs use around 20% of the power required by an incandescent bulb and will last four to ten times longer. They are available in a range of wattages, colour outputs and designs to fit many existing incandescent light fittings around your home and office.

On a lifetime basis, a standard 100 watt-equivalent CFL will save 480 kilowatt hours of electricity when compared to an incandescent lamp. In fact during its lifetime, just one CFL bulb has the capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as one tonne.

A typical compact fluorescent lamp will save around $50 in its lifetime. Additionally you’ll save the expense of six or more incandescent globes and of course you don’t have to change the bulbs as often.

Switching to energy efficient globes will result in reduced households lighting costs of up to 66%. This represents an annual saving of up to $1.3 billion to Australian consumers.

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CFLs are more efficient and therefore require a lower wattage globe for the same light output (lumens).

Incandescent Globes Compact Fluorescent Lights
25 W 7 W
40 W 8 W
60 W 12 W
75 W 15 W
100 W 20 W
120 W 23 W

CFLs are available in a range of three colours. Bright daylight (6500K) offers a strong, bright light suited to home offices, cool white (4000K) is suited to social environments like lounge rooms, and warm white (2700K) creates a more intimate atmosphere for bedrooms.

The higher the Kelvin (K) rating the bluer the colour gets. Lower Kelvin-rated CFLs have more yellow and are similar to the light colour of an incandescent globe. The Kelvin rating only refers to the colour of the light emitted, not the brightness, and different colours should be used for different situations as listed above.

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Lighting Costs
While the cost of a CFL is greater than an incandescent lamp, CFLs are cheaper when the total life cycle cost is considered.

The cost of running a light is directly related to the globe wattage plus any associated ballast or transformer. Therefore the higher the wattage, the higher the running cost. So the type of lighting you choose will affect the amount of electricity you use, your lighting bill, and greenhouse gas emissions.

1x9 watt 15,000hr
energy effiecient GU10 globe
10x50 watt 1500 hr
standard GU10 globe
lasts approx 15 years lasts approx 15 years each
Cost of power:
15 years,
$1.35 p.a = $20.25*
Cost of power:
15 years,
$7.50 p.a = $112.50*
cost of globe = $19.95 globe is ($3.95 ea) = $39.95
Total cost for 15yrs = $40.20* Total cost for 15yrs = $152.45*

 Total savings over 15 years per globe =  

Considering an average house can have up to 40 of these globes,the savings become substantial.

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CFL Light Quality
The light quality of the latest range of CFLs is equal or superior to today’s incandescent globes. And importantly, new electronically-ballasted CFLs don’t flicker or hum.

While traditional CFLs deliver most of their light to the sides, corkscrew-shaped CFLs and those enclosed in frosted plastic spheres distribute light in a pattern similar to that of incandescent lamps.

However the light distribution of CFLs is different and may appear less bright than the bulb they replace unless used in a specially designed fitting. Therefore when replacing an incandescent lamp with a CFL in an existing fitting, it may be better to use a slightly higher wattage than recommended by the manufacturer to ensure adequate light output.

CFL light output can also drop slightly over time. Therefore it’s important to regularly clean or dust CFLs and light fittings to maintain an optimum light output, particularly given their extended lifespan.

For more information on CFLs and low energy lighting solutions speak with your Beacon Lighting customer service representative.

Mercury Content
CFLs have a high electrical component and trace amounts of mercury, usually around 3 to 5 mg, which is required to operate the lamp. 5 mg is one fifth of the mercury found in watch batteries and 100 times less than that found in a thermometer or dental filling.

In a CFL the trace amount of mercury is sealed within glass tubing and is not dangerous to users when the lamp is in tact or in use because no mercury is released. However as mercury is a toxic substance it’s important that CFLs are handled carefully and disposed of responsibly.

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Handling and Disposal
Handle CFLs with care. If you break a CFL you can release mercury into the atmosphere. Gently sweep up the glass fragments and use a damp cloth to pick up fine particles. If the breakage is on carpet, use sticky tape then a damp cloth to clean up the debris prior to vacuuming. Place all debris into a sealed plastic bag for disposal and ventilate the room where possible.

In Australia there is no legislation covering the disposal of CFLs and other electronic waste, therefore it is legal to place them in your household garbage bin. Contact your local recycling and waste depot for information on CFL disposal alternatives in your community. And please do not contaminate your recyclable waste with CFLs.

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