led bulb’s advantages and challenges
By the end of this year, the once familiar incandescent light bulb will disappear from stores in the UAE and residents will have to resort to other lighting solutions.
As per the directives of the Emirates Standardisation and Metrology Authority (Esma), the sale of incandescent light bulbs will be prohibited from December 31, 2014. Traditional lighting consumes more energy than other bulbs on the market, and has a mercury content that has proven to be hazardous.
However, the initial cost of an incandescent light bulb is lower than other light bulbs, and consumers may wonder if the ban will affect them financially. When choosing wisely, the opposite is true.
There are a couple of factors that consumers take in consideration when buying a light bulb, explains Agostino Renna, President and CEO of GE Lighting Middle East, Africa and Europe. “These are the application of the light bulb, the cost, the lifespan and the energy sufficiency.”
What do you need the light for?
Most people will start with the consideration of where the light bulb will be placed. While a halogen light produces a soft, yellowish light, the brightness will increase in a compact florescent light (CVL) and be at its most in a LED light, which produces a white, sharp light.
The brightness of the lamp is defined in lumens, with 450 lumens being a soft, yellowish light, while 1600 will have the effect of the sharp, white light. However, the brightness also increases by watt.
The more wattage a light bulb drives on, the costlier it will be. However, money can be saved by choosing the most economic light bulb, which consumes the least energy driving on the smallest amount of watt.
The lifespan of a light bulb is a good indicator of the economic feasibility of the purchase. For example, a 60w bulb of the banned incandescent light has a lifespan of approximately 1,200 hours.
A 14w CVL light bulb has a lifespan of 10,000 hours, while a 10w LED bulb light has a lifespan of 50,000 hours. “Lifespan is an important factor for people, who do not want to switch their bulb too often. Especially when a light bulb is placed in an area difficult to access, a long lifespan benefits the consumer,” Agostino points out.
Energy efficiency may be the last thing a consumer considers when choosing the right light bulb. However, being aware of the savings that can be made, this aspect may become the most interesting one.
The incandescent light bulb is by far the most energy consuming solution that is still on the market. It is followed by the halogen light, the CVL, and the LED forms the least energy sufficient solution.
This becomes clear looking at the following example; Assume you are looking for a 800 lumens light bulb.
A 60w incandescent light bulb will provide you this solution for a year.
However, the same solution can be provided by 43w halogen lamp with a lifespan of up to 2 years, a 13w CVL with a lifespan of 10 years or a 10w LED light with a lifespan of up to 25 years.
How much do we save?
When calculating the energy cost per year, the incandescent may costs the consumer Dh30, the halogen Dh21, the CVL light Dh6,40 and the LED light Dh5. (The actual prices depend on the brand, and these numbers are used to indicate the difference between the lighting solutions).
A simple calculation can be used by the individual consumer, explains Agostino. “Assume you are using a light 10 hours per day. You replace a 100w light bulb with a 15w light bulb.
In 10 hours, this will save you 85w x 10, which is 850w per hour, also written as 0,85kwh. See how much you pay per kwh, multiply this by 0,85; and you know how much you save per day.”
Industry experts admit that the choice for the right light bulb is not easy. “When a consumer enters a light shop and sees a 100 light bulbs on the shelve, there is little chance he will read the label of each one of them, carefully considering the best option,” points out Alice Cowman, CEO of the Clean Energy Business Council.
“This is a mistake that we as manufacturers have made. Over the last couple of years, technology has been the main driver of the market.
“We wanted better solutions, and have created a large array of lighting solutions, but this confuses the consumer,” admits Agostino.
As a solution, client-based education has been suggested. “The consumer would benefit from clear educational graphics in the shop, so they understand the benefits of each light.”
At the same time, the consumer might not be enough aware of the energy consumption in his/her own household, due to a lack of transparency, says Stephane Le Gentil, CEO of Etihad Esco.
“Currently people do not measure their consumption. The power grid would form a solution to that. Here, people can see exactly how much they consume, and how this consumption can be influenced.”
The make-up of the electricity bill at the end of the month offers another field of improvement, Agostino adds. “The bill is often complicated with little clarity on the energy used, and how.”