Feature

Light up your life

Green Lifestyle

LED lighting Is the poster child of low-energy lighting. We walk you through your new lighting option.

LED-story

LED garden lighting is very effective and can often be solar powered too. We love these balcony lights where the lampshades are upcycled wine bottles.

Credit: thinkstock

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Gone are the days of walking down to the shops to buy a humble, inefficient, incandescent light globes on a regular basis to replace a burnt-out or flickering bulb. The world has moved on to alternative options such as fluorescent, tungsten and halogen lighting – and now LED (light emitting diode) lighting has appeared on the scene.

LED’s ability to light spaces effectively using considerably less power than traditional lighting methods has seen its adoption by businesses around the world, with department stores and large warehouses retrofitting LED lighting into their spaces.

LEDing the way

LED technology has been around for some time, but is a relatively new entry to the lighting sector.
With a lifespan of up to 15 years, LED lighting is 100 per cent recyclable, mercury-free and uses up to 86 per cent less energy than other forms of lighting.

Using the same technology as television remote controls, LED lighting generates electroluminescence via a semi-conductor that converts electricity into bright, white light.

Benefits

With these impressive credentials, it’s no wonder that LED is rapidly becoming the preferred form of lighting for many. The low running costs, durability and environmental advantages make it an attractive option for homes and businesses seeking to reduce their environmental impact and avoid high energy bills, now and well into the future.

Once only considered suitable for industrial and commercial application, LED is now a viable option for the home due to product developments that have created dimmable, warm and cool light options (instead of the stark, somewhat unattractive white light that used to be the only available form of LED lighting). Many Australian home owners are now looking at retrofitting LED lighting into their homes, or building a new home with LED lighting incorporated into the plan.

Limitations & solutions

While LED lighting has many advantages, it isn’t without its pitfalls. Attracting a higher price point than traditional lighting, the initial set-up costs of LED lighting can be a major drawback. Despite the cost savings down the track, the initial outlay means LEDs remain out of reach for many.

In an effort to make LED lighting more accessible to the whole community, cherryLED (www.cherryled.com.au) has collaborated with Diamond Energy (www.diamondenergy.com.au). Instead of having to pay for the lights and their installation first, Diamond Energy customers can now receive a complete LED lighting upgrade and pay that cost back via monthly repayments.

“The average payback for an LED lighting upgrade is around two years. While this is fast compared to other technologies, it’s still too slow for someone who’s really struggling to pay their bills,” Wright says. “Now we can help everyone live more sustainably, not just those with cash to spare.”

Local light givers

To encourage more Australians to adopt energy-efficient lighting in their homes and businesses, some state governments have set up rebates, grants and other schemes. The schemes vary between states, but it’s worthwhile researching them to see if a rebate applies to you.

A homeowner’s experience

LED is an attractive option, but what is its performance like? Sydney business owner Peter Johnston installed LED lighting in his new home and office space. An innovative warehouse conversion located in the inner-Sydney suburb of Chippendale, the high ceilings and depth of space gave Johnston the right framework and opportunity to install LED lighting.

While it wasn’t possible to light the entire space with LED, it’s used in a significant proportion of his home and office, including the bathroom, some parts of the bedroom, kitchen and office, as well as floor lighting, feature lighting and outdoor areas.

“I wanted to incorporate as much LED as I could. When I was making the decision, I was aware that not all of our lighting could be LED due to the ceiling height of the warehouse space. We just wouldn’t get the power from LEDs to light all of the space effectively. Had it been the case, we would have used them in the entire house,”Johnston says.

His choice of LED was influenced by environmental and economic factors, but he adds that he loves the long lifespan of LED lighting: “I hate changing bulbs.  For that reason alone I would switch everything to LED if I could. Of course, I love its environmental performance as well.”

TIPS:

– Remember to turn off the lights when you leave a room. It’ll save you money on electricity, and lower carbon emissions.
– Clean your light fittings and lamps often, so that the light shining through isn’t hidden by dust and dirt.
– Install movement sensors so outdoor lights switch on only when needed.
– Paint your walls with paler paint. Dark colours absorb more light, increasing the amount of energy needed to produce the same amount of light in the room.

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If you're convinced about the benefits of LEDs, and keen to switch to more efficient lighting, check out our Buyer's Guide to LEDs.