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Why You Should Replace Halogen Downlights & CFLs with LEDs?

Posted on October 21, 2019 by Pawan Ranta

If you own a house or renting out in Victoria state, there are pretty good chances that you must have stumbled upon the government-sponsored halogen & CFLs to LEDs replacement scheme.  If you still have not switched to energy-saving LEDs just yet, there must have been some compelling reasons.

LED light bulbs are far more superior to the halogens & CFLs, lasting over 10x longer while consuming up to 80% less electricity.

“LEDs are better value for money than incandescent and halogen light bulbs and can be used in the majority of existing fittings. LEDs use about 75% less energy than halogen light bulbs and last 5-10 times longer, greatly reducing replacement costs and the number of light bulbs ending up in a landfill. The up-front cost of LEDs generally has a payback time of less than 1 year. By replacing 10 halogen light bulbs with LEDs, an average household can expect to save around $650 over 10 years on their electricity bill.” 

 — Department of Environment & Energy, Australian Govt.  

Under the Victorian Energy Upgrades program, the state government is helping Victorian businesses and households to cut power bills, save energy and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions(GHGs) that are responsible for climate change. The government’s VEU rebate scheme is providing access to discounted energy-efficient LED products and if you don’t have a solid reason, you should avail the benefits right now.

Of course, you can have a concern that only years back you upgraded from incandescent globes to CFLs – why LEDs now? That’s a valid query, we will try to address in this article. 

For a briefer, this change is to do with two things – one, the development and innovations in lighting technology, and two, the benefits of the Victorian Energy Upgrades program.

Halogen To LED downlight replacement

There is a range of LED downlights being offered by various manufacturers. They come in a variety of designs, colors, and features like dimmable & non-dimmable. While choosing the best LED downlights, you should also consider technical specifications like lumens, color temperature & wattage.

Comparison Of Halogen Vs LED Downlights

Let’s find out which one of two is a better lighting option for your space.

Energy Usage

Power consumption in a house depends on the type of lights used, how often they are switched on and off and the duration they are on for. Consumption can be as high as 80-90%.Illustration of Energy Efficient lighting comparison

LED bulbs generally consume between 7-20 watts per hour. On the other hand, halogen bulbs use anywhere between 35-500 watts an hour to produce the same amount of light. Halogen bulbs can use up to 10 times more electricity when compared to LED bulbs or downlights. Meaning, if you swap your halogen downlights with LED downlights, you can save a significant amount of energy every year.

Longevity

Halogen bulbs generally last approximately 1000-2000 hours, which is very short compared to an LED bulb which comes with an average lifespan of up to 50,000 hours. The initial cost of LED downlights maybe 4-5 higher as compared to the halogen lamps, but if you are getting your old lamps replaced under the VEU program, you might be eligible for a FREE* LED upgrade i.e., you don’t have to pay a single penny for upgrading to LED lights.

Quality

Quality is another major factor in considering LED downlights. LEDs deliver better light quality at a much lower wattage. Plus they don’t produce any heat, so they are a perfect fit for places like the kitchen because the kitchen is the last place you want more heat.

The heat emitted from halogen bulbs not only increases the temperature of a place but also risks of household/workplace fire. On the other hand, LEDs stay cool because they don’t have a filament unlike in incandescent and halogen bulbs.

Advantages Of Upgrading CFLs to LEDs:

The switch can help you save up to 80% on your energy bills.

By replacing halogen and CFL lights with LEDs, you can immediately start reducing your electricity bills by up to 80%. Since, LEDs consume 75% less energy than traditional light bulbs and do not produce any heat (like CFLs and incandescent do) when lit, which leads to energy loss. LED lights consume very little electricity to produce “better” brightness, leading to lesser power bills. Plus, LEDs run on a cool temperature, meaning almost zero energy lost as heat.

The table below compares a 60 watt (W) traditional incandescent with energy-efficient bulbs that provide similar light levels.

Comparisons between Traditional Incandescents, Halogen Incandescents, CFLs, and LEDs
60W Traditional
Incandescent
43W
Energy-Saving
Incandescent
15W CFL12W LED
Energy $ Saved (%) - ~25%~65% when compared
to Halogens
~75%-80% as compared
to incandesent & Halogens
Annual Energy Cost* $4.80 $3.50 $1.20$1.00
Bulb Life 1000 hours1000 to 3000 hours10,000 hours25,000 hours

*Based on 2 hrs/day of usage, an electricity rate of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour, shown in USD. (US Department of Energy

LEDs Lights Have A Long Lifespan

AVERAGE RATED LIFETIME HOURS
IncandescentFluorescentCFLHalogenLED
Range in hours750-2,00024,000-36,0008,000-20,0002,000-4,00035,000-50,000

LED lights, after installation, require very little to no maintenance at all, this is primarily because LED lights have a far longer lifespan. CFL lights have a maximum of 15,000 hours lifespan, whereas LEDs last up to 50,000 hours. Zero heat emission helps in reducing the risk of fire, making them safer to use.

LEDs Lights Are Easy On The Environment

As mentioned, LEDs consume very little energy in comparison to traditional lights. It’s not just this, some LEDs are made from recyclable materials, which ensure they are easier on the environment and help lower your carbon footprint.

LEDs Lights Are Brightest & Have High Intensity

40 WATT BULB 
TypeIncandescentCFLLED
Lumens45024004000

Earlier during the times of Halogens & LEDs, wattage was used to be the criteria for choosing lights based on brightness levels. Its no longer the case now. Now lumen output is the sole factor you should be looking while making a switch from Halogens or CFLs to LED lights. Here is a comparison of Incandescent, CFLs & LEDs based on wattage and corresponding brightness level.

 

LEDs Lights Are More Appealing To The Eye

LED lights are the latest revolution in the lighting industry, which means that the researchers are spending more time in enhancing the performance and raising the aesthetic level. LEDs are more beautiful in design than conventional lights and come with the sleeker and more appealing form factor.

Advantages of VEU scheme

Switch from CFLs to LEDs is imperative in Victoria because the LED product replacement is done under the VEU scheme free of cost for households and at discounted rates for commercial and industrial setups.

What I should know before buying LED lights?

Compatibility

Make sure your replacement LED fits the lighting fixtures at your home. You can take your old lamp to the shop to compare against the metal base of the Incandescent/Fluorescent lamp.

Check what fitting you need (Bayonet/Edison screw base) to install the new lights. Compare the size, shape, and voltage of the old and new lights.

Lumens Rating/Light Output

In the past, we used to buy lightbulbs based on the watt units which is basically an amount of power required by an appliance/equipment to put to operation. When a buyer is going out for a lightbulb(s), he/she wants to choose a light bulb depending on how much light they provide.

LED bulbs produce the same amount of light — when compared with halogens/CFLs — using far less power. That means it no longer makes sense to shop for watts. Using ‘lumens’ is now the way to choose the light you need.
Lumens measure how much light you are getting from a bulb. More lumens means a brighter light; fewer lumens means it’s a dimmer light. Lumens are to light what dozens are to banana and gallons and kelvin is to temperature.

The table below shows the number of lumens (and watts) you should look for in an LED as a replacement for a range of halogen light bulbs.

Incandescent bulb (in Watts)Light output in lumens (220/240 Volts) (LED)LED Bulb in Watts
25 W250 lm3-4 W
40 W500 lm5-8 W
60 W800 lm8 -12W
75 W1100 lm11-17W
100 W1500 lm15-23W

Lumen values are approximate and do vary between manufacturers.  Data Source: energyrating.gov.au

Safety Rating

The Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) demonstrates that the product meets the Australian electrical safety and electromagnetic compatibility requirements and should be visible on the package. In addition, the brand must be registered on the Australian Government National Equipment Registration System. Always look for RCM label on the packaging.

Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) Mark

Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) Mark

Longevity

The lifetime of a LED bulb depends on various factors. Type and quality of the semiconductor material and manufacturing process play a vital part in determining the life of a LED bulb. Look for manufacturers that can back up their lifetime claims, either with testing or certification indicated on the product packaging.

For quality LED products the expected lifetime is somewhere in the range of 15,000 to 30,000 hours, however, some products claim up to 50,000.

Product guarantee

Look for product warranty of at least 2 years for a LED bulb claiming a 15K hours lifetime. The guarantee that a manufacturer is willing to provide is an indicator of gauging & testing product longevity.

Bulb Efficiency

All LED bulbs are not equally efficient.  Look for an energy efficiency rating in lumens per Watt (lm/W) on the bulb and compare with other products. The higher the number, the more efficient the product.

Sometimes efficiency is not marked on the package. In such cases, you can simply divide the lumens ratings by the number of Watts. LED bulbs for most residential uses should be at least 60 Lumen/W.

Colour Temperature

LED lights come in a very wide range of colors. You should choose a light of a certain color temperature based on the functionality of the room/space. Warm white light is considered good for relaxing, whereas cool white is considered good for reading.

Color temperature indicates whether your light source will emit rather “warm” or “cold” light. The lower the number, the “warmer” the color. 2700 K can be described as warm white and 5000 K may be considered cool white.

Color temerature chart of LED light

Colour Temperature is measured in Kelvin (K). LEDs can produce white light in a number of “shades” or “color temperatures”– from warm-white (2700 to 3,300 Kelvin) or cool-white (3,00-5,300 Kelvin) to cool daylight (5,300 to 6,500 Kelvin). The lower the number, the warmer the light appears.

Colour Rendering Index(CRI)

CRI measures or compares (on a scale of 0 to 100) the ability of a light source to faithfully reproduce the color of an object under artificial light. An LED bulb that accurately replicates the sunlight has a CRI of 100. Perfect CRI allows objects to appear clearly, and naturally, and colors to appear real

Color rendering index infograph

                                                    An illustration of CRI. Image: LUX Technology Group.

Surprisingly, halogen and incandescent bulbs, despite their awful energy efficiency, produce a full, natural and excellent light spectrum with a CRI of 100.

A light bulb with a CRI rating of 80+ is good for residential applications. Photographers prefer a CRI rating of 90+ for indoor photography for food photography projects.