What is an LED?

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. No filaments heat up, as in traditional lights. Instead the light is created by a smart silicon semi-conductor which glows when electricity passes through.

Why are LED lights more energy efficient than conventional lighting?

LEDs require very little electricity to power up. Their design converts approximately 90% of the electricity they consume into light. In a conventional light the figure is more like 10 – 15%, with the rest of the electricity effectively wasted in lost heat. Our downlight, for example, draws 6 Watts of electricity to light up, compared to the 30 Watts drawn by a traditional halogen down lights. That is a saving in electricity consumption of approximately 80%. This is particularly attractive when the cost of electricity is continually rising.

What’s wrong with other CFL low-energy lighting?

The usual low-energy light technology on the market today is the Compact Fluorescent Light (CFLs). These tend to give off a cold bluey-white light. In effect they are the same technology as the neon fluorescent tubes often found in offices or kitchens, simply engineered to fit into smaller fittings (hence “compact”).

CFL technology is energy-efficient, as it uses less electricity than traditional lighting. However, CFLs contain mercury, phosphor and other toxic materials in measurable quantities – they need these materials in order to function efficiently. They also tend to be made of glass and if they break they are a health hazard from both the glass shards and the mercury traces. 
This makes them risky to handle and expensive to dispose of. In fact as of 2007, consumers MUST employ the services of a properly registered disposal company whenever CFLs are removed.

In addition CFL lights tend to flicker and usually take time to come on – causing health and safety issues. LEDs have none of these problems.

Do the MR16s need new LED drivers or will they work with existing transformers?

They may well work with your existing transformers, but we will only guarantee the performance if we supply the LED driver. LEDs work best when combined with an LED driver.

Will they fit existing holes?

A specification sheet is available for each product which defines the dimensions of the lamp and the fittings. These are designed specifically to fit the existing standard downlight fitting dimensions.

Will they fit existing fittings?

In the main YES. All of our down light bulbs have GU10, B22 or E27 screw fittings which fit standard fittings. Our MR16 low voltage bulbs also fit standard fittings. In order to accommodate considerably more complex electronics as well as the heat sink, some GU10 LED lamps will be a little longer than the standard halogen dichroic lamp. The energy saving is so great that if the lamp does not simply retrofit, we would suggest changing the fitting and installing a fitting with a GU10 conversion kit changing the existing MR16 to a GU10 fitting.

How does the light compare?

LEDs gained a reputation a few years ago for having a weak light output which was often blue in appearance. No longer. We are at the forefront of this technology. There are many lights in our range which are a warm white, simulating the yellow candle light of a halogen lamp. LEDs are able to be coloured precisely – much more precisely than any other lights. There are two ways to achieve this: for a high powered single LED chip, a coloured phosphor is coated on the silicon chip. For a cluster LED, the cluster can include red, green and blue chips. These can be adjusted to match most colours but warm white light is the most popular colour.

Do your lights meet the specifications and recommendations?

Our lights each come with a data sheet setting out their specifications. Minimum lux levels and light output requirements can all be met with our lights.

How does EnergyOptions determine the length of life?

The LED chips and lamps are tested by being overdriven electronically in order to replicate use over a long period. Most manufacturers claim a 50,000 hour life period which is about 5.7 years if the lights are on all of the time. We claim 20,000 hours at full intensity rather than the industry standard of 50,000 and base our calculations for bulb life costs on the 20,000 hours rather than 50,000– we prefer to underestimate rather than make exaggerated claims. Despite this our bulbs and spots are designed to run 50,000 hours.

The LED life equates to the average length of time spent at full brightness. Our lights will actually last for much longer , expect more than 50,000 hours. However the light output begins to dim after 20,000 hours a mix of factors come into play including the electronics that drive the LED. It is accepted that the human eye will begin to notice a difference when the light output decreases to about 70% of its maximum brightness.

What are the guarantees?

This is a necessary feature of an LED light known a s a heat sink the more effective the longer the LED life. They pull the heat away from the LED chips allowing them to work effectively in a cool environment. In reality the aluminium collar makes little difference when the lamp is installed because most bulbs are behind shades or in the ceiling.

So what savings can we expect with LED’s?

Lighting can be expensive. Possibly more so than is obvious at first glance. Often people focus solely on the initial costs of the bulbs. We offer a return on investment calculator to demonstrate the difference in running costs of traditional lights and the LED products. Lighting in the home accounts for between 10 and 15% of power bills so if power that is $30 expect a drop to around $6./p>

Example:

Shop uses lights 10 hours a day
If you have 25 down lights running at 50 Watts each = 1250 Watts. They run an average 10 hours every day = 3650 hours per year.
That is 1250 x 3650 of energy = 4,562,500 Watts per yr = 4562.5 kWh. Using a commercial average electricity cost of 18 cents / kWh = $821.25.

By using LED down lights instead, your 25 x 6 Watt LEDs will now consume 150 W, which, over 3650 hrs x 150watts = 547.5 kWh. At 18cents / kWh that is only $98.55.
Immediately you have made a saving of some 80%. The average cost of electricity may well rise further, in which case the saving will rise accordingly. And there is not just the energy saving – you can add savings with air-conditioners and maintenance. And because LEDs last for 50,000 hours, you do not need to contemplate changing them again for many years.

You can find the answer to any question under the sun on our site or by speaking with us, please call EnergyOptions’ expert on 1300 559 850.