Are LED Bulbs Cheaper to Run? Save Energy with Automatic LEDs
| Reuben Howe
Saving energy is a priority for many of us, with energy companies even rewarding credit to some customers who manage to reduce usage particularly at peak times. Whilst appliances like ovens for cooking dinner and heating for colder nights do have a huge impact on your bill, it's lighting that can be a hidden drain on your wallet.
Some "smart-lights" can be as expensive as 5 pence per hour, per bulb! Learn how it's more than just the bulb type that saves you energy, it's about smart usage and rationing through unintrusive tech.
The Core Debate: LED vs Old-Style
To work out if a bulb is more efficient, and therefore cheaper to run, we need to be able to measure some vital metrics. We need to know how much energy a bulb takes, for how long, and how much that energy would then cost!
The primary metric used to differentiate the new LED bulbs from older High-Energy or CFL bulbs is Wattage. Watts are a measurement of power, which in turn tells us how much electricity is used by the device.
The other measurement that is key is a combination of power and time. We know that power is measured in Watts and time in Seconds, Minutes and Hours. For electricity and particularly use of lights like LEDS, it makes sense to choose hours. Home lighting is often on for hours at a time, after all.
The result is a compound measurement: kWh. This stands for kilowatts per hour, and simply combines the power measurement (Watts) with time measurement (Hours) to tell us how much electricity is being used each hour the device is active.
Therefore, a lower kWh is better. The smaller the Wattage-Per-Hour the better because you'll be using less energy for the same amount of light.
Finally, we need to add the final metric: Price. There are many different averages for the cost of 1kWh based on country and provider, as well as usage during peak times for example.
However, when asking if LED bulbs are cheaper to run, regardless of the individual effects of providers and peak times, the answer is yes. This is because they use less power every minute they are on when compared to other lighting options, and so will naturally produce a lower bill (As bills are calculated based on kWh).
Sometimes you'll see bulbs advertised as "60W Equivalent" or some such. These ratings are meant to illustrate the the bulb gives the same light as a 60W bulb when in reality an LED operates on as low as 18W.
Using KWH to measure your bulb efficiency is therefore more objective, and can help decide on one bulb over another provided you know both will be bright enough.
Optimise Even Further
Simply using LEDs does reduce your electricity usage over filament or other older-style bulbs. However, the journey doesn't end there.
There are other ways to minimise wasted electricity and optimise your lighting to lower your bill. Learn about solar power lights and the huge effect motion sensors have in our previous blogs to make the most of low-power LEDs