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From the blog

Have you fitted your LEDs yet?


David S Dixon, local business consultant and PECT member with a long-standing interest in the environment, talks to PECT about the benefits of LED lights.

PECT: We hear you’ve been installing LED lights in your office and home. Are you pleased with them?

David Dixon: Yes, I’m delighted. They’ve already started to save me money and, what’s more, they are truly great for the environment. I have been using various so-called energy saving lights for years, but these are much better.

PECT: So is it a simple switch over – out with the old, in with the new?

DD: Well no, it’s not quite like that. There are a few things you need to find out first, but it isn’t difficult and soon you can be enjoying all the benefits of much better and cheaper lighting.

PECT: What sort of things do you need to know?

DD: Well the first, and I think most important thing I learned is that LEDs use about one eighth of the power of old incandescent bulbs. Well, actually they are electric lamps really, not bulbs, the bulb is just the glass dome that we used to be familiar with that surrounded the white-hot filament.

PECT: So less power is needed to feed less watts, meaning less consumption?

DD: Exactly. So look here’s a simple chart* below of comparative energy use, LEDs do vary just a little, but this is a pretty good guide. A lumen is a standard measure of light intensity, or brightness. It is a more helpful and accurate measure than using watts. You can often see it printed now on packaging for electric lamps. You can sometimes find different lumen ratings for lamps of the same wattage, so be careful, but simply go for the highest lumens if you want a brighter lamp.

Lamp type

220+ lumens

400+ lumens

700+ lumens

900+ lumens

1300+ lumens


4 watts

6 watts

10 watts

13 watts

18 watts

CFL (Compact
Fluorescent Lamp)

6 watts

9 watts

12 watts

15 watts

20 watts


18 watts

28 watts

42 watts

53 watts

70 watts

Standard (incandescent)

25 watts

40 watts

60 watts

75 watts

100 watts

*Source: Which? Magazine, Consumers’ Association

PECT: Are we right in saying that savings don’t only come from reduced energy consumption?

DD: Yes, the lamps last around 25 years so you are not constantly replacing them, you can almost “get ‘em and forget ‘em!” This is where another significant part of the saving comes in.

PECT: Energy saving lights have a reputation for taking ages to brighten up after switching on. Are LEDs the same?

DD: No, they’re not. I also noticed some of the energy saving lights in my office getting dimmer over time. But LEDs come on when you switch them on – simple. LEDs may seem expensive initially but the long-term savings are considerable, so it is a really good investment. Like anything new, prices have been high at first, but new supplies are coming onto the market and LEDs are becoming much more readily available. Prices are definitely coming down, so shop around.

If you are worried about the initial cost, install them gradually, a few each month, but don’t just wait until the old ones “die” as you can start making savings immediately. Your best bet is to replace the lights you use most frequently with LEDs to optimise your savings.

You see LEDs recommended on DIY and design TV programmes and not just individual LED lamps, but also in strips that can be joined together, tapes and zone lights. Some are even waterproof or in various colours, so the choice is huge. We have a bar of four spotlights over a dining table and I have selected LEDs that are dimmable. It is great to be able to choose the intensity of the light.

PECT: So how much can you save then? Is it easy to work it out?

DD: That, of course, all depends on what you are replacing with LEDs. If you compare with old fashioned standard incandescent lamps, typically you will save around £180 over the life of each LED lamp. Local business in the Peterborough areas such as offices, restaurants and other large and small enterprises are already saving hundreds of pounds on their electricity bills.

PECT: What do you need to think about when converting to LEDs then?

DD: Well first you need to think what fitting the lamp has. Is it a traditional bayonet, or screw, or does it have little pins. So check the type, and the size of the fitting, take the old lamp to the shop if you need. You also need to estimate the wattage, or better the lumens, for the lamps you are buying.

At present many homes use halogen lamps, often a GU10. These give a warm white light. Perhaps surprisingly then, you will now need to think about what colour of light you want as you are now likely to have an option. At home for living rooms and bedrooms you may want a warm white, whereas in an office or for a shop, or may be for a kitchen or bathroom, you may want a natural white light. The warmer light will have some yellow in it, whereas the whiter lights, which burn at a higher temperature, have blue in them. This is measured in degrees kelvin.

What’s more, not all LEDs are dimmable, so make sure if your fitting is connected to a dimmer, you’ll need dimmable LEDs – just check.

PECT: Where can you get LEDs from?

DD: LEDs are now widely available in DIY centres, electrical retailers, supermarkets and, of course, online. They can also be bought at the specialist trade stockists in Peterborough.

Be positive, buy one and try it out. If we all used them in Peterborough it would save our city many hundreds of thousands of pounds every year. Just think what that means for our pockets and the environment!