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Ten reasons to change to LED lighting

Author: Glenn Harper
Published: April 29, 2014

The accelerated development of LED lighting in recent years is changing the way we light our homes and businesses. LED is one of the great clean technologies of the early 21st century. If you're unsure how this revolutionary technology can benefit you, we have put together 10 strong reasons for changing your current lighting to LED...

1. Energy efficient

LED bulbs are 80-90% more energy efficient than incandescent lighting and will significantly reduce your energy bills. They are up to 50% more energy efficient than fluorescent lamps. Lighting normally accounts for 20-40% of electricity use in a home or business.

Switching to LED bulbs also reduces your carbon footprint, which means less oil, coal, or gas is burned to produce your electricity, and less carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

A 2014 UN report written by 745 IPCC scientists outlined an urgent worldwide need to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming. This urgency stems from an internationally recognised 2°C global warming target (Copenhagen Accord, 2009). Not meeting the target invites dangerous climate change, according to scientific opinion, affecting human life and large-scale ecosystems.

2. Long life

LEDs have typical 20,000 to 50,000 hour lifespans, which compare favourably to the 1,000 to 2,000 hour lifespans of filament bulbs. They are also 2-3 times longer-lived than fluorescent light sources.

3. Save money

Though they require a higher initial investment, LED lamps or luminaires will often pay for themselves within a year to 18 months. The drastic reduction in energy consumption helps this, of course, but there is also a huge decrease in maintenance or re-lamping costs. Our How much will I save article covers this in more depth.

Cost saving comparison over 25,000 hours
50W Halogen GU10
50W Halogen GU10
5,000 hours Av. bulb life 25,000 hours
£1.13 Bulb cost £2.84
5 No. of bulbs 1
£5.65 Total cost of bulbs £2.84
£150 Running costs £15.00
£162.45 Total costs £17.77


Saving on purchase costs = £2.81
Saving on energy costs = £135.00
Total saving - £137.81
5W=50W LED GU10
5W=50W LED GU10


4. Cool beam

Although LEDs have significant heat sink needs, unlike a filament bulb they do not project IR heat in their beam. This makes LED ideal for lighting heat-sensitive items such as artworks or food. Less heat also means less work for air-conditioning systems, so there are secondary benefits, too. Filament bulbs do not pay for themselves during the winter, incidentally - cooling a room costs more money than heating it!

5. No mercury content

Unlike fluorescent light sources, LEDs have no mercury content. This makes an LED lamp harmless if it breaks, whereas safety procedures are usually advised whenever a fluorescent lamp is shattered. Lack of mercury also makes end-of-life disposal simple in LED lighting, while CFLs and fluorescent tubes are viewed as hazardous waste and require special handling.

6. Dimmable

An increasing number of LED bulbs are fully dimmable, dependent on the built-in LED driver. Once connected to a compliant switch, LED bulbs offer exceptional dimming performance, with maintained energy efficiency and no colour change. Reduction of power in an incandescent bulb affects the colour of its light, giving it a warmer hue. Most fluorescent lighting is either non-dimmable or inferior in dimming capability.

7. No UV emissions

LEDs produce little or no UV, which is especially useful when lighting art, or textiles. Ultraviolet radiation is a major cause of fading in artworks, and is emitted in modest quantities by fluorescent lighting. In combination with lack of IR heat, this makes LED an art-friendly light source!

8. Instant light

Fluorescent lamps often take 2-3 minutes to warm up and reach full brightness. This is not the case with LED lighting, which achieves maximum power instantly!

9. Easily focused

LED lighting is naturally directional, which is especially useful in spotlighting applications. Very little light is spilled outside of the specified beam, or needs redirecting. In bulbs requiring omnidirectional light (e.g. GLS), multiple LED chips are used for widely dispersed light.

10. Colour temperature

Unlike filament bulbs, LEDs are widely manufactured with warm or cool colour temperatures. This has particular benefits in display lighting, where the natural colour of display items or art can be accentuated by a warm or cool light source. Cool white LED spotlights are also useful for task lighting applications (e.g. kitchen), and are unavailable in traditional halogen form.

As previously mentioned, to explore the financial benefits of switching to LED lighting, please take a look at our LED Conversion / How much will I save article.

For more inspiration, advice and news, visit our Lighting Advice section.