Energy Saving Halogen GU10
The widely used GU10 is a mains powered 2-pin spotlight, and is available in halogen, energy-saving halogen, CFL, or LED forms. The possible applications are many, including accent spot lighting, display lighting, artwork lighting, mood lighting, and shop window illumination. The types of fittings that accept a GU10 are equally as varied.
Energy-saving halogen v regular halogen
Energy-saving halogen performance is often compared with regular incandescent bulbs where both technologies exist or existed in the same form. If we were being cynical we might believe this is because it produces slightly higher figures than a comparison with regular halogen! Whatever, it can be confusing. In a GU10 the contest is with basic halogen technology, but how is power consumption curbed in energy-saving halogen bulbs?
Energy-saving halogen earns its name based on its possible use of the following:
- If a more efficient halogen gas is used than the usual argon, the filament burns more brightly, thus allowing a like-for-like reduction in power usage.
- Reflecting infra-red heat inside the halogen capsule also allows the filament to burn more brightly, again resulting in lower power consumption for the same output.
The net result of these improved halogen bulb designs is usually an improvement of around 20-30% in energy efficiency over a regular halogen bulb. In some extreme instances the figure is claimed to be markedly higher. Where this comparison is specifically made between energy-saving halogen and regular halogen technologies, you may assume the figure to be around 10% greater in any regular incandescent comparison. Basic halogen technology is slightly more energy-efficient than older incandescent lighting.
Quality of light
The perceived brightness of halogen lends itself well to detail-orientated tasks such as needlecraft, or reading. Halogen lighting is usually a fairly warm light, but at the same time its colour-accuracy is peerless, except by comparison to the original incandescent technology. This is because it produces a continuous spectrum of light, as opposed to the discontinuous spectrum of LED or fluorescent. In essence, that means the colours it illuminates will always be represented in the light itself, which is important in colour accuracy. Other light sources are less reliable in that sense. That’s the reason that halogen is often the base-technology in high end artwork displays or for critical graphics or photo proofing.
Spoiling the mood a little, although halogen is relatively a very cheap technology to invest in initially, it’s also extremely power-thirsty. So your intended use for the bulb is critical to any kind of budget constraint. Perhaps it’s a viable expense for a temporary display but less prudent as a long-term, always-on form of light. An LED equivalent will last around 15 to 25 times longer whilst drawing up to 90% less power. With that in mind, any long term or continuous use will quickly see a return on an elevated upfront investment. Energy-saving fluorescents offer similar advantages at a lesser cost but typically have around half the life span of LED and use twice the power.