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Buying Guides - Energy Saving Advice

Published: July 26, 2011

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With environmental issues becoming a greater global concern, governments and individuals everywhere are increasingly looking for ways to increase their awareness and decrease their carbon footprint. Coupled with spiraling energy prices, both ethical practices and budgetary restrictions are making people everywhere take more notice of consumption and the ways in which it can be reduced.

Cut Costs & Help the Environment

Here at Lyco we purposely source a wide range of products offering the best available energy ratings and we also try to ensure our customers are suitably informed about the items that offer the best comparative savings. This section is dedicated to giving you a more detailed insight into the ways in which you, your family and even your company can help lower your energy consumption and cut costs.

Energy Saving Products

From electric appliances to the choice of lightbulbs used in your light fittings, everything can contribute towards your overall energy usage. Our range of guides are designed to help customers drive down those energy bills and subsequently decrease your environmental impact; effectively killing two birds with one stone, and all without having any significant outlay of time or cash. So if youre looking for a little inspiration on how to go green and cut costs look no further than right here at Lyco.

Reducing Energy Bills

Many homes and businesses have been hit by the hikes in energy bills over the past few years, leading some to seek ways in which to reduce their consumption and therefore limit the impact of these rises in costs. Fortunately alternatives are available in abundance these days; whether its as simple as replacing standard incandescent bulbs with energy-saving options, or something a little more complex, such as creating alternative electricity sources, such as wind powered turbines or solar panels, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Energy Saving Lighting

Lighting is often one of the biggest issues when it comes to energy wastage. With homes, offices and factories up and down the country using lights at various times throughout the day, energy consumption can soon add up. In some industries lighting is essential throughout the day for health and safety reasons, however even where light fittings are in constant use, there is always room to make savings.

Efficient, Long-lasting LEDs

The first, and possibly most obvious change is to the light bulbs themselves. There are low-energy alternatives to a wide variety of conventional, and even some more specialist light bulbs and lamps available. LED bulbs are one such example; providing effective and long-lasting lighting, this hugely efficient solution has become a popular alternative for a number of normal light fittings such as spotlights and GU10 downlights. Requiring only a couple of watts to function fully and lasting up to 50,000 hours, LEDs are a modern lighting solution that could help you make savings both now and in the future.

Versatile Low Energy Light Bulbs

CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) bulbs have been available for a good number of years. The modern incarnations are becoming even more energy efficient and providing an extended life-span, to help further boost your own overall efficiency. Designed as a like-for-like replacement for incandescent light bulbs, they are designed for Bayonet and Screw fittings, offer varying light colour levels and come in a selection of styles and sizes to fit most areas.

Always check energy ratings on any light bulbs you purchase. At Lyco we always include this rating information to better help your decision. In essence it is a rolling scale of efficiency based around a simple colour-coordinated lettering system running from dark green A (the most efficient) through to Red G (the least efficient).

Most CFL, LED and other purposely energy-saving light bulbs fall into the A category; which effectively means that they can be anywhere up to 90% more efficient than an incandescent bulb. Not only do these bulbs save money on your bills now, theyll also reduce maintenance costs in the future thanks to their elongated lifespan; so they really do provide an accessible and extremely viable alternative to traditional bulbs.

Maintain a Comfortable Temperature for Less

Another major cause of excess energy usage is often heating. Buildings, particularly larger offices, shops and factories, use a great deal of energy, be it gas or electricity, maintaining a comfortable working temperature. Due to various legislations and of course employee satisfaction, many businesses have to ensure that the temperature remains at a decent level throughout the year, which can either mean pumping in warm air during the winter and air conditioned cool air in summer.

Obviously where rules and regulations dictate, and where employees health and well-being are concerned, you cant cut corners in heating; therefore other avenues need to be explored in order to reduce bills. As with homes, insufficient insulation is often a cause of heat-loss, so this is something to be considered. Obviously, its not viable for many places to start overhauling large parts of the building in order to install insulation; but this can provide a long-term solution to energy bill woes, despite initial cost and upheaval.

Eradicating Drafts from Doors & Windows

Windows are another culprit in energy wastage. Most modern buildings have incorporated UPVC double or triple glazing, which provides excellent heat retention; however where older windows are still in place and sealant has been worn out, a new installation could well provide an effective solution.

Drafty doors can also be a nuisance. Where they are being left open constantly you might consider internal or external door closers. These relatively cheap additions automatically close the door at a pace that is adjustable after a person enters or leaves the room, ensuring only a minimal amount of warmth escapes.

Energy Saving Heaters

Where you are perhaps only using a few rooms, or a limited space at any one time, you may not require heat or cooling throughout the entire building area. In these instances you may simply require a standalone electric heater. There are dozens of heaters, dehumidifiers and air conditioners available, each one serving a different purpose and ideally suited for a range of situations. From the standard convector heater that emits constant, adjustable warmth to a powerful workshop heater that provides high temperature pulses to warm up cold airy spaces.

Where individual rooms and areas cant control their climate individually, a heater can really help drive down energy costs. Relatively low operating costs and the flexibility to be moved around and used only when necessary, make them an invaluable resource for many homes and businesses throughout the country. Here at Lyco we offer a full selection of heaters for every purpose, so to start cutting down your energy bills now, check out our extensive range.

Long Life & Low Energy

When you're using lights almost constantly, replacement bulbs and energy usage can really start to put a hole in your budget. Some businesses require round the clock lighting; this is particularly prevalent in hotels and other public buildings that have 24 hour occupation. In this type of environment it is of greater importance to ensure that each lamp lasts as long as possible and can run to optimal efficiency, without of course undermining lighting standards.

Save Time, Money & the Environment

Purchasing a long life bulb or lamp may initially set you back a little more than if you were to go for the standard filament based incandescent alternative, however this will usually more than pay for itself over the course of its lifetime. In maintenance alone, the extra long life of a fluorescent or LED lamp will help reduce costs and time wastage as they wont have to be replaced for years. Whilst in a home environment this may not be the biggest overriding factor, in the workplace where lighting can be in awkward places and there could be literally hundreds of bulbs to service, it reduces the maintenance workload significantly.

Low Energy Lighting Solutions

Combining longevity with low energy consumption provides the perfect balance for any ecologically minded individual or company. Requiring only a fraction of the energy of a traditional filament bulb, you can really enjoy some significant savings. CFL bulbs and other fluorescents can function using up to 80% less power, which equates to a big boost for both your finances and green credentials. The diversity of the modern energy saving bulbs has helped to drive down costs; established companies like GE and Sylvania are competing with new light bulb manufacturers, all of whom produce fantastic quality bulbs that will last year after year.

There are a few select situations where low energy bulbs cant replicate the colour accuracy of its traditional alternative; however these really are few and far between these days. With an increased drive to be environmentally aware and cut down our impact on the earth and its resources, light bulbs are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make a difference.

Improving your Green Credentials

In the age of off-setting and huge companies such as BT, Kingfisher and Philips vying for recognition as global leaders in the push for carbon neutral status, businesses and homes across the country and throughout the world are exploring every available avenue for reducing energy wastage. Financially and ecologically long life and low energy lamps are a giant leap forwards and doubtless the already fantastic technology will continue to improve, both in terms of efficiency and in variety.

Low Voltage Lighting Alternatives

With energy prices soaring and environmental issues becoming of increasing importance to individuals and companies around the world, many of us are looking at ways in which we can reduce our consumption. Lighting is an integral part of daily life; whether its in the workplace or at home we need to maintain constant levels to ensure safety. To avoid stumbling around in the darkness and causing endless damage, we have to find viable lighting alternatives that provide exceptional coverage whilst using only a fraction of their outmoded predecessors.

Choosing Fluorescent Bulbs over Filaments

Manufacturers have been working tirelessly to find the perfect balance between energy consumption and optimum lighting levels. As the technology has developed, prices have continued to lower and the variety of low energy alternatives has steadily increased. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) paved the way for energy saving lighting in the work place and home, providing a viable alternative to traditional incandescent filament bulbs. Featuring a longer life and up to 80% greater efficiency they really helped to kick start the low energy lighting revolution.

The technology for CFL bulbs is certainly nothing new, with the modern incarnation being developed in the 1970s; although even this model actually drew inspiration from a photographic aid developed by Peter Cooper Hewitt way back in the 1890s. In the decades that have since past, the designs have become increasingly streamlined, the cost has dipped vastly and the range of alternatives is unceasing.

Increasing Diversity of Fluorescent Lamps

Fluorescent remains one of the most popular energy saving lighting solutions, with bulbs found in offices, factories and homes throughout the world. Developments in their manufacturing processes has allowed for a far greater range of colouration, including a reduction in the crisp white lighting that they became known for, to better reflect a more traditional softer shades of an incandescent bulb. The shapes, sizes and fitting types have also been broadened to incorporate a full spectrum of everyday lighting sources and even some specialist products. With the lowering costs of low energy fluorescent lights and the numerous environmental and financial benefits that are associated with their use, excuses to remain with inferior and inefficient alternatives are few and far between.

Long Life & Low Energy LED Lights

However fluorescent lighting isnt the only source of low energy luminescence. LEDs are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to many traditional lamps and bulbs. With uses as diverse as Christmas lights and car headlights, these powerful little bulbs have revolutionised the low energy lighting options. These long lasting bulbs have been incorporated into a range of domestic and commercial lights, providing a like-for-like replacement for a variety of fittings including halogen GU10 fittings and other spotlights. Requiring as little as 1watt of power and lasting anything up to 50,000 hours, operational costs are extremely low and energy efficiency is unparalleled.

LED Lighting V Halogen

Halogen and LED lights have become two of the leading alternatives to conventional incandescent filament-based bulbs. Featuring a fantastic bright glow, often generated using far less energy than traditional alternatives, they have both become a key part of modern home and commercial lighting solutions. But what is it that differentiates them and, more importantly, which one's right for you?

High Powered Halogen Lighting

Halogen bulbs are an extremely versatile and potentially highly powerful lighting source. Whether used in car headlights or shop downlights, they are powerful enough to illuminate an area with a crisp, clear light, far brighter than any conventional alternative. Halogen lights are commonly used in displays as they are able to provide fantastic colour reproduction. Using a range of reflectors, including the most widely-used dichroic version, halogen bulbs are able to create various effects and produce different levels of lighting strength.

Long-lasting Low Voltage LEDs

LED lights are often used as an alternative to halogen bulbs. Using the same type of reflector technology to spread or concentrate the beams of light, particularly in spotlights, they are a highly effective at producing exceptional lighting solutions. Better still, LEDs have a mind-boggling lifespan, which makes them ideally suited for long-term installations or areas where lights are continually flicked on and off. To back up their longevity, they're also extremely economical both in terms of energy usage and financial outlay; making them a very good environmentally friendly option.

As LEDs are very small - both in stature and luminance - their output individually isn't fantastic, certainly not enough to light a room. Therefore in order to create sufficient light for a viable bulb most utilise a number of individual LEDs strategically clumped together, often with reflectors to boost or concentrate the lights beam.

Versatile Multi-functional Lights

Due to the versatility, longevity and beam strength of both LED and halogen lamps, they tend to each have a variety of specialist uses in order to make full use these qualities. Halogens have become particularly popular as the lighting choice for the lights on modern vehicles, including cars and bikes. They are also an increasingly regular sight on film sets, with high power beams providing perfect floodlighting for outdoor shoots and bright studios. Professionals, including dentists and doctors have also used the fantastic strength in procedures where increased visibility is a blessing.

As alluded to earlier, LED technology is becoming an increasingly popular lighting choice in all manner of environments, mostly due to their excellent lifespan and low running costs. Commercial buildings, including offices, factories and hotels have been quick to snaffle up the economical light bulbs to replace existing fittings. As the diversity of the bulbs increases, so do the range of applications. But regardless of whether being used as a decorative light or a functional candle, they have helped millions save money on energy bills as well as reducing their environmental impact.

Positive Contemporary Lighting Alternatives

So for a low voltage versatile bulb with excellent economy, an LED is hard to beat. They are used in spotlights, candle bulbs and a whole host of other decorative and functional ways, just as halogens are. However halogen lamps tend to be able to offer a far superior direct beam of light, possibly too harsh for a homely environment, but where safety and direct lighting are required it is certainly a highly viable alternative.

In the Office

Low energy lighting can be a benefit anywhere. Whilst the office workspace can utilise it in different ways to the home, it still has the same advantages of reduced energy bills for the company, and a lessened carbon footprint. There are many permanent and semi-permanent solutions. You can install low voltage track or recessed lighting, or you can use low voltage surface mounts, button lights or light bars. In a world ever more conscious of energy-saving, and amidst financial crisis, businesses that can embrace energy-efficient lighting solutions will help to maximise their profits and make their business look better.

Low Voltage Halogen Lamps

Low voltage lamps are the optimum easy-to-achieve low energy lighting solution for your office workspace. Halogen task lamps are specifically designed for your desktop. A lot of low energy lighting systems work by making the lighting lower and less bright; this won't work as well in an office workspace where good lighting is essential. Halogen task lamps are energy-efficient and easily maneuverable, and they illuminate your work in a very strong way. These lamps are available in a large range of sizes, colours and styles, so there'll always be something that suits your office.

Button Lights

Button lights are ideal for the office workspace environment because they can be surface mounted or recessed and are an excellent light source when a small powerful light is needed - such as an office would require. They are low voltage and can be used in conjunction with a dimming system, giving you a wide range of lighting choices when working.

Revolutionary LED Technology

As with compact fluorescent bulbs, LED lighting can provide an outstanding low energy lighting alternative for your office workspace. Since it is likely that you will spend a lot of extended periods of time in your office, it is worth noting that the LED lifespan can reach 50,000 hours continuous use. Being 80% energy efficient in comparison to incandescent bulbs' 10% energy efficiency, the benefits of using LED technology start to add up. They are also very bright, which is necessary for a working environment. Whilst still a developing area in the market, LED technology is being embraced by businesses that are sure to save massively in the future.

In the Home

Low energy lighting can benefit your home in many ways. Not only does it reduce the cost of your energy bills, but it is good for the environment too. Additional advantages are that it is relatively easy to install and actually better suited to a lot of home lighting tasks than regular energy alternatives. There are many ways you can achieve low energy lighting in and around your home.

Landscaping Application

Low energy lighting systems used around the home are ideal for illuminating paths, porches and gardens. The soft, low lighting not only saves you money on your energy bills, but creates an inviting atmosphere too. This means you can enjoy various outdoor activities in the evening without having to worry about the energy consumption of your lights. To achieve this, it is as simple as fitting a low voltage transformer to an already existing outdoor outlet.

Track Lighting & Trim Lighting

Track & trim lighting systems are ideal ways of introducing your home to low energy lighting. Track lighting can accentuate certain architectural areas of your home, as well as giving it an ambient, warm feeling in the evenings. Trim lighting in the kitchen is effective in similar ways. Indoor lighting in this fashion can be fitted by an electrician, who can wire a low voltage transformer into your electrical supply.

Fluorescent Lighting

Fluorescent lighting is far more energy efficient than regular lighting. The average fluorescent tube light can be up to 60% energy efficient. These require that your home is equipped with the ability to house them though. Compact fluorescent bulbs are the easiest way to create low voltage lighting in your home. They save much more energy than incandescent bulbs, are long-lasting and very easy to come by too. Nothing new needs to be installed, and no professionals need to be consulted - you simply purchase the bulbs and fit them as you would any other, then watch your energy bills drop.