Upgrading your lighting to improve home energy efficiency

Although the energy consumption of an individual light bulb contributes only a fraction of your overall electricity use, lighting is in continual use throughout the year (especially during the winter months) and deserves a good deal of attention.

An average home is likely to have at least one or two lights in every room, meaning that collectively lighting accounts for 15% of an average electricity bill.

As lighting is one of the easiest things to replace in your home, it presents a significant opportunity to achieve a noticable reduction in annual energy bills.

Different types of light bulb

There are four main types of light bulb that you might consider in your home or business:

  • Incandescent
  • Halogen
  • CFL (Compact Fluourescent Lamp)
  • LED (Light Emitting Diode)

Incandescent Light Bulbs

incandescent light bulb
Image: PikRepo

‘Old fashioned’ incandescent light bulbs contain a wire filament which is heated to a high temperature so that it glows with visible light (incandescence). It does this with the help of either a vacuum or gas within the glass shell.

In a move towards greater energy efficiency, traditional incandescent bulbs have now been banned within the EU.

Halogen Light Bulbs

Halogen light bulbs are a type of incandescent light bulb which contain halogen gases. These create a chemical reaction that gives halogen bulbs a longer life span than the average incandescent bulb.

As a form of incandescent light bulb, halogens have also been banned within the EU. Retailers are allowed to sell their remaining stocks but are not permitted to buy any more.

Compact Fluourescent Lamps

Photo: UnSplash

Compact Fluourescent Lamps or CFLs are the original energy efficient alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs.

They consist of a glass tube containing a gas which produces light when charged with electricity.CFLs use around 75% to 80% less electricity than the equivalent incandescent bulb and can last up to 10 times longer.

They fit into most light fixtures designed for incandescent bulbs, making them an easy option for energy saving. However, CFLs contain small amounts of mercury vapour and this can pollute air and water if the bulbs are not disposed of correctly.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

LED (light Emitting Diode)Lighting Home improvement - Brighton Hove Energy Services Coop
Image: PikRepo

Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs are light bulbs based on simple solid state electronics. Energy efficient and long lasting, they use up to 90% less electricity than the equivalent incandescent bulb and can last up to 30 years.

LED replacement bulbs are now available for most light fittings and their price has fallen over recent years. As a result, they offer great value for money as a lighting choice. They also produce comparable or better quality light than other options

How do light bulbs affect the environment?

If the electricity that your light bulb uses is produced in a coal fired power station, then a number of pollutants are released into the atmosphere during the generation of that electricity. The main pollutants include carbon dioxide (a contributor to climate change); sulphur dioxide (responsible for acid rain); and nitrogen oxide (responsible for smog). With this in mind, the less energy a bulb uses the better.

Bulb Type

kWh per year

CO2 per year (kg)

Incandescent (60W)



Halogen (42W)



CFL (14W)



LED (9W)



It’s important to remember that the manufacture of light bulbs also uses energy and produces carbon dioxide as a result. LEDs last much longer than other types of bulb so fewer need to be manufactured.

This reduces the amount of energy use and carbon dioxide release at the production stage. An average halogen bulb will last around 2,000 hours, while an LED will last around 25,000 hours. That means you would need to buy over 12 halogen bulbs for every LED.

Both the reduced kWh consumption, and the longer lifetime of LEDs mean money saved and greenhouse gases reduced.

CASE STUDY - Fareshare Sussex

In 2017, BHESCo partnered with Fareshare Sussex, a charity that takes surplus food from local companies and re-distributes it to those who need it.

In order to reduce energy costs and CO2 emissions, BHESCo designed a new LED lighting system. The project was funded through our Pay As You Save finance model, which enables organisations to pay for a project from resulting savings over a number of years.

Fareshare replaced 98 of its old light bulbs with energy efficient LEDs, which were leased to the charity for eight years. After this time, ownership passes to Fareshare which will then benefit from 100% of the cost savings.

The project has reduced the amount of CO2 released into our atmosphere by an average of 6.3 tonnes a year. Reduced energy consumption has also saved Fareshare £1,806 a year during the lease period, and will save £9,302 a year once the lease period is over.

Read more. >>>

Next steps to improving the lighting of your home or business

If you are interested in further steps you could take to improve the energy efficiency of your home or business, please explore the Home Energy Saving section of our website.  You may also want to  book an Energy Survey which will give you a detailed report of how to save energy in your property and the most cost-effective ways of doing this.

If you have any questions, please email us at: info@bhesco.co.uk or call us on: 0800 999 6671.