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A guide to LED lighting

In this series of retrofit measures blogs, we’ll be explaining different retrofit measures which can improve the energy efficiency of homes – reducing energy usage to cut energy bills and carbon emissions, and improve the comfort of your home.

We’ll include information on how the measure works, what types of homes it may be right for, what installation looks like, and more. In this post we’re looking at switching to LED light bulbs.

Want us to cover a particular measure? Drop us an email to and we’ll see what we can do.

What are LED light bulbs?

Lighting accounts for 15% of a typical UK home’s electricity bill, and something as simple as changing  your lightbulbs to a more energy efficient option can reduce this significantly – usually Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), as well as Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs).

How do LED light bulbs work?

Traditional light bulbs, also known as tungsten filament, incandescent or GLS (General Lighting Service) bulbs were invented more than 100 years ago and are extremely inefficient, converting only around 5% of the electricity used into light. Halogen lightbulbs are also common and also use filament technology but run at a slightly higher temperature and so are slightly more efficient. These are commonly found in spotlight fittings – often used in high quantities in a room.

LEDs allow electricity to flow through them in one direction to produce a small amount of light. Bulbs for domestic use contain a large number of LEDs so that a bright enough light is emitted. They are significantly more efficient than traditional or halogen lightbulbs – and LED replacements are available for most light fittings, as well as being very cheap.

CFLs use gas inside a glass tube which is charged with electricity until it glows and gives off light. They last much longer than traditional light bulbs and are much more efficient. They are useful for replacing standard light fittings, but not spotlight bulbs.

What types of home do LED light bulbs suit?

No matter what type of home you live in, replacing inefficient light bulbs is a great way to improve your energy efficiency – reducing energy bills and carbon emissions.

What are the expected costs and savings?

Replacing a single halogen light bulb with an LED of the same brightness will save you up to £2 per year. That may not sound like much – but start adding up how many bulbs you have in your whole home, and it will start to add up to a significant amount for such a simple action. By replacing all bulbs in your home with LED alternatives, you could save about £40 a year on your electricity bills, according to the Energy Savings Trust.

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