Some lights in the home can’t be ‘greened’ by simply exchanging the bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lamps. Two of the most popular light fittings in our house use halogen bulbs and when I looked into it a couple of years ago there simply wasn’t a more eco friendly solution available at a reasonable price. Now that’s changed – LED lighting alternatives have gotten cheaper and more abundant.
We have a set of three 12V, 20W, G4 halogens integrated into some kitchen units above the sink/cooker/microwave/kettle. They tend to get left on because they provide enough light to see by as you walk in or out and plenty of light where you need it for making a drink or cooking something up. Because these run at 12V it was necessary to replace the electronic transformer driving them for one that’s compatible with the LED units, but it was a simple exchange.
60W for a couple of hours a day isn’t a huge amount in the scheme of things and the LEDs reduce that almost tenfold so leaving them on isn’t an issue at all and judging by their quoted life blown bulbs won’t be a problem during my lifetime either. Convenient and eco-friendly.
Moving into the living room we have a lamp stand that consists of an uplighter with a reading lamp on a flexible stalk. The uplighter weighs in at a fairly hefty 300W and the reading lamp a less ravenous 40W. As a result we tended to use the 40W bulb until it blew a couple of months ago.
Getting the 230V replacement bulbs was easy, a 10W LED unit in place of the 300W linear halogen and a 5W G9 for the reading lamp, but both were controlled by a dimmer switch which complicated things considerably. LED lighting units are rarely compatible with existing dimmer circuits and I thought I might have to retire the whole lamp stand rather than reuse it. That would certainly be the outcome in most cases, however, thanks to a previous life in electrical engineering it was possible to utilise just the on\off function in the dimmer switches.
So now we have some truly modern lighting we can use whenever we want without worrying about wasting energy.