New bulbs 'save $20 each a year'

By Amelia Wade

Research finds energy-efficient lights lasting longer and producing more light than incandescent equivalents.

The testing found the best models, those carrying the blue Energy Star mark, were the most energy efficient, durable and reached full brightness quickly. Photo / APN
The testing found the best models, those carrying the blue Energy Star mark, were the most energy efficient, durable and reached full brightness quickly. Photo / APN

New Zealanders can save $20 a year for every incandescent bulb they replace with one that's energy-efficient, research has found.

And at $6.50 for a standard compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), the bulb will pay for itself through reduced power bills in less than four months.

An investigation by Consumer NZ found most CFLs even produced more light than standard bulbs and last much longer.

The magazine bought 19 CFLs - 14 were 20W, four 18W and one was 19W. Two were put into a special test rig and the research compared the total light output of each model with the averaged light output from five 100W incandescent bulbs of different brands.

The testing found the best models, those carrying the blue Energy Star mark, were the most energy efficient, durable and reached full brightness quickly.

Consumer NZ said it was advising shoppers to look for lumens rather than wattage on energy-efficient light bulbs' packaging.

Lumens measure the bulb's light output while wattage only states how much energy the bulb is using to create light - for example, a 100W standard incandescent has a typical light output of 1600 lumens.

"Our new research shows the quality of energy-efficient light bulbs has improved," said Sue Chetwin, chief executive of Consumer NZ.

"For its extra cost, a good quality CFL will repay you with a long life. The longer the CFL lasts, the more money you save."

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) said advances in lighting meant there was a range of efficient light bulbs available for most situations and that changing old incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient ones was a simple and effective way to reduce electricity use.

EECA lighting programme manager Bill Brander said lighting made up about 12 per cent of a home's electricity bill and said people could save $20 a year every year for each incandescent bulb they replaced with an energy-efficient light bulb.

"Kiwi homes typically only have energy-efficiency light bulbs in a quarter of their fittings - and one in 10 has no energy-efficient light bulbs at all," he said.

Cost effective

* A standard compact fluorescent lamp will pay for itself through reduced power bills in less than four months.

* Kiwis can save up to $20 a year for every incandescent bulb they replace with one that's energy-efficient.

* On packaging look for lumens which measure the bulb's light output. Wattage only states how much energy the bulb is using to create light.

- NZ Herald

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