Types of lighting
Incandescent light bulbs are the most commonly used - they are inexpensive to buy, but last only 1,000 hours and have high running costs. They are recommended for infrequently used rooms.
Compact Fluorescent lamps
Compact Fluorescent lights are the most energy efficient form of lighting. They are more expensive to buy, but much cheaper to run - compact fluorescent light bulbs can save you $50 per bulb over the life of the bulb. They also last from 8,000 to 16,000 hours, around ten times longer than incandescent bulbs.
Compact Fluorescent light bulbs are designed to fit into conventional light sockets (bayonet and Edison screw fittings). They are ideal for rooms where lighting is required for long periods of time, such as in the living room or kitchen. When used in rooms where the lights are frequently turned on and off, such as in a bathroom, their lifespan can be somewhat reduced.
Tubular fluorescent lamps
Also known as tube lights (available as straight or circular tubes), tubular fluorescent lamps are also very energy efficient. They are more expensive to buy but cheap to run and last from 8,000 to 16,000 hours. Ideal for kitchens garages and workshops.
Halogen lights are twice as energy efficient as standard incandescent globes. They are more expensive to buy but last up to 2000 hours (they require a transformer). However, as they provide a beam of light, they aren't suitable for general lighting (several would be needed to adequately light a room). They are best suited for highlighting features such as a painting on the wall.
Solar lighting can be useful when lighting is required at a great distance from electrical circuits e.g. driveways, gardens. Solar lights produce electricity via a solar panel during daylight hours and store it in a battery for use at night. They provide up to eight hours of lighting if installed in a sunny location, and are available from solar equipment retailers and specialised lighting stores.
The following table shows the comparative costs of lighting. Note that halogen lights do not provide a good spread of light (which is why they are best suited for spotlights or highlights) and several may be required to adequately light up a room.
| ||20 watt compact fluorescent ||65 watt quartz halogen *||100 watt incandescent |
Running costs **
(8000 hours ***)
|$22 ||$70 ||$108 |
| Purchase cost 4 ****||$5 - $20 ||$5 ||$1 |
| Average life||8000 hours ||2000 hours ||1000 hours |
| Total costs (8000 hours)||$27 - 42 ||$90 ||$116 |
* include power consumed by the transformer
**running costs are based on a tariff of 13/5c/kWh
*** a compact fluorescent light used for 4 hours a day should last for over 5 years
****approximate retail cost
Page last updated: 27 February 2011