Bright Ideas… Energy Saving Light Bulbs

In 2007 when the British Government announced that incandescent light bulbs were to be phased out by 2011, the compact fluorescent and LED alternatives were not really up to scratch. Fortunately both the technology and the design have advanced so investing in an energy saving bulb no longer means putting up with ugly, bulky bulbs, slow start-up times and cold light tones.

Plumen‘s Designer Low Energy Lightbulb is beautiful. So beautiful in fact that it seems a shame to hide its sculptured form beneath a lampshade…

PLUMEN BULB LOOP from Plumen on Vimeo.

The award-winning Plumen 001 was designed by Hulger and Samuel Wilkinson. It is a compact fluorescent and does therefore contain traces of mercury, which is toxic. However this is true of all compact fluorescent bulbs and if properly disposed of, it is still a far better option than its incandescent ancestor. Plumen claim that their bulbs will save you 80% on your energy bills and last 8 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb.

Plumen 001 lightbulb Bright Ideas... Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Images: Plumen

LED lighting is a low power, mercury and lead free alternative to incandescents. There are a wide variety of LED bulbs available but this one caught my eye:

Philips’ AmbientLED bulbs look a bit like a spaceship attachment. Fortunately they also fit standard household light fittings. The AmbientLED reduces energy consumption by 80 percent, last 25 times longer and will save an estimated $160 in electricity costs during its lifespan as compared to the traditional 75-watt incandescent. The 12.5 Watt model is the equivalent brightness of a 60 Watt incandescent bulb, the 17 Watt model is brighter yet and ideal for bright, task-lighting. Unfortunately Philips’ AmbientLED bulbs do not appear to be available in the UK, hopefully they are on their way.

Philips AmbientLED bulb Bright Ideas... Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Images: Philips

How many lightbulbs would it take to change the world? Well, Philips estimates that “about 90 million 75-watt incandescent light bulbs are sold annually in the United States. Switching to this LED replacement has the potential to reduce energy use by 5,220 megawatts of electricity, a cost savings of approximately $630,000,000 annually. According to Philips’ estimates, switching to the 17-watt AmbientLED could also eliminate 3,255,205 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually, or the equivalent of removing nearly one million cars from the road.” That is a HUGE saving, whichever way you look at it.

What could be better than cutting your lighting bill by 80%? How about not having to pay at all. Solar powered lighting is progressing and combined with great design is capable of more than just leading you up the garden path!

The newest addition to IKEA’s Solvinden solar lighting range is a solar and wind powered pendant light. Designed by David Wahl the light retails at £24.99. Recharging time is 9 to 12 hours in sunlight, longer on a cloudy day, or 24 hours with a wind speed of 4 m/s. Once fully charged the unit will provide 12 hours of light. I hate wires, so the portability of solar powered lights is fantastic.

Ikea Solvinden Bright Ideas... Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Images: IKEA

Ikea have also developed the Sunnan tablelamp. A simple lamp design with a removable solar charging pack, meaning that you can position it in sunlight to recharge and then slot it back into the light for use. For every Sunnan solar lamp sold, the IKEA Foundation donates one to UNICEF and Save the Children to help children in India and Pakistan play, read, write and study after dusk.

These are just some examples of where great design and technology have combined to make energy efficient lighting functional, beautiful and money saving. Not a common combination. Upgrade today!