6 Top Tips for choosing the right LED lighting
Planning for your best home? Great news … lighting that is high quality, energy efficient and affordable is obtainable, so don’t settle for less.
Here are six things to consider when choosing the right LED lighting that give you the best illumination and value for money.
- Brightness: Contrary to popular belief, the brightness of a bulb has nothing to do with it’s wattage. Instead, look for the lumen output of the bulb. A bulb with a low lumen output will seem dull and will only illuminate a small area, whereas a bulb with a high lumen output will appear bright and illuminate a large area.If you are replacing incandescent or halogen bulbs with low-energy LED alternatives, make sure that you select something with a comparable lumen output. For example, if you’re replacing a 50W halogen bulb, don’t settle for anything less than an LED with an output of 720 lumens.
- CRI: The Colour Rendering Index judges a light source on how accurately it illuminates a colour – how well it makes reds look red or greens look green – when compared to a ‘perfect’ light source with a CRI score of 100. Look for lights that have a high CRI score – recent additions to the market include LEDs with 95CRI – to optimize the colour and detail of interiors.
- Efficacy: Efficacy describes how efficient a lightbulb is at turning electrical energy into light. It is calculated by dividing the lumen output of the light by it’s wattage to give a lumens per watts value. This is the only true way to compare lighting efficiency; it is key to making energy-efficient lighting choices.
- Warranty: As an extra security measure, make sure that the LED lights you invest in come with a warranty. Check what is covered by the policy as some warranties only cover specific parts of the light.
- Product lifetime: Look for lights that have as long a lifetime as possible, but one that’s backed up by proper testing. The IES-LM-80 standard is a reliable benchmark for this.
- Rebates and take-back schemes: Many local governments support rebate schemes such as the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target scheme (VEET) and the Energy Saving Scheme (ESS) of NSW, which enable you to purchase LED lights for less (check out our Liveability Guide to Energy Rebates). Also, more eco-aware LED lighting companies are supporting take-back schemes through which you can return lights to them when they have reached the end of their life cycle. Some even offer monetary rewards for this, so check that the lights you choose support take-back before purchasing.