The “Low Down” on Down Lighting
Gone are the days when every room was lit by a large yellow bulb, hanging from a wire and covered by a curiously stained lampshade. With technological developments in lighting, there is now an endless spectrum of possibility for creating the desired mood in each room of the house. Hanging wall lights, under cupboard lights and spot lights are providing the opportunity for lights to be fun as well as functional. It is the increase in down lighting however, especially in kitchens and bathrooms, which has seen some serious developments in the bulbs which suit this purpose. The GU10 bulb is the most commonly used type for down lights as it is shaped to create a high intensity directional light, making it ideal for modern functional lighting.
In an increasingly environmentally conscious society, people are also looking for eco-friendly lighting which is also energy efficient and cost-saving. The original GU10 bulbs are halogen based, which do save 30% of the energy used by incandescent bulbs but only last 1500 hours (less than 200 days’ worth when used for 8 hours per day). Therefore the frequent replacement costs will accumulate and may detract from the energy saving costs. Fortunately they are still quite cheap, at roughly £1 per bulb in a pack of 5, but with other even more energy efficient options, the halogen bulb may soon be phased out.
Currently many households are making use of the energy saving CFL (compact fluorescent) GU10 bulbs, which use 80% less power and last anything between 8,000 and 15,000 hours – considerably more than the halogen variety. There are some limitations to these lights though, which don’t always slot easily into standard fittings due to discrepancies in size. Also the standard CFL bulb is not dimmable and a specialised bulb must be purchased when using a dimmer switch. At £3-4 per bulb they are slightly pricier than halogens but with extensive savings on electricity and replacement costs this is hardly a disadvantage.
The up and coming bulb which may eventually replace all other GU10’s in the down lighting range is the LED GU10 bulb, which makes use of a number of light emitting diodes to create an equivalent brightness while using a fraction of the energy. A 7 watt LED emits 350 lumens (plenty for domestic lighting) and is comparable to a 40 watt incandescent bulb or a 28 watt halogen. This saves up to 90% of energy use so running costs will be notably cheaper over long periods. With a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours, the LED GU10 can also last up to 14 years if used for a rather decadent 10 hours each day. The more cautious homeowner who uses the light for just 4 hours a day could see their LED bulb lasting 30 years. The initial high cost, at £15-20 per bulb, would certainly be matched by energy savings over this amount of time.
GU10’s are the standard down lighting bulb, just as perfect for mood lighting in the lounge or bedroom (warm white) as they are for bright rooms like the kitchen or bathroom (warm white). These modern ceiling lights give that smooth, fuss-free appearance and with coloured LED’s available, every room can be personalized and given real character.
Information post on down lighting brought to you by DecoLED, based in the UK
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