What are LED lights?


The most common form of lighting found in modern homes is LED, which stands for Light Emitting Diode. Highly effective with an extended lifespan, LEDs are incorporated into bulbs and fixtures for general lighting applications.

Unlike halogen bulbs, which rely on heating a filament or gas to produce light, LEDs generate light by moving electrons in a semiconductor material. An electrical current passes through a microchip, illuminating the LED and creating visible light.

LEDs don’t burn out or fail like traditional bulbs — instead, they undergo lumen depreciation, which is the gradual reduction of light output (lumens) over time in a lighting source.

The lifetime of an LED bulb is typically expressed in terms of the L70 rating. The L70 rating indicates the number of hours an LED light source can operate before its light output depreciates to 70% of its initial lumens.

Many high-quality LED bulbs have an L70 rating of 25,000 to 50,000 hours or even more. However, keep in mind that actual lifetimes can vary based on factors such as the quality of the LED components.


How are LED lights energy efficient?


LEDs stand out as the most energy efficient form of lighting. The efficiency lies in their ability to dedicate most of their energy to generating light. Less energy efficient lights, such as halogen lights, convert a significant portion of energy into heat. In practical terms, this means that LED lights can use up to 75% less energy to produce the same amount of light as halogen lights.

Furthermore, LED lights are free from hazardous materials like mercury, which is present in some halogen bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). CFLs are the largest category of products containing mercury, and a significant number end up in landfills each year.


How heat is managed in LEDs


Thermal management is typically the most crucial factor in ensuring the effective performance of an LED bulb throughout its lifespan. LEDs employ heat sinks to absorb the heat generated by the bulb and release it into the surrounding environment, preventing overheating and burning out. The lower the operating temperature of the LEDs, the slower the deterioration of light quality, resulting in a longer useful life.


How are LED lights different to halogen lights?


Along with the points mentioned above regarding energy efficiency and environmental impact, LED lights differ from halogen lights in the following ways:

LEDs have a longer lifespan, lasting tens of thousands of hours, compared to halogen bulbs which typically only last around 2,000 hours. This means that LED lights require less frequent replacement, resulting in long-term cost savings and less wastage.

Heat generation
Halogen lights emit a significant amount of heat, which can cause discomfort and pose a fire risk, especially in enclosed spaces. On the other hand, LED lights remain cool to the touch, as they do not emit a significant amount of heat, making them safer to use and far more efficient.

Design flexibility
LED lights come in various shapes, sizes, and colours, offering more design opportunities. They can be easily integrated into existing fixtures or used in unique lighting designs, allowing for creative and customised lighting solutions. Additionally, dimmable lights are available for greater control over your lighting.

Brightness level
Brightness is measured by the initial lumen rating, and the higher the lumen rating, the brighter the bulb. Halogen lights emit about 16-24 lumens per watt, whereas LED lights emit about 90-100 lumens per watt. This implies that you’ll get a much higher brightness level with LEDs than with halogens, even when using a less powerful bulb. For example, a 15-watt LED bulb will be as bright as an 85-watt halogen bulb.

Is replacing halogen with LED easy?
If you are unsure about replacing your lights with LEDs, we recommend considering a few things before making the switch:

Wattage and light output
LED lights have different wattage and light output levels compared to halogen bulbs. Ensure your LED light bulb has a similar or desired equivalent light output (lumens) to meet your needs.

Dimming compatibility
If the existing halogen lights were dimmable, ensure the LED light bulbs you select are compatible with the existing dimmer switch, or consider replacing the dimmer switch with an LED-compatible one.

Transformer compatibility (if applicable)
Some halogen lights operate on low-voltage systems with transformers. Ensure the LED lighting is compatible with the existing transformer or consider replacing the transformer with an LED-compatible one.

If you’re unsure about replacing your lights with LEDs, it is important that you enlist the services of a certified electrician for optimal safety and precision.


How much do LED lights cost to run?


Source: How much does it cost to leave a light on for an hour (Energy Makeovers)


While LED light bulbs have a higher upfront cost than alternative lights, the running costs justify the investment. An average household has their lights on for eight hours daily — a halogen downlight will cost $0.12 to run for eight hours, whereas an LED downlight will cost $0.012 to run.

Across 12 months, each halogen downlight would cost $43.20 to run, whereas an LED downlight would cost $4.15.

Despite the initial expense, the efficiency benefits and extended lifespan of LEDs should result in significant savings in the long run.


You may be eligible for a Green Home Loan


Gateway offers a range of Green Home Loans which reward borrowers living in energy efficient homes. Having LED lights in over 75% of your home along with other energy efficiency features could enable you to qualify for a discounted Green Home Loan.

Find out more about our Green Home Loans here.


More information


The information we’ve provided above is general and should be used as a starting point in your research. If you’d like to learn more about LED lights, see the useful articles listed below: