Types of light
There are bulbs and lamps on the market to suit every business. Here’s some information to help you decide between the different options.
- Features of energy efficient light bulbs
- Incandescent bulbs
- Halogen bulbs
- Light emitting diodes (LEDs)
- Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
- High intensity discharge (HID) bulbs
- Mercury vapour bulbs
Low-colour temperature light bulbs are described as ‘warm’ because they have more red light. High-colour temperature bulbs are ‘cool’ because they have more blue light.
A bulb’s ability to make objects appear their true colour (as viewed in natural sunlight) is called colour rendering. Rendering ability varies significantly between bulbs from excellent (incandescent and tungsten halogen lamps) to poor (low-pressure sodium lamps).
You can read more about the features of energy efficient light bulbs on our ENERGYWISE website.
Modern, energy saving bulbs have largely replaced the traditional incandescent bulbs, which are cheap, but hot, inefficient and short lived. We don’t recommended these bulbs for any application.
A type of incandescent bulb, halogens are often used as downlights and spotlights. They’re often misused for general lighting, giving poor results at a relatively high cost.
If your business uses halogens for spotlighting, install dimmers and change to low-voltage halogen bulbs. If you use halogens for general lighting, consider another type of lighting.
Read more about halogen lights and low-energy halogen spotlights on our ENERGYWISE website.
Often used in the same situations as halogen bulbs, LEDs are much longer lasting. However, they can vary in price and quality considerably, in part because there are no minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) in place for them. We recommend that you stick with well-known lighting brands.
You can read more about LEDs on our ENERGYWISE website.
Compact fluorescent lamps work well in shared areas and storage cupboards, where they can be left on for more than a few minutes. They also have long lifespans and are low on maintenance. CFLs can – and in most cases should - replace incandescent lamps for most applications.
You can read more about compact fluorescent lamps on our ENERGYWISE website.
With the exception of mercury vapour bulbs, high intensity discharge (HID) bulbs are relatively efficient light sources. They produce large amounts of light and take about 5 minutes to reach full brightness when new, however light out diminishes with use.
We recommend you use them in showrooms, exhibitions and where high light levels are needed such as in factories, stadiums, warehouses and for street lighting.
Metal halide bulbs
Metal halide bulbs provide a compact and powerful HID light source, which is used in industry and as a substitute for low-voltage halogen lamps in retail outlets.
High-pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs
High-pressure sodium lamps are a compact and powerful light source. However, the light produced is of a very low colour temperature with poor colour rendering. They’re typically used outside in industry and for street lighting. We don't recommend this technology.
Mercury vapour lighting is an outdated technology that we don’t recommend for any application.