Julia Hailes MBE

Sustainability Pioneer


My LED Lighting Saga (Mar13)

Remember the joke about how many men are needed to change a light bulb. The answer is generally a joke about the number of people standing around watching.  But my experience with LED bulbs has become a joke – it’s taken me over a year now and I still haven’t succeeded in replacing all the light bulbs in my house.

It all started really well.  I received an email from a new lighting company that wanted ‘opinion formers’ to try out their bulbs and see what they thought.  I volunteered.  A man came to see me and realised that I was the ideal candidate.  I’ve written about the transition from incandescent ‘ordinary’ light bulbs to compact fluorescents (CFLs) and having just moved house was ready for the next stage of the journey – switching my whole house to LEDs.

The company, who will remain nameless for the moment, agreed to replace all the light bulbs in my house and barns for free.  I agreed to be a case study for LED lighting.  I was tremendously excited, particularly having seen the LED replacements for the halogen spotlights that are all over my home. The warm white colour was great, they switched on instantly, used only 5w of electricity and apparently would last over 25 years.  What’s not to like?

I received a box of bulbs and my electricians, who were doing other work around the house, started installing them.  But half of them were no good because they turned out to be low voltage bulbs, which weren’t suitable.  Apparently, low voltage spotlights were used in old fashioned fittings – and in bathrooms.  The few remaining ones were excellent.

One key difference, I’ve discovered with other LED spotlight replacements is that they look very similar to halogen bulbs.  They don’t have lots of different spots of light and the bulb fills the fitting to the edge.

But then the company got cold feet.  I kept emailing and calling my original contact and he never replied.  When I was about to give in, I managed to talk to him and he said they still planned to send the remaining light bulbs for the house.  But they never came.  And it took another few months for the company to admit that they’d run out of their marketing budget and so couldn’t keep to their commitment.  Tant pis.


2018 ADDENDUM:  Lots more to say on lighting – another blog to come.


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