Monday, 17 May 2010

Want to avoid hideous low energy lamps for your chandelier or wall light? Go Halogen!

We all know it is increasingly important to do your bit for the environment with recycling and energy saving around the home now commonplace. Recent legislation regarding the phasing out of the traditional incandescent bulb makes common sense and no doubt those of you who have invested in energy saving bulbs (known as compact fluorescent or CFL bulbs) will have noticed the energy savings that they provide.

However, there is no getting away from the fact that CFL bulbs are not attractive and provide a more muted glow, rather than the clear light required for wall lights and particularly chandeliers that have traditionally used bare, candle bulbs.

It has taken some time, but manufacturers have now woken up to this fact and are just beginning to introduce Energy Saving Halogen Bulbs. The likes of Philips and Osram have developed bulbs that look exactly like their clear incandescent cousins – even on close inspection. There is no frosted outer or huge white base to spoil the aesthetics of your fitting.

These new bulbs are not as energy efficient as CFLs, but still use around 25 – 30% less wattage than traditional bulbs. Manufacturers also claim you should expect them to last twice the time of an incandescent bulb.

However, the main advantage of Energy Saving Halogen Bulbs is that they light up immediately and give off a clear light which is essential to ensure you gain maximum impact from decorative pieces (such as chandeliers) that have traditionally used the refractive qualities of glass to provide dramatic effect.

They are also fully dimmable, a luxury we have all grown used to over the decades to provide maximum flexibility in our lighting schemes.

The ranges feature small screw candle versions, which are perfect for historical chandelier fittings and come in equivalents from 60w to 15w.

One word of caution, they do need to be handled more carefully as they run hotter than incandescent bulbs and should not be used if the outer coating is scratched.

You can also get Energy Saving Halogen versions of the traditional shaped bulb; a suitable alternative for use in areas such as hallways or cupboards, where CLFs have traditionally been impractical due to the time they take to provide full light.

With these new options, there really is no need to have to compromise the look of your lighting to ensure a more energy efficient home.

Jamie Hempsall is a member of the British Institute of Interior Design and one of the leading designers in the region. Visit his website at


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