incandescent light bulb

An appropriate, efficient light will not only increase comfort, it will also save energy and reduce long-term costs. Fortunately, a host of efficient lighting options is available. The trick is learning how to use the right light in the right space.

Incandescent lighting

Limit your use of incandescent bulbs to areas where you need light instantly and only for a short time, such as a bathroom or pantry.

Conventional incandescent light bulbs are inefficient in places that need light frequently because most of the energy used to run them is turned into heat rather than light. Though they are cheap to buy, they have to be replaced regularly.

Halogen bulbs

Halogen bulbs are a great option for illuminating work areas or spotlighting a painting. This is because halogen bulbs throw a bright light similar to natural light. They are expensive to buy, but usually last twice as long as regular bulbs.


Think twice before installing halogen downlighting. These lights throw hard-edged spotlights rather than ambient light, so it takes up to six of them to light the same area as a single incandescent bulb.

Low-voltage halogen lights need transformers, so if you are going with this option you need to fit downlight transformers in your roof cavity. If your home has a concrete slab ceiling, your only halogen option will be the 240-volt variety.

These don’t require a transformer, but the bulbs are more expensive than the low-voltage varieties.