At last, decent eco lightbulbs

Our fab new lights will last years and use just 7 watts each
Like everyone, I've been frustrated in the past with eco-friendly lightbulbs that splutter into life and then take minutes to brighten up. So I was looking for something different.

Want to find out which new technology genuinely rivals conventional lights without using much power? Click on read more...

Traditionally, energy-saving bulbs are made using compact fluorescent (CFL) tubes, but the new technology on the block is light emitting diodes (LEDs). And LEDs are finally good enough to replace halogen recessed spotlights.

Our Megaman LED PAR16 GU10 bulbs (around £30 each) use 7W (watts) of power each, so all nine of them in the main room will only use around as much as one old 60W bulb. But that would be overkill most of the time anyway – each produces the same amount of light as a 35W halogen bulb. Installation is exactly the same as conventional bulbs but LED bulbs aren't dimmable, so the Megaman expert made the excellent suggestion of wiring them on two circuits, so we can switch just some of them on – this works perfectly and saves even more energy.

In the main loft space, we fitted the bulbs in very plain Megaman Vog fittings (around £5 each). We also added a couple of budget “wall washer” lights on the sloped ceiling, just to make sure there were no dark corners. Regulations (and common sense) say that bathroom light fittings must be special waterproof ones, so we used Fozz Opera IP64 fittings (around £10 each) that are completely sealed so they won't be affected by water vapour from the shower.

The fittings are affordable but the bulbs are pricey. But they should last years, probably decades. For example, ours have an official life of 25,000 hours of use, but may well last much longer. And they use 20% as much energy as traditional halogen spots, saving us an impressive 80% on electricity bills and 80% on carbon emissions.