Dumping the halogens

A quick cut with the plasterboard saw and the new light fittings can go straight in.

Lance Turner looks at a LED retrofit that improved illumination with a huge reduction in energy use.

When we decided to take a look at a downlight retrofit to eliminate halogens from a home, we asked around the office if anyone had recently done this. Amazingly, no-one had, but one staff member did have an investment property that had halogen downlights and was slated for upgrading. So, together we sat down and worked out the best option for the upgrade.

The aim of the retrofit was to eliminate not only halogens, but fluorescent lamps as well. While fluoros use a great deal less energy than halogens and produce much less heat, they do have drawbacks, such as a long start-up time to reach full brightness, and of course the tubes contain small amounts of the very toxic metal mercury. So, of course, we were aiming to change the lighting to LEDs.

The first step was to find out what LED options were available. This retrofit had to be done to a budget, but it also had to be done to a level of quality, so it was important to find the most suitable solution rather than opting for what was easiest to get. Of course, the best way to find out what’s out there is to look online, and after considerable searching and a number of phone calls, we put together a list of the most viable options.

In the end it was decided that standard Crompton CFL downlight fittings would be used, with the CFLs replaced by LED bulbs. The final tally was eight of the ZetaLux warm whites, along with two EvoLux warm whites, which would be spare bulbs in case the tenants needed some extra light in the kitchen area. Both of these bulbs come from EarthLED and have UL listing and FCC approval. While that doesn’t mean much to Australian authorities, it shows the bulbs have been tested and approved elsewhere.

Read the full article in ReNew 111

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