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Low energy lighting

Love it or hate it, the latest building regulations (part L1 A&B, October 2010) now require that for new installations, including rewires and refurbishments, 3 out of every 4 internal light fittings have low energy bulb(s) fitted. Light fittings in infrequently accessed areas (e.g. cupboards) and those with a power rating of less than 5W (e.g. LED accent lamps) do not count towards this requirement. This is part of the governments drive to meet our carbon emission reduction targets.

A low energy bulb is defined as one with a luminous efficiency of greater that 45 lamp-lumens per circuit-Watt. The traditional tungsten filament bulb is being phased out, and will be gone completely by September 2013, with halogen lamps following by 2016. There are a few exceptions for special application lamps.

One bit of good news in the latest October 2010 regulations is that it is no longer necessary to restrict the choice of light fitting to one that can only accept a low energy bulb – this had led to a very limited choice of light fittings. (As the inefficient bulbs are being phased out, it is no longer seen as necessary police the use of low energy lamps by physically preventing traditional bayonet or Edison screw lamps being fitted).

In the future the choice will mainly be the Compact Fluorescent lamp (CFL) and LED lamps. These now come is all sorts of shapes and sizes, with the notable exception of G9 and G4 Halogen Capsule bulbs. These latter types are very popular with decorative light fitting designers, so if you want these, they count as the one in four.

External lighting

Outside lighting on the home must also follow energy saving rules. In summary no light fitting greater than 100W may be used, and either a user switched low energy bulb with daylight cut-off, or a conventional bulb with movement detection (PIR) and daylight cut-off controls must be used. Note that mixing a PIR control with a low energy CFL lamp is not recommended as frequent switching can lead to early failure of the lamp. A good compromise is to use a halogen “ECO” GLS bulb, or use the still very expensive LED lamps.

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Ring & Radial, 47 Park Lane, West Grinstead, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 8LT