Lighting running costs

Lighting makes up about 11% of the average Victorian household’s energy bill each year and the amount of energy used by lighting in your home will affect your energy costs.

Energy usage and lighting

The amount of energy used on lighting depends on three main factors:

  1. light fittings – using downlights rather than pendant, oyster or fluorescent fittings will mean that you have to install more lights so your overall lighting energy use and running costs will be significantly higher
  2. types of lighting – the cost of running a light is directly related to the wattage (or input power) of the light globe or lamp, so the higher the wattage, the higher the running cost; therefore, using low-energy compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light emitting diode (LED) lighting will result in significantly lower running costs compared to using incandescent or halogen lighting
  3. hours of use – the longer your lights are left on, the higher your running costs will be, so switch off lights in rooms that aren’t occupied to keep your lighting energy bills down.

Light output comparisons

When replacing inefficient lighting with more efficient lighting you will generally want to maintain the same light output. The light output of a lamp is measured in lumens.

The table below shows how low-energy lighting can provide comparable light output while lowering your running costs.

Old style incandescent

Mains voltage halogen

CFL / LED

Light Output (lumens)

Power (Watts)

Cost ($/Yr)

Power (Watts)

Cost ($/Yr)

Power (Watts)

Cost ($/Yr)*

220

25

$7.70

18

$5.50

5 - 6

$1.50 - $1.80

420

40

$12.30

28

$8.60

7 - 9

$2.10 - $2.80

720

60

$18.40

42

$12.90

11 - 13

$3.40 - $4.00

930

75

$23

52

$15.90

13 - 15

$4.00 - $4.60

1300

100

$30.70

70

$21.50

18 - 23

$5.50 - $7.10

*Based on use of 3 hours per day and an electricity tariff of 28c/kWh.

The wattages shown for mains voltage halogens and CFL/LED lamps are typical values and may vary between manufacturers. Refer to the light globe packaging for its wattage and light output in lumens (or as being equivalent to a certain incandescent light globe).

Running costs for downlights

The table below shows the typical light outputs of a range of lamps that can be used in downlights.

Where 12V downlights are used, power is consumed by both the lamp and the transformer.

12V halogen

12V IRC halogen

12V LED

Mains voltage CFL

Light Output (lumens)

Power (Watts)

Cost ($/Yr)

Power (Watts)

Cost ($/Yr)

Power  (Watts)

Cost ($/Yr)

Power  (Watts)

Cost ($/Yr)

230

20

$7.70

-

-

4 - 5

$1.50 - $1.90

7 - 9

$2.10 - $2.80

500

35

$13.40

20

$7.70

6 - 8

$2.30 - $3.10

10 - 11

$3.10 - $3.40

750

50

$19.20

35

$13.40

10 - 12

$3.80 - $4.60

13 - 15

$4.00 - $4.60

Based on use of 3 hours per day and an electricity tariff of 28c/kWh

The wattages shown for CFL/LED lamps are typical values and may vary between manufacturers.

Refer to the light globe packaging for its wattage and light output in lumens (or expressed as being equivalent to a certain incandescent light globe.

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