Installing energy efficient lighting is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways householders can reduce energy use.
New houses, townhouses and units must have energy efficient globes installed to a minimum of 80% of the total fixed light fittings, including attached garages.
This requirement was extended on 1 May 2010 to also include the external areas of a dwelling (such as balconies and decks).
Alternatively, new houses and townhouses can adopt the minimum number of watts per square metre allowed under the energy efficient lighting section of the National Construction Code (formerly known as the Building Code of Australia).
For an existing house, townhouse or unit undergoing an alteration or extension, the energy efficient lighting requirement applies to the area covered by the new building work.
Energy efficient lights
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), light emitting diodes (LEDs) and fluorescent tubes are the most common energy efficient lights.
Compact fluorescent lights
A typical 15-watt CFL (equivalent to an old 75 watt incandescent globe) costs around $3 (2014 prices). Replacing an incandescent or halogen downlight with a CFL globe can save up to 80% on running costs. CFL globes also last up to 10 times longer than an incandescent globe and do not generate heat into the roof space and living area.
While halogen downlights are sometimes described as ‘low voltage’ this does not mean halogen elements are efficient in producing light. Additionally, often 4 or more halogen downlights are used per room where previously only 1 light globe would have been installed. Savings of around $400 per year (at 2014 costs) can be achieved by using 10 energy efficient lights instead of 40 halogen downlights.
Using energy efficient lighting does not replace the need for smart design. New dwellings should be designed to promote natural daylight in high-use areas to minimise the use of artificial lighting through the day.
Energy efficient lighting in dwellings is regulated through the Queensland Development Code 4.1 - Sustainable buildings.