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Replace incandescent bulbs


Replacing incandescent light bulbs is an easy, inexpensive way to cut as much as 80 per cent of the energy used by lighting on common property.

Although incandescent bulbs are common they are extremely inefficient so the Australian Government is phasing them out. Standard incandescent bulbs only last about 1,000 hours and must be regularly replaced.

Replace with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) 

  • CFLs use about 80 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs to produce the same amount of light 
  • They last 4 to 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb 
  • Most bulbs can be replaced in a straight swap for a screw or bayonet fitting 
  • CFLs are ideal for areas where lighting is required to be on for long periods of time
  • CFLs come in a range of colour options: warm white, cool white and bright daylight
  • Air-cooling systems won’t need to work as hard once CFLs are installed because they emit less heat than incandescent bulbs

Issues with CFLs

  • Check that your replacement bulb is compatible with controls like dimmers, timers and motion sensors because many CFLs cannot handle these requirements  
  • Most CFLs shouldn’t be used in enclosed fixtures like recessed downlight fittings unless especially designed for them because they need adequate ventilation 
  • CFLs take time to reach full brightness after being switched on, so if you need bright light instantly you should look for one with a short start up time, choose the bright daylight option, or consider LEDs or halogens 
  • The light output of CFLs is reduced at low temperatures so they may not be suitable for outdoor use in very cold areas, or you may need to use a higher wattage lamp

The table below compares the light output of equivalent CFLs (use Wattages as a guide only). 

Light output in Lumens 

Incandescent bulb

Compact Fluorescent Lamp 


25 W

5–7 W


40 W

7–8 W


60 W

11–12 W


75 W

13–18 W


100 W

18–23 W

Replace with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

LED lighting is an energy efficient option that is particularly good if you need to replace downlights. You will need to upgrade your light fittings to install LEDs.

  • LEDs are particularly energy efficient
  • LEDs last much longer than halogen lamps and about 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs 

Replace with halogen lamps  

Halogens are a type of incandescent lamp and can be similar to incandescent bulbs in appearance. You will need to upgrade your light fittings to install halogen lamps. You should first weigh up the benefits of going to this effort because several halogen lights are needed in the place of one incandescent or fluorescent light.

  • Halogens are a suitable alternative for lights that require dimming or motion sensor control and are best used where focused light is required, like highlighting displays
  • Halogens are not recommended for lighting large areas such as corridors or foyers
  • Halogen lamps last about four times longer than incandescent bulbs