Understanding Lighting

Traditional incandescent lighting is on the way out. Now’s the time to switch to energy efficient lighting like light emitting diodes (LEDs). With LEDs, you can get the same light quality you’re used to while saving money and energy.

Below is some helpful information on how to chose the lighting that works for you.

LED light bulb


The amount of energy a light bulb uses is measured in kilo-watt hours (kWh).  People have become very familiar with purchasing lighting based on the power rating, which is measured in watts (40W, 60W, 100W). But with today’s technology you can purchase lighting that fits your fixtures that cost a lot less to operate.

For example, a 13W LED gives off the amount of light equivalent to a 60W incandescent. However, the difference in cost to operate the 2 lights varies significantly.

  • A 60W incandescent light costs $8.40 to light up for 1,000 hours.
  • A LED light costs at $1.82 for the same amount of time.
  • Plus LEDs can last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, so you won’t need to change your bulbs as often.

View the brightness chart below for a full listing of incandescent equivalents.

“Lumens” measure brightness – the higher the lumen, the brighter the light.  It has been a common misconception that wattage indicates brightness. As noted above it indicates power use. A 60W incandescent light gives off roughly 700 lumens, while an ENERGY STAR 12W LED gives off a minimum  of 800 lumens – similar brightness for less energy.

Brightness chart

The colour temperature of the light is measured in kelvins (K) – the higher the number, the whiter the light. It is sometimes thought that LEDs only give off a bright white colour and if you prefer the warm golden glow of an incandescent light, this can be off putting. But don’t worry, you can choose the colour of your light. ENERGY STAR certified bulbs are available in a wide range of colours. Higher temperature ratings (5000-6000K) produce a bluish-white colour, while lower temperature ratings(2700-3500K) produce a warm yellow colour. Read the package to find the colour that you like best. (Click image to enlarge)

Colour temperature chart

LEDs come in many shapes and sizes.  Use the chart below to see what what bulbs are best suited for different fixtures.

Bulb types chart

Information about brightness (lumens), efficiency (lumens/watts), energy use (kilo-watt hours), power use (watts), light appearance (kelvins), and life expectancy, is provided on all lights sold in Canada.