ELECTRICITY SAVERS

REPORTER: LYNDA KINKADE.

The switch has been flicked on the old incandescent light bulb and and now the race is on to make the most energy efficient globe, guaranteed to dramatically cut your energy bill.

From CLFs to LEDs to magic lightbulbs -- the names may be confusing but there's help to explain what will suit you and save you. "The CFL is by far the most energy efficient and the easiest way you can save money and energy in your home", said Jordan Muir is Chief Executive of Green Made Easy.

CFLs or Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs are replacing the traditional incandescent. They cost about eight times the price but will last about eight times as long -- and use a fraction of the electricity. "I think the first CFL's that came out were plagued with a few problems -- they took time to warm up, they flickered a little bit -- the latest CFL's are really, really good", Jordan said.

"You'll save about 6 and half tonnes of carbon for the average home when they install the light globes and they'll last about 15 times longer. Your standard CFL costs you between $5 - $10 and the average home can save about $135 a year by changing the incandescent globes that they've got currently to the CFL globes", Jordan said.

Green Made Easy is just one company -- using Government grants -- to give your house an energy audit, and it won't cost you a cent. "Green Made Easy has actually installed on behalf of the Government over 600,000 free light globes into homes. We use a company called Mirabella and we can spend about two hours looking at the various different devices in your home, we then come back to you with a full report on the ways you can save energy", Jordan said.

They do contain small amounts of mercury and must be disposed off carefully. "A lot of the local councils run recycling programs so if you give them a call", Jordan said.

Even more efficient and environmentally friendly will be the new LEDs. "Light emitting diods or LEDs are actually far more greenhouse friendly because they're not a light globe you don't actually change. The light globe, the light fitting, will last up to 50,000 hours", said Becon Lighting's Business Development Manager, Denise Hammond.

LEDs cost about $100 and with improvements in technology, this could be the most efficient within the next 12 months. "They are cool to touch and they contain no mercury. The colour quality is crisp and alive, it's a beautiful quality light and this is the future", Denise said.

The Magic Bulb is also finding its way into the market place. The magic bulb

is an LED light, which has just taken out China's Invention of the year and can stay illuminated for hours without electricity.

But a warning -- don't believe all the hype just yet. "It hasn't been approved by Australian standards or endorsed buy anyone here", Denise added.

Choice's Project Manager Household Product Testing, Chris Barnes, says, "What we'd like to find is which products can we recommend to people, which ones give a decent light output and warms up quickly".

Choice has just begun a survey on light bulbs on the market. "We are testing 10 samples of 15 brands and they've been going on and off now for about 6000 hours of usage", Chris said.

"There were some that stood out, there was a Megaman that came out on the top of the table and some of the other brands that you'd expect -- Ausram, GE, Phillips were up there too, Mirabella", Chris said.

"These devices work with the new smart meters that are being rolled out and what they do is show you in a graphic representation how much electricity you are using, what devices are actually using them", Jordan said.

"You'll be able to use devices like your iPhone, your iPad, Adroid devices and that will enable you to turn your lights on and off, close your blinds and change the temperature of your air conditioner as well"

And that smart metre device is expected to be on the market within 12 months.For further information:

www.greenmadeeasy.com.au/

www.magicbulb.net/index.html

www.choice.com.au/Reviews-and-Tests/Household/Energy-and-water/Saving-energy/Compact-fluorescent-lightbulbs/Page/Compare%20CFLs.aspx