Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Lighting the highrise

I don't post much about the building now. Mostly because I don't know much as neither R nor I are on the owner's corporation committee any more. At times I miss the information about what is happening, that is the goss, but being on the committee is damned hard and you have to have a very thick skin.

However, I have picked up a few things that have been happening related to energy conservation. Some things I don't agree with, such as turning off the building's central cooling system, but others I do.

The car park lighting is sensor activated and has been since we have lived here. As you drive in, banks of fluoro lights come on. It is divided into four zones and they are activated on an as need basis. The car park had two long tubes in each fitting, and from each fitting a tube was removed and a green ended much lower wattage tube replaced the one that was left. I was a bit annoyed about this only in so far as it was not done on an as a tube needed replacing basis. They were renewed with one fell swoop. All old tubes were removed and who knows what happened to the them. Waste.

About three or four years ago, it was decided that instead of the interior halogen downlights being 50 watt, the building could manage with 25 watt. And so it could. It made little difference and the 50 watt downlights were progressively replaced with 25 watt downlights.

Between the lifts is a wall lamp with candle globes. On the pool level a new fluoro globe was installed on the wall between the lift. It was horrid and gave out a nasty light. However, a nicer toned light was found and now all those lamps are low wattage fluoro.

Back here, we tried LED lights in our kitchen. Never be on the cutting edge of technology as we were then. It was a failure. But much has happened in the three years since.

About six months ago an even lower wattage LED bulb to replace the building's halogen lights was sourced from Tasmania. How much lower? Four watts. A 4 and a 6 were trialled and the consensus had it that the four gave better light. Go figure, but I saw it with my own eyes. The 4 watt LED lights are progressively replacing what were originally 50 watt halogen lights with no appreciable reduction in lighting.

Just doing a quick bit of arithmetic. Our building's public lighting probably has (brain cogs working) 5 plus 5 plus three plus many floors plus outdoor, plus foyer, ah something like four hundred halogen lights in public areas. There has to be a good cost/benefit for the replacement with expensive LED lights.

With his investigations, Daniel brought this post to a head in what was forming in my mind. That is, replacing our own halogen downlights with LEDs. I was a bit scared when I read his post though, because the cost of the LEDs to replace the halogens seemed extraordinary.

I did some hard core researching today. I can't find out where our building's new lights are coming from. They look the same as these that come from Green Concept Australia, in Moonee Ponds. Most of the LEDs have many more diodes. These only have five. I am not sure if that is good or bad. The cost is about $25 per lamp. Daniel looked at StarLux 6w which although priced at $60, are selling for half price at $30. This is one of the building's new LED lights.


  1. We have 8 LED downlights & have to change at least 1 transformer per year, which involves an electrician. Maybe ask about the life of the transformers?

  2. Ahem, 'should' involve an electrician. Our manager he had one fitting that needed a new transformer. Time will tell. Thanks for pointing it out.

  3. Ian N5:37 pm

    I bought a couple of LED downlights from Jaycar; they were a good price for the light output if you get it on sale. As yet though, LEDs aren't a patch on halogen for lumens per dollar; I don't have them turned on enough to worry about the running costs (they're kitchen bench rather than room lights).

    The LED ones are of course cheaper and cooler to run (fewer ceiling fires), and will last longer than the halogen ones. They'll pay off your investment soon enough.

    There's some issue with the transformers though; they recommend new ones for the LED lights, but it's not just they're more efficient.

  4. People have pointed me towards for cheap LED lights.

  5. Thanks Ian N. I suppose many transformers would now be quite old. Ours certainly are.

    Daniel, there is cheap and there is cheap and they are cheap. The gap is huge, which is puzzling.

  6. the light in my kitchen just blew, I blame this post!

  7. Fen, I have a spare 25watt globe. Can I post it to you?

  8. ha ha 25W is a bit dull, I went out and got myself a new fandangled 100W but not one.

  9. Tres kewl Fen. So long as you bought a save the earth light bulb.