David Winterton gave a well attended presentation on ‘Understanding LEDs’ at Benledi on Thursday evening, 8 May, organised by the Society’s Environment Subcommittee. David is convenor of the Sydney branch of the Alternative Technology Association, the oldest organisation promoting sustainable technology in Australia, and director of Ecological Design, a sustainability consultancy business.

David gave a comprehensive overview of LED lighting with a special emphasis on the application to homes like ours, which may have either modern or traditional light fittings. He also gave a practical demonstration of different types of bulbs and their effectiveness. His presentation covered:

  • what is LED – Light Emitting Diode – and how it differs from other types of light bulbs,
  • advantages and disadvantages of LEDs,
  • light fitting types, covering bayonet and screw fittings, and common bulb shapes,
  • design issues, such as beam angles, brightness, light colour and temperature.


David Winterton talking about LED options (image: Virginia Simpson-Young)
David Winterton talking about LED options (image: Virginia Simpson-Young)

The advantages of LEDs are their lower energy consumption and reduced running costs; less heat produced and so safer; longer lifetime; fast switching (no warm-up time) and ability to provide specific colour temperatures (cool or warm lighting). However, they still cost more to buy than fluorescent and compact fluorescent lights, although costs are reducing very quickly.

Some of David’s practical tips were: replace halogen downlights, as 80% energy savings are possible; with downlights total replacement of all hardware is needed if they are more than 10 years old; replace lights used for more than four hours per day.

When looking to buy LED bulbs, David recommends choosing a well-known brand and looking closely at the rated performance, as well as consulting reviews and costing comparisons. Specialty online retailers provide a more comprehensive range than supermarkets.

Some extra resources recommended by David:

  • Your Home – Lighting http://yourhome.gov.au/energy/lighting
  • Online tool (to compare payback of LED lighting) http://getgreen.net.au/savings.htm
  • Educational resources and high quality supplier of LEDs http://lightingmatters.com.au