Can Certain Lighting Increase Your Need For Air Conditioning?

The simple answer is yes. Obviously, certain types of lighting will have higher operating temperatures and it will raise the overall temperature in the room which will, in turn, cause your air conditioning to work a little harder to keep the room at the desired temperature. In fact, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) reports that an average of 30 to 35 watts of cooling is needed to offset the effects of heat brought on by every 100 watts of lumen output.

Heat Outputs of Lighting Options

While each model or brand may vary in terms of temperature output since it depends on watts, there are a few generic guidelines for heat output that can help you determine which lighting solution is the best for lowering heat. When shopping with this factor in mind, do not confuse the color temperature with this aspect. The color temperature refers to the warmth or coolness of the light output in terms of color.

  • Halogen bulbs tend to be the hottest and give off more heat the higher the watts. A halogen bulb can run at an operating temperature of 327 degrees, according to Energy Circle. This is one of the least efficient bulbs energy-wise so most of what is produced is heat instead of illumination.
  • Incandescent is better than halogen, but still puts out a considerable amount of heat, even with the improved filament over the halogen bulb. In fact, up to 90% of the electricity produced by this light is heat with only 10% used for illumination.
  • Fluorescent lights are much cooler than the other two options but still produce heat. They are at a much lower rating of heat production, with 40% of the electricity used to create heat and the rest going towards illumination.
  • LED is the lowest operating temperature of the group. An LED is often falsely reported as having no heat output, but there is a low output with most models. As the most efficient option, more electricity is converted to light than heat and this type of lighting tends to operate at a mere 100 degrees or lower.

When choosing lighting, make sure you carefully consider the aspect of heat output. This will allow you to choose a lighting solution that meets your needs without adding extra strain to your air conditioning unit.