Choosing energy saving light bulbs – information for older people & those with sight loss

Getting the right lighting is crucial for older people and especially those with sight loss. The sight loss charity Thomas Pocklington Trust and independent consumer research charity, Rica (Research Institute for Consumer Affairs), have updated an essential guide to buying energy saving light bulbs with Best Buy recommendations from Which?.

The guide, Choosing energy saving light bulbs for your home, provides useful information for everyone about buying energy saving bulbs. It has information about bulb types, colour of the light emitted, start-up times and types of fittings. The guide also recommends some Best Buys from independent tests carried out by consumer body Which? that assessed energy saving light bulbs for brightness and speed of start-up.

Says Sarah Buchanan, research director, Thomas Pocklington Trust: “Older people and people with sight loss can gain useful advice from our updated guide which explains which bulbs to buy for different areas in the home, for different levels of lighting and for a quick delivery of the light that’s needed. We know from research that having the right lighting dramatically improves the lives of people with sight loss and supports and enhances their independence in their own homes.”

The guide explains lumens which denote the brightness of the bulb and are more important to look for than the old measurement of wattage. The guide recommends the ideal lumens for specific areas of the home; at least 1,200 lumens on the stairs for example, but only up to 250 when fitted under kitchen cabinets.

It has useful tips for buying light bulbs including:

  • work out what you need before you shop and write it down if necessary
  • go to a specialist electrical shop if you can
  • don’t shop by brand as it’s not the best indicator of what you need

The guide – Choosing energy saving light bulbs for your home – is available online at and can be downloaded as a PDF. It is also available as a print booklet, as an audio-CD or in Braille.

For more information please contact Sue Cooper, Thomas Pocklington Trust: Tel 01759 368286, email or Chris Lofthouse, Rica: Tel 020 74272467, email