Feature, Hospitality/Leisure, Office, Residential, Retail

Value Proposition: re-fitting GU10 lamps

The Value Proposition series takes a look at the continuing developments in lighting technology, for all those seeking to bring better efficient and improved performance to their projects. Here we look at the way that improvements in LED design and performance is bringing enormous savings in display lighting, with the help of manufacturers V-TAC.


Despite the enthusiasm for energy-saving lamps, there is still a huge market for conventional tungsten halogen lamps, particularly of the small spotlight type usually known as GU10 lamps. These lamps are commonly found in domestic and small commercial premises, often acting as the primary source of illumination, installed in grids of small downlights.

The benefits of the tungsten halogen version of the GU10 lamp appear to be obvious: they are cheap to buy, provide an attractive white light colour, they are easily dimmable and don’t require additional transformers. But does that mean that there are no alternatives? 

Developments in LED technology now demonstrate otherwise.

Benefits of LED against tungsten halogen

The latest generation of GU10 LED lamps has been developed to challenge directly the needs of those currently using tungsten halogen lamp. They offer a simple retro-fit solution for almost all existing GU10 lighting installations. 

In this Value Proposition, we focus on two GU10 LED lamps from the V-TAC range of LED spotlights, the 5W non-dimmable (ref: VT-1975) and 7W dimmable (VT-2887D) versions.

These GU10 LED lamps have the following features:

  • Soft-edged light distribution better suited to ambient lighting, with no intense brightness 
  • Colour rendition quality that matches most other low energy lamps currently available 
  • Lamps are available in three colour temperatures to suit different lighting needs
  • Light outputs that match the outputs of energy-hungry halogen lamps but at a lower wattage 
  • Dimmable at the higher of the two ratings (7W version)

But the single feature that makes the LED option an obvious choice when it comes to re-lamping is the expected operating life of 20,000 hours, which means that they will last many hours longer than the halogen version. And that means savings on both running costs and in purchase price.

GU10 Halogen lamp                                                                   V-TAC GU10 LED lamp


Return on Investment figures 

buying price

gu10 halogentypically: £1.00

v-tac gu10 led5w: £1.50 (VT-1975  : contractor price)

7w:£2.99 (VY-2887D  :  contractor price)


running costs

35W lamp:
assuming 1000 hours annual usage
and an energy price of £0.10/kwh
35W x 1000hrs x £0.10/kwh = £3.50

50w lamp:
assuming 1000 hours annual usage
and an energy price of £0.10/kwh
50w x 1000hrs x £0.10/kwh = £5.00
5W X 1000HRS X £0.10/KWH = £0.50

7W X 1000HRS X £0.10/KWH = £0.70

Is it a worthwhile proposition?

In addition to the savings in energy cost, there is also the factor of lamp life. Every couple of years the purchase of a new halogen lamp will cost another £1.00, which mean that the halogen lighting option actually costs £10.00 across the life of the LED option, which only cost £1.50.The important figure to button-down is the point when the purchase cost of the ‘more expensive’ LED lamp is surpassed by the cost reductions accrued in energy savings. A hotel may have lighting burning all year around, so that would be 8760 hours per year. A retail shop may be open for 3000 hours per year, while a home may not exceed 1000 hours as its annual running time. But whichever scenario we look at, the payback time for moving to an LED solution is not measured in years, but in months. 


V-TAC LED lamps come with a two-year warranty, suggesting that the company has confidence in the reliability of its product to deliver the cost savings experienced by shifting from halogen lamps.


Lux Review reported last year that the proposed ban on halogen lamps had been delayed for two years, from 2016 to 2018. Latest information is that we will see the end of the GU10 type of halogen lamp, part of the ‘Directional Halogens’  family of lamps, at the beginning of September this year (2016), with Non-Directional Halogens following in September 2018. 

In the context of this Value Proposition, and seen from a European perspective, this means that we will soon only  be considering one GU10 LED against another GU10 LED. And that will usher in a very different state of comparitive affairs. 

So what should we be looking for?

The technical development of LED lamps is still unregulated as far as lamp performance is concerned, so its very difficult to make any sensible statement about performance of one lamp against another. What can be looked at, however, is the financial stand being taken by V-TAC in comparison with other LED manufacturers. V-TAC is offering a range of GU10 LED lamps at a lower price that most other companies and that price is supported by a two-year guarantee. Certainly these are positive buying factors, especially in sectors where heavy usage can be expected, such as retail and hospitality.

If the V-TAC lamps can survive in those areas, then the softer usage likely in the residential sector will benefit customers as a consequence.



The LED option shows a clear cost benefit compared with the original halogen GU10 lamp. Once the GU10 halogen lamp is finally removed from the market, the focus will shift to LED lamp life and  warranty to win customers.


Technical data courtesy of V-TAC.