Introduction: LED Only Apartment Lighting

About: I'm a Linux enthusiast, avid diy-er. I work for a company that manufactures "smart" invertors (an Uninterruptable Power Supply for the entire house). I've installed wind generators, solar panels and various ot…

My on average power consumption is 100 watts! If I turn on ALL the lights in my apartment I will be consuming 324 watts.

Motivation: saving money on electricity, being energy efficient and doing it on a budget

Scientific data: When a light-emitting diode is forward biased (switched on), electrons are able to recombine with electron holes within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons.

This makes perfect sense to me, but if you're a bit confused read this wikipedia page on Light Emitting Diods

LEDs use even less power then Compact fluorescent lamps ( and in the recent years the price of these lights have gone done enough to be affordable.

Disadvantages to using LEDs:

   1. They do not emit as much light as regular or CFL light bulbs.
   2. If they do, they cost way to much.
   3. To achieve normal lighting conditions you must use many LEDs
   4. If you use DC power, you must use very thick and costly wiring to
       reduce resistance at low voltages

I looked online and in various stores for LED lights. The most affordable ones seemed to be flood lights with a GU5.3 plug. However, it would take very many of these "bulbs" to produce sufficient light and lots of wiring. But since these worked with 220 Vac (European standard) I would save on wiring.

 My choice LED light bulb consists of 18 small LEDs put together in a hexagonal matrix with a reflator background with a small individual power supply inside each lamp. Thus, it uses regular voltage and each light reduces 220 Vac to 12 Vdc the diods need (pic included).

I bought 10 of these lights in a hardware store and started experimenting with how much light these would give out. It turned out that I was happy with 4 lights per 10 square feet (1 sq meter).

I also had a white string of LED Christmas lights from IKEA, which I wanted to use in the bathroom.

Once I had the lights, I could start planning my lighting with LEDs.

Step 1: Plannig

My apartment is 516 square feet (48 sq. meters - 8 x 6 meters) 26 x 20 feet (I'm including a photo with detailed dimensions, although in Russian and metric). One studio/room and a bathroom.

I figured to grid the ceiling in 1.6 x 1.6 in  (50 x 50 cm) squares and put the LEDs in intersections. I needed 135 LEDs.

I looked online and in various stores. I found the best deal in Moscow, Russia to be at LED-LAZAR – a manufactured of LEDs in small town of Serpukhov (, outside of Moscow.

For the LED - G5.3- 220 whites I paid 70 Russian Rubles which is roughly $2.50
I also bought 20 of the improved/higher luminosity LED-G5.3-6UW-C at 80 Russian Rubles per light bulb, which is roughly $2.75

I bought these at wholesale prices since I was getting over 100 light bulbs.

I paid $275 for 130 of the  LED - G5.3- 220 and $55 for the improved  LED-G5.3-6UW-C. I spent roughly $330.00 for all my lights.

I then had to buy the fixtures to install the light bulbs in a fake ceiling made out of drywall. These ran 29 Russian Rubles per fixture, which is about $1.00 I spent another $135.00 for the fixtures to install the LED lights into.

Now I had to buy the wires. Each LED uses 2.4 watts of energy. So If I turned on all 135 lights simultaneously I would be using 135 x 2.4  = 324 watts. And according to Ohm's law, this means that there would be a current running through the wires of (324 watts divided by 220 Vac) 1.5 Amps. I then looked up wire diameter tables online and got 3 times the diameter I needed, which was 1.5  square millimeters.

I purchased 700 feet (200 meters) of this cable at about $150.00

Below is a link to over 20 photos of my lighting setup (in Picasa web albums)

slideshow via picasa

Step 2: Tricky Places, Like the Shower LEDs

In some areas I had to use some tricky techniques like drilling holes in the drywall and placing a strand of 130 LED Christmas lights from IKEA. I had to paint the piece of drywall before I drilled the holes and installed the lights. I then put covered it with cellular poly carbonate panels and installed the tropical shower head under them.

Here is a video on youtube of my tropical shower with LED lighting in action:

Some of these photos are self explanitory of what was done.

LEDs in the shower

Step 3: Installation

I ran the fatter central light power wires to corner locations of the kitchen, main area and bathroom. I then drilled holes and ran wires from the central cable through each hole in zigzag pattern. Each LED light is connected in parallel according to city/electrical code. I have the skills and permission to work with wiring under 20 k Wt, but I called the building electrician to inspect my setup and attach the main power circuit breaker.

Below are self explanitory pics of my setup already powered up.

I've also added some photos of my LED lighting over a computer desk/treadmill, an idea I got from this wonderfull instructable by ewilhelm

More photos and slideshow via picasa

I'm in the finalists for LED CONTEST! Thank you everyone!
LED Contest

First Prize in the
LED Contest