MyHome – Going Green with Lighting

With over 25 light fixtures in my home, the first path I am taking to save money and conserve energy is through lighting. At this point, I would be surprised if anyone wasn’t already aware of the horrible efficiency of the old school incandescent light bulbs. When alternative bulb options first hit the market, the cost difference was great. It was simply too expensive for many to switch to these alternative bulbs. As with any new product, as public consumption goes up and mass production increases, the costs go down. You’ve heard of the fluorescent bulbs, also referred to as CFL, that are a far better option. In researching my options, I’ve come across interesting other options as well.

Bulb Comparison
Incandescent CFL HID LED Halogen Fluorescent
Rated Avg. Life 755-1000 10,000 20,000 45,000 3,000 3,000
Life Span Low Long Very Long Very Long Medium Medium
Watts 3 – 500 3 – 120 35 – 1500 2.5 – 16 5 – 500 5 – 500
Cost to Operate High Low Lowest Low Medium Medium
Price to Product Low Medium High High Medium Medium
Lumens per Watt (LPW) 15LPW 60LPW Up to

As you can see in the chart above, the best option will vary by application. I’ll touch on the pros and cons of the top few.

  • Incandescent: Completely ruled out. With the cost of a CFL bulb as low as it is, there’s no point to these bulbs. I suspect you won’t see them on the market very much longer.
  • CFL: Great for most applications. The wattage range to LPW ratio gives you options between 120 and 7200 Lumens. The only real disadvantage to these guys is that they are not at full brightness the instant you turn them on. Some of these bulbs will take a couple minutes to grow to their full intensity. If that’s not an issue, they are probably the best choice for average room lighting.
  • HID: These guys are pretty cool. Double the lifespan of a CFL and brighter per watt of energy consumed. The only problem is you can’t find them in low lumens. The dimmest bulb is going to be around 2300 Lumens, a little more light than your average 150 Watt Incandescent.
  • LED: Longest living bulb on the market, these guys are awesome. Downside here is the max Lumens, somewhere around 720. Similar to the standard 60 Watt Incandescent and their price. I expect these to evolve quickly, allowing brighter bulbs with a lower purchase cost. Likely the bulb of the future.

10 light fixtures with 100 Watt incandescent bulbs will consume 1000 Watts, product 12,600 Lumens and cost on average $120.0o per year to use*.  To get the same amount of light production from CFL, you could instead use a 19 Watt CFL bulb, the will use 190 Watts, product 12,000 Lumens and cost on average $22.90 per year to use*. As you can see, switching to CFL will save about you hundreds of dollars per year and save 81% of the energy use.

*Based on 3 hours/day, 11¢/kWh. Actual cost depends on your use.

It is my hope that you find this blog series helpful to making informed decisions about your home. I felt the need to start this series with the topic above because it’s something everyone can put into practice right away with a very low investment cost.

If you learned anything about by reading this post or have suggestions for the next topic, please comment below!

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