Does it seem like everywhere you turn there’s some new green product out there to make your life easier? Forget easier – what about all the green products that can help you save money?
There are an overwhelming number of choices on the market today. That’s why we’ve decided to take a look at a very specific green upgrade that has been talked about since the green movement began – lighting. Lighting is simple, it affects every home and every business. Most of all, the introduction of LED light bulbs to the market means consumers truly can see significant cost savings on their energy bill over the long term. Meanwhile, you’ll be using a product that’s better for the environment and safer for you and your family.
Before we discuss the benefits of “going LED”, here’s a little history lesson. When the green movement began, compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs were the most efficient and cheapest new green product on the market. CF bulbs were (and remain) easily accessible for consumers. And they did show a good deal of savings over incandescent bulbs. But, so many years down the road, a new light bulb is poised to become the industry standard – the LED light bulb.
LED bulbs out-perform CF bulbs in 5 specific categories – lifetime, energy usage, heat production, environmental safety and durability. Here’s a closer look at how those 5 categories play out for you, the consumer.
1. Longer bulb lifetime equals cost savings.
LED light bulbs can last more than 50,000 hours. CF bulbs top out at around 10,000 – with most averaging 8,000. So, even though LED’s cost about three times as much as CF bulbs, over their lifetime they provide cost savings because you’d have to buy 5 CF bulbs for every one LED. That’s right – switch to LED bulbs, and you’ll save 80% on the cost of lighting your home or business.
2. 50% reduction in energy usage.
While CF light bulbs use about a quarter of the watts of a standard incandescent bulb, LED Bulbs are even more efficient. The CF bulb uses between 13 and 15 watts to produce the same light as a 60 watt standard bulb. An LED bulb only uses 6 to 8 watts. That’s nearly half the energy used by CF’s.
3. Less heat production.
CF bulbs, although better than incandescent bulbs when it comes to heat generation, still produce about 30 btu’s of heat every hour. That’s about 1/3 of an incandescent bulb, but still enough to raise the ambient temperature in the room. This results in your air conditioning having to run more, increasing your household running costs. An LED bulb produces an insignificant 3.4 btu’s an hour. So, running an LED for 8 hours produces less heat than one hour of CF use.
4. No mercury.
The biggest advantage that LED bulbs have over their CF counterparts is that they don’t contain mercury. CF bulbs contain 1-5mg of Mercury so they cannot be thrown out in the regular trash. This mercury level makes them extremely unfriendly to the environment when they aren’t disposed of properly.
5. LED’s are incredibly durable.
CF bubs also fall short when it comes to durability. First, they are made with very thin glass bulbs that are easily broken. They also take up to a minute to warm up and reach optimum lighting in cold situations. CFs also lose life when they are turned on and off repeatedly. LEDs don’t suffer from any of these problems. They also don’t fail like other bulbs. There is no chance that they will smoke, smolder or emit bad odors.
If you still haven’t switched out your incandescent bulbs, you are missing out on huge savings every month. Some conservative estimates put the savings as high as $50 a month for a 2000 sq. ft. home with average daily use. If you have already switched to CF bulbs, the next time one burns out replace it with an LED.
The initial cost of each bulb runs between $25 and $45, but remember, it will pay for itself with the longer lifespan. Once you install an LED bulb, don’t expect to have to replace it again for well over 15 years. So you tell us, are ready to go LED?