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Get the Green Light – Energy Efficient Lighting Choices for Your Home
According to the government, the average US household has 45 light bulbs. This means a significant portion of your energy bill (about 11%) goes to lighting your home. And depending on what type of bulbs you use, you may be overpaying.
Traditional incandescent bulbs
If you’re still using outdated incandescent light bulbs, you’re paying too much on energy. Incandescent lights are only capable of utilizing 10% of the electricity they use to make light; the remaining 90% is wasted producing heat! So unless you’re trying to heat your home with light bulbs, you need to ditch inefficient incandescent bulbs for more energy efficient options.
Compact Florescent Light Bulbs (CFL)
Compact florescent light bulbs, commonly known as CFLs, combine the convenience of small, mobile bulbs with the efficiency of full-size florescent lights.
CFL lighting is approximately three – four times more efficient than incandescent lighting. A compact florescent bulb which requires between eight and twelve watts will create as much light as an incandescent bulb using forty watts. CFLs also last much longer than incandescent bulbs, about 10 times longer (8,000 – 10,000 hours).
Energy and cost savings generated from CFLs add up over time. In addition to lasting longer than other bulbs, their energy-saving properties also help lower your electric bill. Even though the initial price of CFLs is higher than incandescent bulbs, the lower operating costs usually pay for themselves within 9 months of operation. The Department of Energy estimates cost savings of $6 per year for each 100W incandescent bulb you replace with a qualified Energy Star CFL.
LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes)
Light emitting diodes, usually referred to as LEDs, are another environmentally-friendly lighting option. LEDs come in a variety of colors, are much more durable than incandescent and CFL bulbs and do not generate as much heat.
A twelve-watt LED will provide as much light as a sixty-watt incandescent bulb. These lights also have a lifespan that is twenty five times that of incandescent lights, which means they will last roughly 30,000 – 50,000 hours.
Although they do tend to cost more than other bulbs, LEDs can provide long-term savings due to their longer life and energy-efficiency. When you replace an incandescent bulb with a LED you can expect an energy savings of 75% - 80%.
Electron-Stimulated Luminescence Light Bulbs
A relatively new energy-efficient alternative to both CFLs and LEDs is the Electron-Stimulated Luminescence Light Bulb (ESL). Unlike compact florescent lights, the ESL is mercury-free, which provides easy disposal and clean-up if broken. ESL bulbs are relatively new to market but manufactures claim they provide the same light quality as an incandescent bulb, are 70% more energy efficient and last up to 11,000 hours.
Choosing the right light for your home
Any of the alternatives listed above will provide tangible cost and energy savings over incandescent bulbs. There’s no single type of light that is right for every situation and recent lighting comparisons
have shown similar energy savings between the types of efficient lighting technologies when used in a real world environment. So before selecting a light, a few factors should be taken into consideration: its use, fixture location and the conditions the light will be subjected.
Other energy-efficient additions
The type of lights you use is just one thing to consider when retrofitting your home lighting. The use of dimmers and lighting controls are additional approaches toward energy efficiency that can reduce the amount of energy wasted on unnecessary lighting. It’s often not necessary to consume the full brightness of the bulb and, therefore, a dimmer will add just the right amount of light for a situation. Likewise, there’s no point in lighting a room when not in use. Lighting controls work on sensors and ensure that lights are on only when actually in use.
Upgrading your home lighting is one of the easiest and most cost effective energy efficient upgrades you can make. Simply changing your bulbs and adding some simple lighting controls can create big energy and cost savings year after year. Plus, energy efficient lights give off less heat so your cooling system won’t have to work as hard. Saving on cooling is just an added bonus of upgrading your lighting!
About the Author:
Elizabeth Smyth is a writer for Precision Paragon, a manufacturer of commercial LED lighting
and a leader in lighting retrofit solutions. She can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.