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Save Money with Energy Efficient Lighting

LED lights are the giant bulb slayer in town. Their minuscule size hides a truly power packed performance. They are the fuel sipping hybrids of the lighting world. Besides energy efficient these lights with their fail safe characteristics, low temperature operation, and shatter resistant body are the holy grail of lighting technology. There is nothing new is old technology replacing old. The kerosene lamp killed the oil burning lamp and the bulb in its turn kicked out the polluting and cumbersome kerosene burning lamp. It is now the turn of LED lighting devices to herald a new era in lighting technology. As always, American corporations and enterprising individuals are at the forefront of this brave new lighting revolution.

History has always rewarded those who have seized the initiative.  Initiative and preparation is what won the day in American battle for independence. And initiative will enable America to win the global race for adoption of modern technology. But is there a reward for using LED products over others? Let us do the math and find out.

The Incandescent Bulb

An incandescent bulb uses 95% of its energy to produce heat. It is essentially an electric heater that produces light as a byproduct. This roundabout way of producing light means a shorter life span for the bulb. After all it operates at temperatures in the range of 2500 degrees centigrade!

One of the reasons why 130 volt bulbs last longer is that they run at a sub-optimal voltage and hence produce light at a lower temperature. Of course, this method of lighting makes them even more wasteful and they emit even more greenhouse gases per lumen of light produced than a regular bulb. Using a 130 volt bulb in a 120 volt socket is thus like cutting the nose to spite the face.  This wasteful way of prolonging bulb life was the reason 130 volt bulbs are no longer recommended for regular use.  With 30,000 hour life LED lamps now readily available, it would take truly skewed reasoning to choose a 130 volt bulb for long life alone.

The LED Lamp

 The production of light by an LED is a very neat process. The flow of electricity excites electrons. As electrons return to their native state they emit the excess energy as light. Nearly no heat - a high performance for light!

Bulbs and US Households

Surveys have shown that a typical US household has 45 bulbs and the average wattage of each bulb is 65 watts. A typical par 65 LED light by contrast uses only 9 watts of electricity and produces as much light as a 65 watt bulb. What’s more, a LED bulb has a sort of hemispherical design which reduces light wastage. Most of the light comes from the front. This leads to better illumination levels.

Let us use these figures as a sample to calculate the direct financial benefits that stem from LED lighting technology.

Direct Dollar Savings

Incandescent LED light
Life in hours 2500 30,000
Power consumption (Watts) 65 9
No of bulbs in an Average House 45 4
Hours of operation per day 10 10
Electricity consumption (KWH per day) 29.25 4.05
Annual Electricity Consumption (KWH) 10676.25 1478.25
Annual lighting costs (@ 0.1 $ per KWH) 1067.625 147.825
Annual savings in Lighting Costs alone with LED lights
$ 919.80


Savings in Air Conditioning Bills  

Each bulb uses 65 watts of high quality energy. 95% of this is converted to a poor quality energy i.e., dissipated as heat. This means that each bulb converts 62 watts of electricity to heat every hour. 45 bulbs would thus convert 2.78 kilowatts of electricity to heat!

Using incandescent bulbs is like keeping a 2.7 KW resistance heater in continuous operation whenever you need light. What could be more wasteful? Lighting your home with incandescent lamps releases close to 10,000 BTUs of heat in your home every hour. This in turn raises indoor temperatures and requires the air conditioning systems to work over time.
Use the formula below to calculate the electricity used by your Air conditioning systems to compensate for the excess heat generated by incandescent bulbs

Power usage = (BTU/Hour) / (SEER) where SEER is the “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating” of your Air conditioning system.

Assuming an SEER of 10, the power usage works out to 10,000/ 10 or 1,000 watt/hour. Assuming the electricity costs to be 10cents / KWH the additional burden on the electricity bill due to incandescent bulbs works out close to US $ 350 per year.

  Annual $ Savings with LED lights
Savings in Lighting Costs with LED lights $919.80
Savings in Air Conditioning bills with LED lights $350.00
Total annual savings $1269.80


Savings in Replacement Bulbs

LED bulbs last 30,000 hours or more. An incandescent bulb by contrast needs replacement every 1500 hours. LED's will last 10 years while incandescent bulbs will need replacement twice every year. A 65 watt bulb costs $5. This translates to another $10 worth of savings in bulb replacement every year.

Savings are also to be had in labor charges for bulb replacement but have been excluded from this discussion as they may apply only to commercial establishments.   

Annual $ Savings with LED lights
Savings in Lighting Costs with LED lights $919.80
Savings in Air Conditioning bills with LED lights $350.00
Savings in Replacement Bulbs $10.00
Total annual savings $1370.00 (actual results may vary)


 The preceding discussion demonstrates clearly that with LED lamps you win all and lose none of your money saving bets. The approximate annual saving of $1370 per year is not meager by any yard stick.  The cost of storage, ordering and breakage of bulbs are some other costs that have not been included in the calculations above.

Bulbs also raise the risk of burn or laceration injury, pollute the atmosphere and contribute to rising greenhouse gas levels and mercury pollution. No monetary value has been calculated for any of these scenarios for it is neither possible nor proper to place a $ value on an injury to a child and cost calculations of environmental pollution due to bulbs are beyond the scope of this review of energy savings.

Energy Savings Calculator

Want to know how much converting over to LED can save you? Our energy savings calculator is the perfect tool to calculate energy savings from your old lights over to LED

Click Here to Calculate Your Savings

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