Here are a few simple eco- friendly tips you can use to save energy every day and lower your monthly bills. Switch out your regular light bulbs with soft white compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s). You won’t have to replace your bulbs nearly as often and the energy savings are huge because CFL’s have come a long way since they first came out. They no longer cause a harsh, bluish tone, having been replaced by much warmer tones with many styles to choose from as well. Look for “soft” or “warm” white to get the same glow as traditional bulbs. CFL’s are a little more expensive initially, but the savings in electricity will make up the difference in just a matter of months.

While LED (Light Emitting Diodes) lighting has been around since the 1960s, it’s only now coming into widespread use and being touted as the next generation of energy efficient lighting for homes, offices, cars, and  more.

How LED(s) Work

LED(s)- also known as solid-state lighting- use the movement of electrons through a semiconductor material to create light. While LED is an extremely efficient form of lighting, a single LED doesn’t produce enough light for large applications. However, when  bundled together,  LED(s) become a powerful and efficient lighting system.

 

Advantages of LED(s)

LED(s) have many advantages over other lighting, including:

  • Energy efficient: 80% of the electricity used by an LED is converted to light, compared to just 10% for incandescent bulbs.
  • Long life: LED(s) last up to 50,000 hours or more, 50 times longer than incandescent(s) and five times that of compact fluorescent(s). (Put THAT in your emergency flashlight!)
  • Durable: Since there are no filaments or fragile bulbs to break, LED(s) can stand up to the excessive vibration found in vehic les and machinery.
  • Instant light: Unlike compact fluorescent(s), which can take time to reach full brightness, LED(s) come on instantly and can be easily dimmed.
  • Environmentally friendly: LED(s) emit very little infrared radiation and contain no mercury, two problems inherent in compact fluorescent(s).
  • Won’t burn out: LED(s) don’t burn out, instead they just gradually dim.
  • Directional lighting: LED(s) focus light in a particular direction, making them useful for spotlight and other applications.
  • Reduced Interference: Unlike fluorescent(s), LED(s) do not interfere with electronic devices such as radios, TVs, or cordless phones.

Uses for LED(s)

With the development of white LED lights and lower costs, applications for LED lighting are expanding.  Some of the more common uses are:

LED powered kitchen

  • Traffic signals
  • Vehicle taillights
  • Reading lamps
  • Flashlights
  • Ceiling or track lighting
  • Outdoor landscape lighting
  • Night Lights
  • Kitchen counter lighting
  • Holiday lights

Disadvantage of LED(s)

While the advantages of LED lighting are many, there is one disadvantage: cost. While a standard incandescent bulb sells for under a dollar and compact fluorescent(s) are down to $2 to $3, LED(s) that produce enough light for general everyday applications still cost several times as much.

The Future is Bright

As LED lighting becomes more popular, and advancements continue to be made in research and production, costs are expected to fall. All in all, still consider giving LED(s) a try since they do save you a lot of money, if over just a slightly longer time.

Why should I use LED Lights?

LED Lights consume 80 to 90 % less energy when compared to the equivalent incandescent light bulb. LED Lighting Products are good for the planet and good for your wallet!

LED undercabinet lightingWhat are the environmental benefits?

According to federal government reports in 2010, 22% of electrical consumption in the USA is used on lighting –  so a substantial amount of energy can be saved by converting to LED lights. Longer life LED lights benefit the reduction of CO2 emitted for every kilowatt of energy saved.  (the primary source of energy in the USA is the burning of fossil fuel and thus generation of CO2).

Every megawatt hour of electricity saved  reduces CO2 emissions by 1 ton! Landfills will also benefit from the implementation of LED lighting due to the long useful life of the LED lights. One (1) LED light can last has long as 50 conventional incandescent light bulbs: a true savings.

Incandescent Bulbs:     25 Watt       equivalent lighting usage  – LED 3 Watt

40 Watt                                          LED 4-5 Watt

50 Watt                                           LED 6-7 Watt

60 Watt                                           LED 8-9 Watt

75 Watt                                           LED  10-12 Watt

100 Watt                                         LED 15-20 Watt

  • If  you replace a traditional 60w incandescent bulb with an  8w LED and the light is on 8 hours a day for one year  (2,920 hours), your electrical consumption will be reduced by 152 kw-hours per year. The average home owner will therefore save $27.00+ for each LED bulb per year assuming a fully loaded electrical bill cost of $0.18/kWh. Considering the average home has 20 light bulbs, then a savings of over $500 per year can be realized.

 

  •  LED lights have a theoretical useful life of over 50,000 hours compared to only 1,000 hours for  traditional incandescent bulbs. Some LED(s) will continue to operate up to 100,000 hours! This means that a single LED light will theoretically last over 17 years if operated 8 hours per day.

 

  •  Also the spiral structure of the CFL lamp is really not visually appealing and CFLs contain toxic mercury, which make it a dilemma when trying to properly dispose of them. LED lights are designed in several different shapes and can emit varying colors of light depending on the users preference. LED lights do not contain any harmful metals such as mercury or lead and they last for 50,000 hours!

 

  •  LED lights may be used in place of traditional incandescent lamps without changing the fixture. Please note that most LED lights are not designed to be used with dimmers. Do not install an LED bulb into a dimmer controlled circuit with a properly designed LED lamp. Despite the majority of LED bulbs are not able to be dimmed, some LED bulbs ARE able to dim.

 SPECIAL NOTE:  LED components operate on DC current typically at 350 mA.  Therefore every LED bulb contains a LED driver to convert the AC power to DC power. Special drivers are required if the bulb is to function with a standard voltage regulating wall dimmer such as those made by Lutron and Leviton.  Therefore only install bulbs labeled as “Dimmable” in lighting circuits that contain dimmers. If a “Non- Dimmable” bulb is installed into a “Dimmable” circuit, the bulb may burnout, flicker or damage the dimmer.

EXTRA SPECIAL NOTE:  We were eager to get our home’s old fashioned bulbs exchanged with LED bulbs, but realized a complete makeover in one fell swoop would put a good dent in our wallets.  We decided to replace a bulb every week or so, the investment cost was much less noticeable and over the past year and a half, we have replaced nearly every bulb in our 6 bedroom home!

The best part is we’ve seen a marked decrease in our average monthly electric bill, despite 3 adult children moving back home last spring! which brings extra laundry, dishwashing and lighting usage!

Needless to say, LED is the way!