At my own house, I kept thinking I would switch over completely once I had used up all of my old incandescent bulbs, but when I did the math, I was amazed to learn I would save more by ditching those old bulbs —or maybe donating them— than by using them up.
The federal government caught on to the high cost and energy consumption of lighting back in 2007 and passed a law decreeing that lightbulbs must be three times more efficient by the year 2020.
The average American house uses 40 lightbulbs. The average rate for electricity is 13 cents per kilowatt hour.
If all forty lightbulbs were 75 watt incandescent, which is pretty typical, you could convert to 11 watt LEDs to get the same amount of light. Let’s say you leave all forty lights on five hours a day. The annual cost of electricity to power 40 incandescent lightbulbs is an astounding $700. The cost to power 40 LED bulbs is just $100 dollars. Yes, switching to LEDs would save this imaginary household $600 bucks a year. It’s amazing to me that LIGHTING uses so much electricity!
But what about the cost of the bulbs themselves? When LEDs first came on the market, some of them cost as much as $100. Not any more, thank goodness! I was able to find them available for $5 apiece and you can often score LED bulbs for even less, thanks to rebates offered by power companies.
By contrast, old fashioned lightbulbs cost about a dollar a bulb, although, they will probably get more expensive as they become scarce, due to the government mandate. For math’s sake, let’s call the difference in cost between a basic LED and an incandescent bulb $4 bucks. Since a single LED saves you $1.25 a month, you can recoup the cost of the bulb in just over three months.
In addition to saving money, LEDs can save you time —with fewer trips to the store and up the ladder. They last for about 25 thousand hours. That’s more than 13 years, if you keep your lights on five hours a day, which is the number I’ve been using throughout.
Just know that not all LEDs are created equal. To know you are purchasing LEDs with the maximum benefits, look for the Energy Star label. This means they meet standards for brightness, color quality, efficiency, steadiness and lighting up immediately when switched on.
Always nice when you can do something nice for the planet AND you pocketbook all at once.
Rebates offered by power companies:
LED lights for the best price: www.homedepot.com/p/EcoSmart-75-Watt-Equivalent-A19-Dimmable-LED-Light-Bulb-Daylight-2-Pack-5bSA1100STQ1D03/206668064
Energy Star LEDs are the highest standard: