Do LED Light Bulbs Really Save You Energy and Money?
Start with Watts: the energy used (or saved) every time you turn on a light bulb.
Look at it this way: Say you have a 60-watt incandescent light bulb in a fixture. Every time that light bulb is turned on it uses 60 watts compared to the average 10 watts consumed by a new light-emitting diode (LED) bulb. LEDs have dramatically come down in price making them very competitive with incandescent lighting. Additionally, they have a very impressive lifespan, ranging from 25,000 to 40,000 hours and provide light at much cooler temperature (you can actually touch them after hours of them being turned on).
Did you know that 96% of the energy of an incandescent light bulb is wasted heat and only 4% goes to producing light?
The incandescent light bulb was used in the 1960s in the Easy Bake Oven to bake a cake as it burned so hot!
Today’s LEDs use advanced chip technology to provide a brighter, cooler, instant on, long lasting bulb. With little energy wasted you can save significantly on your electric bill:
60-watt incandescent on 3 hours/day at $0.10/kWh will cost you $6.50/year.
10-watt LED on 3 hours/day at $0.10/kWh will cost you $1/year – that $5.50/year saving for just one light bulb!
What to look for when purchasing LEDs
With all the different kinds of brightness, colors and styles for LEDs, it can be overwhelming to know what to look for when purchasing LEDs.
When purchasing incandescent bulbs, you choose the bulb based on the wattage which is an indication of how bright the light will be. Brightness in LEDs is determined differently – it is all about lumens. The higher the lumens the brighter the light will be. This chart shows you the watt-lumen conversion between incandescent and LEDs:
|2,600 lm||150 watt||25-28 watt|
|1,600 lm||100 watt||16-25 watt|
|1,100 lm||75 watt||9-13 watt|
|800 lm||60 watt||8-12 watt|
|450 lm||40 watt||6-9 watt|
Warm to Cool Colors
New LEDs come in a wide range of color temperatures measured in kelvins (K). The lower the number, the warmer (amber) the light. Your typical incandescent is between 2,700 and 3,500K whereas 5,000K and above is equivalent to daylighting. For most homes, a warmer temperature will be what you will want to look for in a LED. In commercial properties, the cooler daylighting color of 3,500 – 5,000K is more desirable.
If you are looking to dim the LED, purchase dimmable LEDs. Because LEDs have different circuitry than incandescent, an old dimmer may not be compatible with the new dimmable LED. If the LED flickers or makes a buzzing noise when dimmed, it is best to replace the dimmer. On the LED packaging, the manufacturer will give a website to check for compatible dimmers for their dimmable LED.
Read the Labels
Just like the nutritional label on food items, lighting packages have a helpful Lighting Facts™ label that shows the lumens and color temperature. Look for the Lighting Facts™ label to ensure you are purchasing the correct LED for your application and purchase Energy Star™ LEDs (blue label you see on appliances and electronics) . These LEDs will last 25,000 hours or more (that is 22 years if on for 3 years a day). And make sure the LED has at least a three year warranty!
Where to Start
With the energy savings potential of LEDs, it is best to start replacing your higher wattage incandescent light bulbs and halogens (60 watts or higher) that are used at least 2 hours/day first. For businesses, most lighting can be switched to LED and will payback in a fairly short time (some projects less than two years).
Ready to purchase LEDs for your home or business? We offer rebates for residential and commercial members to try out LED lighting!