Energy costs are forever rising so the need for conservation is growing. One of the best ways to save on electrical energy is to change our old incandescent light bulbs for newer more efficient fluorescent and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs and fixtures. And thanks to my friends at State Farm Insurance I can share these tips with you.
At the national average power cost of $0.10 per kilowatt hour (kw/h) and based on an 8 hour daily usage this is how the lights compare over a one year period. We of course; in the Anchorage area pay closer to $0.15 per kw/h, half again the national average. And if you consider what is paid for electricity in the bush; we are getting a bargain.
A traditional 100 watt light bulb are cheap to produce and market, at $0.89, and will use 100 watts per hour to provide 1750 lumens of light (brightness) over its average 1,000 hours of service, before it burns out. The annual cost to operate that bulb is approximately $28.80 and over a 5 year period the bulb will need to be replaced about 44 times. The bulbs are inexpensive but the energy consumed and need for replacement far outweighs the value of a cheap bulb.
A more efficient halogen bulb which costs $5.89 burns 72 watts per hour and provides 1490 lumens over its average life of 1,000 hours. The annual cost to operate is approximately $20.72 and over the same 5 year period and will need replacement the same 44 times. The bulbs are far more expensive and do use less power but the replacement rate is the same.
A compact fluorescent bulb is cheaper than the halogen at $3.49, burns only 27 watts per power and provides 1750 lumens over its average life of 10,000 hours. The annual cost to operate is approximately $7.36 and over the same 5 year period will only need to be replaced 4 times. These bulbs are very affordable and last a very long time and are available everywhere.
The newer LED lights are very expensive at $47.99, burns only 9 watts per hour and provides 650 lumens over its average life of 50,000 hours. The annual cost to operate is only $2.60 and over the same 5 year period will need replacement only 1 time. Although very expensive they are very affordable to operate and have the longest life but are not as easy to locate.
The federal government is in the process of eliminating the standard incandescent bulb, which will make them obsolete in the near future. The halogen lights create a tremendous amount of heat as they operate, so they can be hazard if not properly installed with proper clearances. Compact fluorescents typically have a small amount of mercury inside to make them operate which creates a disposal and contamination problem. Newer CFL’s will be labeled whether or not they contain mercury. The LED’s are currently somewhat difficult to find for all the light fixtures in use, certainly are more expensive, but with a greater demand should become more available.