What are energy efficient light bulbs?
Beginning in January of 2012, the Energy Independence and Security Act began phasing out incandescent light bulbs, and by 2014, your high wattage light bulbs will be a thing of the past (visit EnergyStar.com for more info). Why are incandescent bulbs being phased out? Here’s why:
These are the ‘old’ kind of light bulbs that use a tungsten filament inside a glass bulb. These bulbs use a lot of energy (in wattage) compared to the compact fluorescent bulbs and LED lights that are replacing them. They are breakable and they also produce a lot of heat as the electricity heats up the tungsten filament. Up to 90% of the energy utilized is producing heat, not light, costing more in air conditioning costs in the summer.
Let’s say you use incandescent bulbs that use 60 watts of energy per hour. If you home has 45 light bulbs and they are each left on for only 4 hours in the day (45 x 60 x 4), that’s 10,800 watt hours used each day, or 324 kWh hours used each month. If you spend 0.10 cents for each kilowatt (1000 watts) hour you use, then that’s 32 dollars you pay each month for electricity – and that’s just the light bulbs!
So what are energy efficient light bulbs? Lets first take a look at the CFL bulb.
CFL (Compact fluorescent lights) bulbs:
CFL light bulbs are those sturdy, twisty bulbs that also come in a variety of shapes and sizes suitable for their placement. In CFL bulbs, light is created by a chemical reaction that makes phosphorous illuminate. They do not heat up as much and are 75% more efficient than incandescent light bulbs. You can get the same amount of light that a 100 watt incandescent can give, but for much less wattage, saving energy and money. You can also get CFL light bulbs that have a warm glowing light like the incandescent bulbs do, instead of the bright bluish light that they are often associated with. They are also more durable and do not break as easily as the thin glass bulbs. They are a little more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but last up to ten times as long and require less energy, saving money in the long run.
Here is a chart showing the amount of wattage a CFL bulb needs compared to an incandescent of the same amount of light.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs should be used in areas where light is needed for a long time. Their lifetime tends to decrease if turned on and off a lot, so avoid using them in closets or bathrooms where light is only needed for a short amount of time. LED lights work best in these areas.
You can purchase a wide variety of CFL bulbs at Amazon.com – CFL Light Bulbs
LED (Light emitting diode) bulbs :
Originally used for lighting buttons and to provide direct light to a small area, LED technology has advanced to where LED lighting can be used to light an entire area. They can also make them produce a warmer light, instead of the bright blue light. In LED lights, light comes from electrons moving through a semiconductor material. They do not heat up and are even more durable than CFL bulbs. They can be used for directional lighting, such as recessed lighting, or for illuminating a room. They are more efficient and last longer than CFL light bulbs. They can be expensive, but costs are dropping as production get more efficient. But with the energy savings, they pay for themselves.
Here is a comparison of wattages needed for each type of bulb that produces the same amount of light:
|Incandescent Watts||CFL Watts||LED Watts|
As you can see, LED lighting will provide the most energy savings in the home. Lets look at the scenario again where we looked at the number of bulbs in a home (45), the time they were on (4 hours), and the wattages (60) for each bulb. If you replaced each bulb with either a CFL or an LED light, it would result in a huge amount of savings on your electric bill!
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