Lighting the Way to Lower Electricity Service Costs

If you're looking for ways to pay less for your electricity service, consider this: as much as one-fourth of an average home’s electricity budget is attributed to electric lighting. Installing natural skylights or fluorescent lighting will reduce the energy needed to achieve the same level of lighting as compared to incandescent lighting, and compact fluorescent light bulbs use one-third the energy of incandescents, and last as much as six to ten times longer.

While both incandescent and halogen bulbs produce light by using electrical current to heat a tungsten filament, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) create light a different way. Fluorescent gas inside the bulb is electrified to produce ultraviolet light, which is converted by the bulb's coating into visible light. For this reason, CFLs are 67 to 80 percent more energy-efficient than incandescents.

Measuring the Efficiency of Light

The measure of light is lumens, which correspond to the amount of light produced per watt of electricity. Hypothetically, for a light to be 100 percent efficient, it would have to give 680 lumens per watt. Fluorescent lighting has the highest luminous efficiency, somewhere between 9 and 11 percent for most CFLs. Halogen lamps are approximately 3.5 percent efficient, while conventional incandescent bulbs fall in between 1.9 and 2.6 percent.

Another consideration is the watts needed to produce the same amount of light. For example, an incandescent bulb needs 60 watts of electricity to produce the same amount of light as a 15-watt CFL bulb.

New LED Light Bulbs

The newest type of light bulbs to revolutionize the energy-efficient lighting market are Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. LEDs are small, super efficient solid bulbs. New versions group LED bulbs in clusters, adding diffuser lenses and thereby extending applications for LED use in the home. LED technology is rapidly advancing, with many new bulb styles coming on the market. More expensive to purchase than CFLs, LEDs end up being cheaper in the long run since they last longer. Also, as manufacturing technology improves, the price of LED bulbs continues to decline.

LED lighting is super compact and up to 85 percent more efficient than incandescents, and even beats CFLs by 10 percent. And as far as the purchase price, consider this: the cost of the electricity used over the life of an incandescent light bulb is five to ten times the original cost of the bulb itself.

Just imagine; the LED bulb you install in your newborn child's room today won't need to be replaced until your child heads off to college! And the money you save on electricity service from just that one bulb might even help pay his tuition.

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