Save more money by pairing energy efficient lights with solar

Save more money by pairing energy efficient lights with solar

Do energy efficiency light bulbs really save money?

Written by Andrew Sendy

Updated August 12, 2021

5 minutes read

Categories: Solar efficiency

Do energy efficient light bulbs really save money

On December 19, 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was signed into law. This legislative effort aims to increase the country’s ability to provide for its own energy needs.

The law includes initiatives to encourage residential property owners to take steps to increase the energy efficiency of their buildings. Energy efficient lighting is a simple and effective way to significantly reduce overall power consumption.

How does energy-efficient lighting work?

For most of the last century or so, the world has relied on incandescent light bulbs for indoor and outdoor lighting. Incandescent lights rely on a chemical reaction caused by running electricity through tungsten.

While this chemical reaction causes bright and continuous light, these bulbs are incredibly inefficient. Since these devices don’t fit into the standards laid out in the Energy Independence and Security Act, the US government mandated they be phased out of production starting 2012.

In contrast, energy efficient light bulbs use gas to produce a similar chemical reaction. However, this reaction produces ultraviolet light, which isn’t normally detectable by the human eye. A special coating on the bulb filters the light and make it suitable for use.

Do energy efficiency light bulbs really save money?

One of the barriers to the widespread adoption of energy efficient light bulbs is the initial price. Compared to incandescent bulbs, energy efficient models cost a lot more, which means a higher upfront investment.

However, the savings on your monthly utility bills are well worth it. The US Department of Energy estimates that the average household can save $75 a year by replacing just 5 of their most frequently used light bulbs with energy efficient models.

How much you will actually save depends on many factors, including:

  • The number of light bulbs on your property
  • Your preferred wattage
  • How many hours you use your lights each day
  • The price of energy per watt in your area

Use this formula to calculate your total energy usage and cost before and after switching your bulbs:

  • (Number of bulbs) x (Preferred wattage) = Total wattage
  • Total wattage / 1000 = Usage in kilowatts
  • (Usage in kilowatts) x (Energy price per watt) = Yearly cost

You’ll need to work these equations twice, once using the information from your current light bulbs and the other using data from energy efficient options. Alternatively, you can use this online calculator to quickly determine your potential savings.

Another thing to remember is that energy efficient light bulbs also last much longer than more traditional models. That means you’ll need to replace them less often, which saves you even more money.

What are the different types of energy efficient light bulbs available today?

  • Halogen incandescent bulbs are a more energy efficient version of the traditional incandescent bulb. A capsule holds the gas close to the electrifying filament, which decreases wasteful heat loss.
  • CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) use roughly a quarter of the energy needed to operate a traditional incandescent bulb. The distinctive twisty shape of these bulbs is sometimes concealed beneath a decorative shell that softens the produced light.
  • LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are solid-state lighting options. Rather than gas, these bulbs use semiconductors to make light. These are currently the most energy efficient choice available. LEDs use roughly 20% of the energy needed for traditional incandescent models, and they last up to 25 times longer.

What are the best energy efficient light bulbs for residential use? All three types of energy efficient light bulbs are available with a range of options, including different sizes, wattages, and colors. However, each type of bulb works best under certain conditions:

  • For outdoor lighting that is constantly kept on, CFLs and LEDs are rugged enough to endure outdoor conditions while still keeping costs low. Using solar panels to power your outdoor lighting increases the positive impact on your utility budget.
  • For those who worry about aesthetics, the classic shape of halogen incandescent is a good accent for indoor décor. These bulbs don’t work well in colder temperatures, so choose a fixture in a warm spot for best results.
  • Super-versatile LEDs can be used almost anywhere. They are also shatter-resistant and don’t contain any harmful gases or substances, which makes them safe for every room in your home.

How much does it cost to change all of your light bulbs to energy efficient models?

Your initial investment in energy efficient light bulbs depends on:

  • Whether you buy them singly or in multipacks.
  • Your chosen wattage.
  • Brand name.
  • Special capabilities, such as WiFi control.
  • The bulb’s purpose (used in lamp, refrigerator, chandelier, etc).
  • How many bulbs you are replacing.

Keeping this in mind, the average initial cost for a:

  • 60-watt incandescent bulb is $.50.

  • 50-watt halogen incandescent bulb is $2.50.

  • 13-watt CFL bulb is $5.

  • 9.5-watt LED bulb is $10.

What incentives and rebates are available for energy efficient bulbs and lighting?

Incentives and rebates lower your initial investment in energy-efficient technologies. There are several online tools that help you find special price breaks based on your location.

  • The US Department of Energy maintains a database of federal and state tax incentives, loan programs, and laws related to energy efficient purchases.
  • The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency contains detailed information on state policies and incentives.
  • Local utility companies often offer discounts and incentives to their customers for installing energy efficient lighting and fixtures.

Check your local department or building supply store for sales on energy efficient light bulbs.

Do energy efficiency light bulbs really save money?

The answer is an unequivocal yes. Not only will they reduce your electricity bills, you will also save a lot of money by not having to buy replacement bulbs as often. LED bulbs can last as long as 27 years!

And those aren’t the only benefits. Energy efficient lighting reduces the strain our country’s energy grid and, crucially, prevents millions of tons of climate change-causing CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

Another way to positively impact your grid energy usage and the environment is by installing a solar energy power system for your home. How much could you save with solar? Find out here.

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Author: Andrew Sendy Andrew Sendy LinkedIn

As chairman of Solar Investments Inc and chairman of the largest solar panel installation company in South Australia, Andy is passionate about solar power. With his unique working background he writes on the residential solar industry in America from a unique perspective.