Hooray for LED Lights!!

Browsing the lighting aisle in Home Depot about a month ago, I uncovered an exciting new light bulb. Well, not new, LED (light emitting diode) technology has been around more than 50 years, and three scientists where just honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics for their development of the blue LED technology in 1993. (The blue was needed the create white light and that was an enormous breakthrough.) What was so exciting about my trip through the lighting aisle was the price point- a two pack  of  40w replacement LEDs for $10.97.

While CFLs are more efficient than the old incandescent technology, and have provided a bridge technology, the  breakthroughs of LEDs will hopefully soon render them obsolete.

Here are some reasons why LEDs are a better investment than CFLs.

Non-toxic: Unlike CFLs, LEDs don’t contain mercury, so they don’t need to be recycled.

Long-lasting and less waste: LEDs can work for 100,000 hours, that’s around 20 years and that reduces waste and the need to buy new light bulbs and throw away old ones. That’s about ten times longer than CFL bulbs and 100 times the life-span of incandescent lights.

Energy efficient: The 40w replacement LEDs I purchased uses 6w of energy. The 60w replacements use 10w of energy. I found that replacing four 15w CFLs with four 6w LEDs- daylight, I got a better lighting effect.

Cost-effective: My new 10w (60w equivalent) LEDs estimate they cost about $1.20 a year  to run.

Cool: LEDs emit about 3.4 btu’s an hour. Compare that to 85 btu’s for incandescent and 30 btu’s for CFLs. That means that the energy used to light the bulb doesn’t escape and heat the room, reducing air conditioning costs.

Choices: Soft white, bright light, daylight, dimmable- you choose.

Instant On: No more waiting for those CFLs to heat up.

It’s been said that by switching over to LEDs, the US could reduce it’s total energy consumption 20%.

So what are you waiting for?? Make the switch to LEDs today!!

It’s Not Rocket Science to Change a Lightbulb

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I’m buying a new house and the current homeowner gave me a grid of their electric bills for the year. I couldn’t wrap my brain around why their electric bill was so high, until we started poking around the house. First, all of the light bulbs are incandescent bulbs. “(Gasp) Do people still use incandescent light bulbs?” I mused. I guess my answer is yes. But with the next generation of light bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) lasting 8-15 times longer and using two-thirds to three-quarters less energy, the question should be why are people still using dinosaur technology, uhmm, I mean incandescent light bulbs?

Other options include LED (light emitting diode) bulbs. The LED bulbs use even less energy, 2 watts to give 60 watts of energy and lasts for up to 15 years. It is more expensive though. We saw a 2 pack of LED bulbs at Sam’s for $19.98.

Doing some comparison shopping at Lowes, Home Depot and Sam’s Club, my son and I uncovered a great summer discount program sponsored by our local utility, PNM. So the already inexpensive prices were even cheaper. So, get out to your local store and grab some energy efficient bulbs because the PNM promotion ends August 26, 2012. If you are located somewhere else, check out your local utility for summer promotions. Even if you don’t have a promotion going on right now, the energy savings over the long run makes purchasing energy efficient bulbs well worth your investment!

Remember that the CFL bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, so you can’t throw them in the trash. There are lots of places to recycle them. Home Depot and Lowes both do. You can also check out Earth911 to find a location near you.


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