Sustainability | Renewable Energy

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LED & CFL lights save hundreds of dollars annually in energy bills for building owners (after reaching a break-even point in only a matter of months for the initial investment in energy-saving bulbs, as described in this article by the Washington Post). LEDs and CFLs are more energy efficient, in addition to being more cost efficient, than incandescent lights. Energy efficient light bulbs last many times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, adding to the overall cost savings (as described in this article by The Simple Dollar). Additionally, energy-saving bulbs have been proven to be environmentally beneficial (vs. traditional light bulbs); and the quality of light LEDs and CFLs give off clearly outshines that of incandescent light bulbs.

LED & CFL Light Benefits:

Cost & Energy Savings

LED bulbs do carry a higher price tag than the common incandescent bulbs on the shelf and this tends to immediately turn customers away. However, the when lifespan of LED bulbs is factored in, as well as the energy savings from using LED bulbs, there is actually a significant amount of cost savings in the long run (see the chart at the bottom of this article). CFLs can also provide you with similar benefits that LED lights provide (only a bit less substantial), with a slightly smaller price tag; CFL also have less efficiency than LEDs (but more efficiency than incandescents).

Compared to other light bulbs, LED bulbs will last up to 50 times longer than an incandescent bulb, and up to 10 times longer than CFLs (data on LED longevity is on Incandescent bulbs need to be replaced three, four, or even more times, before even one LED bulb needs to be replaced. LED lighting uses only up to seven watts of electricity. This is equal to 1/3 of what an incandescent light bulb uses.

Give Off Better Light

Both LEDs and CFLs give off a better quality of light than incandescent lights. LED bulbs utilize directional lighting which effectively illuminates a designated area which is favorable in track or recessed lighting. There are a variety of energy efficient bulbs that are also designed with a special diffuser which can disperse the light it gives off in a more spherical direction which is favored in main room lighting fixtures or lamps. Incandescent bulbs give off a less pure white light, while LEDs and CFLs give off a brighter, whiter lighting.

LED and CFL light bulbs can be used in any fixture used for incandescent lighting. LED and CFL bulbs can be used in various lamps, ceiling fixtures, track lighting, outdoor lighting, and in recessed lighting fixtures. CFLs and LEDs are also now able to work with dimmer switches, and 3 way lighting fixtures. They also come in different sizes and styles such as tube lighting, or various diffused bulbs. There are LED bulbs small enough to use in flashlights, which extend the battery life in flashlight to at ten times a longer life span of other light bulbs.

Environmental benefits of switching to energy-efficient light bulbs

LED and CFL lights are gaining popularity not just because they can save hundreds in utility bills but because they are much better for the environment. Especially popular in the mass market in the United States are energy efficiency light bulb kits from Energy Star affiliated companies, and utilities. This quote is from the Energy Star site (where LED energy efficient light bulb kits are also available for purchase)- "If all Americans replaced their inefficient light bulbs with Energy Star certified LED bulbs, we would save more than $1.4 billion dollars in annual energy bills, and prevent more than 17 billion pounds of annual carbon pollution." (from-

LEDs have greater environmental benefits than CFLs, however CFLs also benefit the environment. CFL bulbs not only use close to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs, but CFLs also cut back on the CO2 emitted into the environment. If more individuals would begin replacing just one incandescent bulb with a CFL or an LED bulb, the CO2 emissions associated with light bulbs (the grid-based generation of electricity needed to power most light bulbs in most buildings) would be significantly reduced.

LEDs and CFLs are stand-out examples of energy efficient and sustainable products that are readily available in the consumer market; other examples of energy efficient products are electric and hybrid vehicles, and home energy management technology, and a host of various products from Energy Star.

Data that supports the cost efficiency of LEDs/ CFLs vs. incandescents:

Approximate cost per 60 watt bulb $1 or less $2 or less $3 or less
Average lifespan 1,200 hours 8,000 hours 25,000 hours
Watts used 60W 14W 10W
No. of bulbs needed for 25,000 hours of use 12 3 1
Total purchase price of bulbs over 23 years $10 $6 ~$4
Total cost of electricity used (25,000 hours at $0.12 per kWh) $180 $42 $30
Total operational cost over 23 years $201 $48 $38


Please also see:

Go Green: 5 Advantages of LED Lighting


Home Energy Management

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