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. It must also be said, LEDs are quickly becoming the light bulb of choice for most new bulb purchases, especially in nations like the United States, as well as throughout Europe.
LED & CFL Light Benefits:
Cost & Energy Savings
LED bulbs do carry a higher price tag than the common incandescent bulbs on the shelf. 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. CFLs 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 Bulbs.com). 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 that is favorable in track or recessed lighting. There is 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 brighter, whiter lighting.
LED and CFL light bulbs can be used in almost 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- energystar.gov/products/lighting_fans/light_bulbs).
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.
[It must be noted that the costs quoted below are rough estimates of light bulb prices, as long as the bulbs are bought in bulk. Buying light bulbs in bulk reduces the cost per bulb significantly. The higher the quantity of light bulbs purchased at a time, the lower the price per bulb. Depending on the deal offered by a given retail outlet for new light bulbs bought in bulk at the time of purchase, the savings per bulb could be well over 50%. Of equal significance is the wattage of the various given bulbs in the cost analysis. Thus, the chart below is simply a rough estimate of light bulbs costs in bulk purchases. There are multiple variables that would change the below numbers substantially, if factored into the equations when the cost per bulb is broken down and analyzed >>>
|TYPE OF LIGHT BULB||Incandescent||CFL||LED|
|Approximate cost per 60 watt bulb||~$1.50 or less||~$3 or less||~$4 or less|
|Average lifespan||~1,200 hours||~8,000 hours||~25,000 hours|
|Watts used||60W||14W (60W equivalent)||10W (60W equivalent)|
|No. of bulbs needed for 25,000 hours of use||~20||~3||~1|
|Total purchase price of bulbs over 23 years||~$20||~$6||~$8|
|Total cost of electricity used (25,000 hours at $0.12 per kWh)||~$180||~$42||~$30|
|Total operational cost over 23 years||~$200||~$48||~$38|
This cost chart is from (and then later modified before being published here)>> thesimpledollar.com/the-light-bulb-showdown-leds-vs-cfls-vs-incandescent-bulbs-whats-the-best-deal-now-and-in-the-future
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