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Shining light on energy savings for LED lights  Smart Choices Archive

Shining light on energy savings for LED lights

Image: NRECA

Energy Efficiency: Lighting

When it comes to lighting, the potential for energy efficiency is just too great to ignore. Around the home, changing bulbs can change your electric bills, and the monthly savings can add up quickly. Knowing that installing energy-efficient lighting is the green choice seems logical but understanding how efficient lighting keeps green in your wallet, is a little confusing. So, let’s break it apart:

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, nearly 130 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity are consumed by residential lighting each year, representing about 9 percent of all home energy use.

As light emitting diode (LED) design options increase, prices are coming down, and more consumers see LEDs as an alternative to carbon filament incandescent bulbs first popularized by Thomas Edison in the 1880s.

Consumers are becoming more aware of the economic benefits of switching to all LED lighting. When LED lamp products entered the market, a bulb cost around twenty dollars. Today, improved bulb technology sells for a couple of bucks and you can get an LED bulb that saves energy and lasts much longer.

To get an idea of your potential for energy savings, complete a home inventory. Don’t just count fixtures–count bulbs;, check wattage and check whether they are dimmable, three-way, or require special bases. Also note the type of bulb now in use: incandescent (pear-shaped, carbon-filament bulbs), halogen (tungsten-filament bulb that usually features two prongs), compact florescent lights (best recognized as spiral-shaped bulbs), or straight or circular florescent tubes.

There’s a good chance the total bulb count for the average single-family home will be between 50 and 75, including hallways, garages, and storage areas.

Increased options 
For many years, our cooperative has promoted energy efficiency in lighting by sharing information on potential savings and offering rebates to replace bulbs and fixtures with more efficient lighting.

While LED lighting was initially expensive and limited to warm white (usually an amber hue) or a few color temperatures (more characteristic blueish hue) and designs, market acceptance and improved technologies have forced prices down and led to an expanded variety of products.

Cool white, soft white, dimmable, decorative, three-way, and colored lights are now among the options, with LEDs taking up an increasing share of shelf space in the lighting sections of hardware, discount, and home improvement stores.

These days, the energy savings and life expectancy of an LED is significantly better. The early CFLs did not offer good color; they took a long time to reach full brightness, particularly in cold environments; and some failed prematurely–especially if they were used in enclosed fixtures.

Our rebate programs can help 
Thinking of replacing your older, inefficient lighting with LED bulbs and fixtures? Our rebate programs can reimburse you 50 percent of the cost of a bulb up to $2 per bulb or 50 percent of the cost of a fixture up to $6 per fixture. Rebates are now only offered for replacement of existing incandescent, fluorescent, or CFL bulbs, and fixtures with LEDs. Since LED bulbs and fixtures have quickly become the standard, rebates are no longer offered for new construction.

To receive the rebate, just download a lighting rebate form from our website. Complete the form and submit it to our office with a copy of the receipt from your new fixture and bulb purchases.

Calculate potential savings 
How do the savings add up? Let’s say you replace 60 13-watt CFL bulbs in your home with 6-watt equivalent cool white (4100K) LED bulbs. The total wattage from the replaced bulbs is 60 bulbs x 13 watts = 780 watts. The total wattage from the NEW bulbs is 60 bulbs x 6 watts = 360 watts. So, you save 780 watts - 360 watts = 420 watts in your home. If those lights are on an average of 42 hours per week (6 hours per day, 7 days per week) you’ll save $100 per year.*

*420 watts / 1000 watts per kilowatt x 42 hours per week x 52 weeks per year x $0.11 per kWh

Assuming you spent $4 per bulb (a total of $240) to purchase the 60 A19 6-watt LED bulbs. You’ll receive a $2 per bulb rebate (a total of $120.) As a result, you’ll recover the cost of your bulb purchase in less than 15 months.

By understanding how your home uses energy and how our rebate programs can work for you, you can determine the best ways to modify energy use and keep more money in your wallet! For more information or to ask for assistance in calculating your lighting rebate, contact our office.  

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