Earth Day on April 22nd is the perfect time to revisit your home’s lighting and your carbon footprint. Better still, give Mother Earth a present and switch your CFL (the tubular swirly type) or incandescent bulbs to LEDs, known in April as ‘Love Earth Day’ lights!
The largest difference between a CFL and LED bulb is life. The average lifespan of a CFL is 10 years, calculated on 3 hours’ use per day. This is without any other detrimental factors, such as frequent switching on or off which detracts significantly. The average lifespan of an LED is 15 to 25+ years. In simple terms switching to LEDs means –
- Convenience. Much less bulb changing for you, the homeowner.
- Reduction in waste
- Reduction in hazardous waste (CFL’s contain small amounts of mercury)
Watts, Lumens and Energy Consumption
The days of choosing between a 60 or 100 watt incandescent bulb are history. Today it is much more important to be aware of how much light the bulb provides than the power it consumes. Light is measured in lumens and the higher the lumens, the brighter the light.
- 100W Incandescent = 1600 lumens. An equivalent CFL consumes 23W, a LED consumes 14W.
- 40W Incandescent = 450 lumens. An equivalent CFL consumes 9W, a LED consumes 5W.
- There are energy and related cost savings switching from CFL to LED, as you can see, but nothing like the reduction seen if you have yet to switch from incandescent bulbs.
- Because an LED uses very low wattage, there is very little heat generation. If you have an old lamp saying “Max 40W”, you can use any high lumen LED in it today and enjoy much brighter light quality.
- The use of lower wattage helps Mother Earth in that fewer fossil fuels are used in the making of the electricity.
The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has developed some great insight into today’s light bulb terminology to help with your understanding and energy efficiency goals. NRDC also recommends looking for the “Energy Star” endorsement. This guarantees the product meets minimum efficiency, lifetime and quality standards.
Other Factors When Buying LEDs
- Many LED bulbs and fixtures are dimmable. Consider if this is important.
- Color. LEDs typically come in Warm White (softer more yellowish glow) or Daylight (cooler bright hue).
- Shape. LEDs come in all shapes and sizes. The traditional sno cone or bulb shape is good for many applications but does not offer enough downward light for a reading lamp for example. Ask us about options for your decor and specific lighting needs.
- Instant full brightness (CFLs have a “warm up” time before full brightness is achieved)
- Cost. Take advantage of Earth Day promotions. While LEDs can seem more expensive, the convenience in never having to change a bulb is a big factor along with their durability. If you still have incandescent bulbs, the cost will be recovered quickly through decreased energy usage. Bottom line: lower electric bills.
If you’ve looked at LEDs in the past and had difficulty finding a suitable bulb, talk to us. LEDs have come a long way in recent years and there’s a replacement LED now for almost every kind of fixture.
At Yale Lighting Concepts & Design, we’re committed to conserving our natural resources and are always here to help you with the selection of the best lighting that balances quality of life with the environment. Contact us today for more insight and ideas.