FIRST on the list has to be light bulbs. This is the easiest
savings program to implement, and offers the most savings
for investment, and the results are instantaneous.
Conventional incandescent (filament) type light bulbs have
been in use since Thomas Edison invented them in 1879.
Compared to more modern lighting alternatives, these bulbs
are extremely inefficient and very costly to operate.
Personally, I hate fluorescent lamps. The following comments
apply to any type of florescent lamp, whether it is the
standard 40 or 80-Watt straight tube, the round ones used in
Art-Deco fixtures, or the curly ones you screw into a
standard Edison-base light bulb socket.
They generate lots of heat, and no matter what coating they
have in them, the light from fluorescent tubes in unnatural.
Fluorescent tubes also create a 60-cycle visual "hum" that
some people find disturbing (I'm one of those people).
Fluorescent lamps also have a tendency to "run out of gas";
and when they do, the light flickers as the bulb wears out.
These bulbs also contain the heavy metal Mercury, and the
phosphor coating on the inside of the bulb is also toxic.
Besides all of the above, most fluorescent lamps require
step-up transformers, which in addition to creating voltages
that are unsafe to work around, generate their own heat. If
it's winter, you may welcome the extra BTUs standard light
bulbs create; if it's summer and you're running the Air
Conditioner, remember that even a few BTUs over time, just
like dripping faucets can consume water by the decilitre.
In conclusion, the "efficiency" of florescent lamps over
conventional incandescent bulbs is a very poor trade-off
compared to what is available today. They contain heavy
metals and white phosphorous, which are extremely toxic.
This type of lighting, was invented in the 1930s, and
introduced into general use around 1990 or so for use as a
"backlight" for phones and Laptop PC screens. EL Wire is
commonly used as "string lights" on backpacks and as accent
trim on cars, but EL lighting is not generally used for
everyday home lighting applications. The technology is
efficient, but the amount of light that can be produced by
this method makes it impractical for home lighting.
LEDs were invented in 1927 by Oleg Losev, and first produced
in 1968, as displays for calculators and very expensive
digital watches. At the time, LEDs were "in vogue", but
proved to be impractical for devices that used small
batteries such as watches and calculators, because of the
LED lighting has come a long way, and is BY FAR, the most
efficient lighting system yet. LEDs are solid-state devices
that are produced in a variety of colors, and one can obtain
"cool" or "warm" light spectrum bulbs from any Home
Improvement store (and much cheaper online).
that 600-Watt motion-sensing halogen spotlight in your driveway, and
replace it with a 15 to 30 Watt LED lamp.
Get rid of that deck light that consumes 300 Watts and
replace it with a 15-Watt LED lamp.
The cost of LED lamps is
approximately 5 times what you would pay for an incandescent
bulb with the same light output (measured in Lumens).
However, LED bulbs last many times longer than incandescent
bulbs, produce very small amounts of heat, and typically use
1/6th the power of an incandescent bulb. For example, a
60-Watt LED bulb consumes just 9.9 Watts of electricity to
generate 800 Lumens. Based on 11 cents per kilowatt hour and
use of 3 hours / day, a Utilitech® #0557095 bulb costs $1.19
per year to operate, versus $7.23 for a "standard" 60-Watt
incandescent bulb. Multiply those savings by as many bulbs
as you have in the house (compensating for as much time as
they are "on"), and you can afford something really nice.
The Formula for figuring this out is simple:
Cost To Operate per
Year = ( (Bulb Watts x Hours On x 365) / 1000 ) x Cost Per
LED fixtures lend themselves to a variety of decorative
options as well; in configurations that standard or
fluorescent bulbs could not be applied to. For example,
decorative wall lighting with LEDs is beautiful, and LEDs
are so efficient, that there are a plethora of sun-powered
LED (outside) ground marker lights available. These are very
inexpensive to buy, do not require any (low-voltage) wiring,
require no timers or switches, are easy to install ‒ just
push them into the dirt ‒ and best of all, they are FREE to
LED string lamps are a series of LEDs wired in parallel
along a flexible conductive "tape". They can be cut with a
scissors to any length, and usually operate on 12 Volts DC.
These strips are commonly used for dressing up "street
cars", but you can find uses for these in the home as well.
LED strips are commonly used in dark movie theatres to light
up dark stairs, and you can run one of these strips along
the underside of a railing or banister to provide light on
your home's stairwells. You will need a transformer and a
timer to shut the lights off during the daytime.
As with anything, you can take "efficiency" to extremes. A
clear "retro" (reproduction) light bulb with the filament
glowing red is cool-looking hanging from a fixture over a
desk or love seat; it doesn't put out a lot of light for the
power it consumes, but it's a conversation piece and a
reminder of how far technology has come.
The chart at
the left illustrates the enormous difference in energy consumption
between LEDs and fluorescent and incandescent lighting. In U.S.
stores, these LEDs ‒ even "on sale", cost up to THREE TIMES what the
same thing (or an equivalent) will cost you if you
bought it here.
We looked high
and low for a supplier of high quality LED home lighting fixtures
and LED replacements for a house full of energy-hogging
"Edison"-style incandescent lights. We finally found one that will
get the product to you within your lifetime☺ ‒ or at least before
you lose the motivation to unscrew all your old bulbs.
supplier we used has a mind-boggling
selection of LED lights for your car, home, boat, pool, deck, yard,
and even solar-powered LEDs that you embed in the surface of your