Monday: Light bulbs

Today we are sharing another bright idea to make your home more energy efficient and environmentally-friendly. That’s right, we’re talking about light bulbs!

Conventional incandescent light bulbs are inefficient primarily because much of the energy is used to produce heat rather than light. Some sources estimate that incandescent bulbs only turn about 5-10% of the energy they use into light. Incandescent light bulbs work by running electricity through a metal filament, which causes the filament to glow white hot, which produces light. Light bulbs become hot through prolonged use because of this inefficient conversation of energy to heat. You can read more about that here.

There are two good alternatives on the market, both of which boast much higher energy-efficiency. You have probably heard of both of them, so we’ll leave you with the highlights of each option.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)

CFL lightbulb

CFLs are essentially a smaller, compact version of fluorescent tube lights. They are available in all shapes and sizes and are more energy-efficient because they run an electrical current through a mixture of gases trapped in the tube rather than burning a filament. Here are the stats:

  • A single CFL can produce between 50 and 100 lumens per watt. (A standard incandescent bulb produces around 15 lumens per watt, making CFLs 4-6x more efficient.)
  • A single CFL usually lasts around 10,000 hours.
  • CFLs release less heat than an incandescent light bulb.
  • CFLs vary in price, but can be found for as low as $2 a bulb, especially when purchased in bulk.
  • CFLs do contain some mercury, so they can’t be tossed in the regular trashcan. Find a drop-off site near you to properly dispose of them.

Learn more about CFLs here: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls_about#how_work

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

LED lightbulb

“LED lighting products use light emitting diodes to produce light very efficiently. The movement of electrons through a semiconductor material illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs.” –energystar.gov

You can read more about LED light bulbs here: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=lighting.pr_what_are#what_are

Check out the stats:

  • LEDs are extremely long-lasting, usually lasting around 100,000 hours.
  • LEDs are much more energy-efficient than both incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, reducing energy consumption by 80-90%.
  • LEDs cost quite a bit more than CFLs but they last longer and use less energy, which amounts to greater savings in the long-run.
  • They are very versatile, being found in desk lamps, brake lights, flashlights, and all shapes and sizes of household light bulbs.

Also, check out this assessment by the Department of Energy:

“The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that rapid adoption of LED lighting in the U.S. by 2027 could;

  • Deliver savings of about $265 billion.
  • Avoid 40 new power plants.
  • Reduce lighting electricity demand by 33% in 2027.”

Let us know in comments how many CFLs and/or LEDs you have in your home! Are you planning to buy some on your next trip to the store? Email us a picture at bolson@mobilebaykeeper.org and we’ll enter you in next week’s drawing!

Let’s keep making a difference, one bright idea at a time!

 

Sources:

http://home.howstuffworks.com/question236.htm

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls_about#how_work

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=lighting.pr_what_are#what_are

http://www.treehugger.com/htgg/how-to-go-green-lighting

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One thought on “Monday: Light bulbs

  1. Pingback: Something Big: Home Efficiency | Make-A-Difference Month

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