Thursday, 9 August 2012

UPDATE! LED -- You've Come a LONG Way, Baby!

Eartheasy has provided a very useful update which includes a great chart to help you understand how many lumens are required for your replacement lighting based on the various replacement options:

For several years now, I've been using a mix of incandescent, halogen and CFL lighting in my home.  Let's face it, they all have their best uses and they all have drawbacks.  Incandescent bulbs come in a variety of options -- cool, warm, soft, etc. but they burn bright and aren't very energy efficient. CFL bulbs, while being considerably more  efficient, provide a cooler light, are slow to reach full capacity, are usually not dimmable and contain the much dreaded mercury.  That means, CFLs require special handling for disposal. While halogen lighting produces the best light for these tired eyes; alas, they are not only expensive, they produce a considerable amount of heat -- great in the winter; not-so-great in the dog days of summer.

Then, along came LED lighting for the home but, as much as I wanted to believe in it, earlier models didn't work out so well for me.  Not only was the lighting poor quality -- for the most part, I couldn't even get them to work in my light fixtures.  But I have to admit, over the past couple of years, LED lighting has come a long way.   So far, in fact, that about half of my lighting needs have been met with LED.

Recently, I replaced about half of my halogen bulbs with LED, and about the same ratio for CFLs and incandescent lighting.  The LEDs provide a great spotlight effect but don't produce enough task lighting so I've mixed them in with my regular halogens.  LED lighting seems to work best where high intensity task lighting is not required.  I'll be monitoring to see whether these bulbs have the lasting power advertised and I'm hoping to see a decrease in my electrical bills very shortly.

Take a look at the comparison chart below.  If the cost savings are even remotely close to being accurate in Canada, I see a beach vacation in the near future. 

Cost Comparison between LEDs, CFLs and Incandescent light bulbs
LED CFL Incandescent
Light bulb projected lifespan
50,000 hours
10,000 hours
1,200 hours
Watts per bulb (equiv. 60 watts)
Cost per bulb
KWh of electricity used over
50,000 hours
300 500
Cost of electricity (@ 0.10per KWh)
Bulbs needed for 50k hours of use
Equivalent 50k hours bulb expense
Total cost for 50k hours
Energy Savings over 50,000 hours, assuming 25 bulbs per household:
Total cost for 25 bulbs
Savings to household by switching
from incandescents
- Cost of electricity will vary. The figures used above are for comparison only, and are not exact.

Residential energy costs among the various states range from 28.53 cents (Hawaii) to 6.34 cents
(Idaho) per KWH.
- The cost per bulb for LEDs may vary. We used the figure of $35.95 (for a 60 watt equivalent LED

bulb) as an average among lighting retailers.
Estimates of bulb lifespan are projected, since it would take about 6 years of continuous lighting to
test. Some manufacturers claim the new LED bulbs will last up to 25 years under normal household
use, but this is not proven.
- Bulb breakage and bulb replacement costs have not been factored into this comparison chart.

Incandescent bulbs and CFL bulbs are more easily broken than LEDs, which increases their cost of use.
- Most LEDs come with a minimum 2-year guarantee. Any defective LED bulb will usually fail within this time.