If you’re like the average homeowner, you’re constantly on the lookout for ways to save a little money. From turning off the lights in the rooms you aren’t in to unplugging appliances you aren’t actively using, the opportunities for money saving are abundant. However, even if you are doing all of these things, if you aren’t using energy-efficient lighting, you are still missing out on some savings.
One of the most frequent questions we hear is, “What’s the most energy-efficient light bulb I can use?” At Kolb Electric, we’re here to help you choose the best type of lighting for your Maryland, DC or Virginia home, and we want you to be well-informed about the energy efficient options that are out there. If you’re wanting to save even more, here’s everything you need to know about energy efficient lighting.
Two Main Choices for Energy-Efficient Lighting
The two main choices for energy-efficient lighting in your home are light emitting diode (LED) and compact fluorescent lights (CFL). Both are a good choice, and both have unique benefits and drawbacks. Making the decision between the two requires a proper understanding of these benefits and drawbacks.
These two lighting options are so much more efficient and beneficial to the environment that incandescent bulbs have been gradually phased out in the United States. By 2020, all general-purpose bulbs must be able to produce at least 45 lumens per watt, which is a similar efficiency as that of CFL bulbs. It is becoming increasingly difficult to purchase traditional general-purpose incandescent bulbs in light of this phase out, though specialty bulbs are still available.
What Is LED Lighting?
LED bulbs create light using a semiconductor to generate light energy. LED bulbs use about 1/30th of the energy used in incandescent bulbs and 1/3rd the energy in CFLs. They also last a long time—as much as 35 times the lifespan of an incandescent bulb—so you don’t have to worry about replacement regularly. With the energy savings and longer lifespan, estimates indicate you can lower your carbon footprint by as much as 85 percent simply by switching from incandescent technology to LED technology.
With an LED bulb, you can light your room with bright light and minimal energy use. Also, these bulbs generate very little heat energy, which means they are safe to touch. They are also quite durable and do not break easily, which means they are the preferred option for hard-to-reach places where a delicate glass bulb is in danger of shattering.
If that makes LED lights sound perfect, you need to know the one main drawback. LED lights are one of the most expensive options for lighting your home. While they lower your energy bills and have the longest lifespan of the available options, if your upfront budget is low, then this option may not work for you.
What Are CFLs?
CFL bulbs bend a traditional fluorescent tube into a light bulb-shaped configuration. These are more affordable than LED bulbs and significantly more efficient than incandescent bulbs, but they don’t quite last as long or save as much energy as LED bulbs.
With CFLs, you are able to lower your energy use by 60 percent as compared to incandescent bulbs that provide the same amount of light. They last about 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs, so you have less frequent need of replacement. While not as cheap as incandescent bulbs, CFLs are priced around $4 to $15 a piece. This is a more moderate price point than LEDs.
So why would you overlook the CLF in favor of LEDs? CFLs are more efficient than incandescent lighting, but they are not as efficient as LEDs. If you’re looking to have the most efficient option on the market, CLFs are not that option.
Which Energy-Efficient Lighting Is Right for You?
The answer to which lighting option you should choose depends largely on your goals. Is your goal to have the most efficient lighting available? Then you want LED bulbs. Are you adding a light bulb to a place that is hard to reach or not accessed regularly? The longevity and durability of LEDs makes them the best choice for this. Is your goal to go efficient while on a tight budget? Then CFLS will work best.
Regardless of the choice you make, both CLFs and LED lighting help you save money, lower your carbon footprint and do your part to make the world a better place with less environmentally damaging waste. If you’re curious about which lighting option will best meet your family’s needs or have further questions about the differences between LEDs and CFLS, Kolb Electric is here to help. Contact us today to have all of your questions answered!