It really doesn’t matter how old your house is, it can likely benefit from more energy efficient lighting. There are piles of energy savings just waiting to be realized that require nothing more than a trip to the big box store.
I have a joke for you, how many contractors does it take to change a light bulb? Zero!
The point is, this is quite possibly the easiest and quickest way to cut your home’s energy use and you don’t need any help to do it! In an age where climate change is an every day topic for the talking heads it doesn’t matter which side of the issue you come down on we can all agree that saving energy and sending less money to the utility companies is a good idea, right? Well, energy efficient lighting is one of the first steps in that process.
LED Bulbs Come of Age
Ten years ago LED light bulbs were ridiculously expensive, terribly ugly, and gave off an ungodly cold light that most of the public couldn’t stand. Today those issues have largely been resolved by innovation.
Warm hues, lower prices and bulbs that look like the old incandescents we are most comfortable with means that upgrading you light bulbs to LED now makes good financial as well as aesthetic sense.
You can find a well=priced and attractive LED lightbulb for just about any application and they are available at almost any hardware store now so the excuse to stay with the old incandescents or CFLs just doesn’t exist anymore. Don’t get me wrong a well placed exposed incandescent light bulb for a decorative fixture can’t be beat, but any bulb that isn’t visible deserves to be an energy saver rather than energy hog.
Calculating the Savings
I’ll use my own house as an example. I have 44 light bulbs in my house (yes I actually counted them). They are a variety of bulbs ranging from 60 watts for general lighting to 25 watts for the chandelier that all told add up to 1,385 watts if I turn everything on with incandescent bulbs.
When I looked at the wattage requirements for replacement LED bulbs I found that most consumed only 13-16% of their incandescent cousins which even on the high side would lower my energy requirements for lighting to 222 watts in its full glory.
How much does a watt hour cost? Utility providers usually charge by the kilowatt hour and in my area in Orlando, FL that cost is about $7 per kWh which equates to $.007 per Wh. According the EnergyStar.com lighting accounts for around 12% of the average energy bill which for me around $200. That means lighting’s share of that is around $24 a month. Let’s cut that down to 16% since we are changing everything to LED which is $3.84 per month. Not bad about $20 buck a month right?
You might be thinking that is hardly worth it and you’d be right. There is another savings you aren’t taking into consideration that is especially important for warmer climates. LED bulbs generate far less heat than incandescents or CFLs so now I’ve got a lower cooling load on my air conditioner which leads to more savings.
The Florida Energy Council says that about 30% of a utility bill is used for cooling in my state and if I can generate less heat from my light bulbs lets take a guess that I can save around 4% a month on cooling costs which is another $2.40.
There’s a lot of ways to calculate it and if you want there is even an easy to use calculator so you can see exactly what your savings are and what your ROI will be. Click the link below to calculate your savings!
The Bigger Savings
It’s not just about having better bulbs, but rather the big savings comes from having better habits. Yes, that means you have to change which is harder than asking others to change. Before you sponsor a piece of legislation to force us all to be more “green” focus first on the plank in your own eye before you take the spec out of your bother’s eye.
What kind of savings could you realize if you turned the lights off every time you left a room, or if you didn’t leave that porch light on all night? What if you took a couple bulbs of those multi light fixtures or used lower wattage bulbs yet still?
The point is don’t get caught up in the savings that technology alone provides because the place where your biggest gains can be are usually where the rubber meets the road, your own behaviors. But then that’s always the truth, isn’t it?
What have you done to save energy costs and lessen your footprint on this world? Have you thought about installing more energy efficient lighting? I’m curious to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.