Learn How to Reduce Lighting Electric Use in Your Home
The frustrating part about trying to lower your electric bill is the simple fact that so many things depend on electricity in our day to day lives. For example, think for a moment how many different electronic devices remain plugged into outlets every day. From space heaters to air conditioners to light bulbs to appliances to TV’s to phone chargers to hair dryers to computers. Truly, an endless list.
However, good news awaits. For example, huge improvements in electric energy efficiency happens all the time. Especially in the area of electric lighting. New Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs use only a fraction of the electricity the older incandescent bulbs used. To best save energy on lighting, it is helpful to better understand the lighting terminology and options available to us in the industry today.
Incandescent lighting is the older, traditional lightbulbs that have been used for years. They are inefficient, hot to the touch and usually only last a few years. Halogen light bulbs are a slightly more efficient form of incandescent lighting.
Fluorescent lighting is used very commonly today as general lighting in stores, offices, etc. It is typically installed as 4-foot tubes. Additionally, fluorescent lighting requires a ballast to “start” or turn the bulb on and remains more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Plus, higher efficiency essentially means that CFL's provide more light than incandescent lightbulbs for every dollar of electricity. Finally, smaller versions of fluorescent lights called compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL’s) are used today as energy efficient replacements of regular incandescent lightbulbs.
LED lighting or light-emitting diodes are a newer lighting technology today that produces light very efficiently. Additionally, LED lights are more efficient, dimmable, longer lasting, more affordable and come in a variety of color temperatures. Finally, LED lighting remains VERY efficient. Experts recommend leveraging LED lighting throughout your home because it provides the highest efficiency lighting system possible.
A lightbulb’s wattage determines the amount of electricity consumed whenever the lightbulb shines. The lower the wattage, the less electricity used when the light is on.
This is the brightness or the total amount of visible light produced by the lightbulb (measured in lumens).
A lightbulb’s efficiency equals the total amount of visible light produced (in lumens) per watt of electricity consumed by the lightbulb. For example, a 60-watt incandescent lightbulb provides 860 lumens of visible light output. Additionally, to determine its lighting efficacy, divide 860 lumens by 60 watts or 860/60=14 lumens per watt. A LED 11-watt lightbulb that produces the same amount of light (860 lumens) maintains a lighting efficacy of 860/11 or 78 lumens per watt (the higher the lumens per watt, the more efficient the lightbulb).
Lighting Burn Time
The lighting burn time or number of burn hours equals the total number of hours per day a light is used. The number of burn hours per day implies a dramatic impact on the electric consumption of a lightbulb. Lightbulbs left on when no one is in the room adds to your monthly electric bill unnecessarily.
Light Color Temperature
Light bulbs feature three primary types of color temperature, which include soft white, bright white (or cool white) and daylight. For example, soft white maintains a color temperature of 2700K to 3000K and yields a softer, yellowish color. Conversely, bright white (or cool white) maintains a color temperature of 3500K to 4100K and yields bluish-white color. Finally, daylight maintains a color temperature of 5000K – 6500K and yields a very white color. The higher the degrees Kelvin, the whiter the color temperature.