Here at CUB, we continually stress low-cost and easy ways to be energy efficient as the best way to save money on electric bills. Among the easiest of ways to save money on electricity nowadays is on your lighting.
LED lighting is by far and away the cheapest way to keep your home lit throughout the year. In the past, many people turned away from LEDs due to the high cost of each light bulb. Now, as the technology has improved and rebates are available, it is possible to find LEDs for as low as $1 per bulb! Check out this handy tool from Xcel Energy to find deals on LEDs near you.
At $1 per LED bulb, replacing just one standard incandescent light bulb in your home that is on for about 3 hours a day will save you over $125 over 20 years. While saving an average of about $6 a year may not sound like much, the average U.S. home has around 40 light bulbs. If each of those light bulbs were replaced with LEDs, you would save over $200 per year and over $2,000 over the life of those LED bulbs. Because LED bulbs are so much more efficient than incandescent bulbs they will last much longer, some over 10 years.
While there are LEDs that are sold for $1 in stores, the price of LEDs varies. The good news is that the more expensive LEDs have a longer life. Depending on use, it is possible to get 20 years out of a single LED light bulb. With that life, you would still save $125 over 20 years for a single light bulb. Your payback time of an LED compared to an incandescent bulb is about 4 months, even with spending up to $4 more per bulb with the energy savings you will see.
Similarly, replacing 40 CFL light bulbs in your home with LEDs would save you close to $40 a year. While not as significant of savings as the incandescent-to-LED transition, CFLs are more damaging to the environment due to chemicals such as mercury in the bulbs and must be recycled at specialized recycling centers. Because LEDs do not contain any harmful chemicals, they can be disposed of at home or brought to recycling centers.
Replacing your lighting with efficient LED light bulbs is a great way to reduce your energy usage and save money. If you’re interested in going a step further, an energy audit is another great way to find these cheap and easy ways to reduce your energy footprint in your home. Many of these audits will also replace your lighting with LED bulbs for free! Our very own Carmen Carruthers recently did an energy audit in her home. Check out her blog to learn about her experience.