Summary:

Install LED lighting instead of CFL lighting. CFL lighting provided a bridge technology between incandescent lights and LED lights. CFLs are no longer the best choice.

All the Facts:

According the the Department of Energy’s Buildings Energy Data Book, lighting accounts for 6% of a home’s energy use (pie chart below). According the the EIA, lighting was responsible for 10% of home electricity usage.

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This makes sense when noticing that 63% of home energy use is consumed for water heating and space heating, most of which is performed through usage of natural gas, not electricity. Even though it is a relatively minor percentage of electricity, it is still worth the switch. If one were to switch from all incandescent usage to all LED usage, then the electricity used on lighting would drop in the home by 86%. What’s more, at 3 hours of usage a day, the cost difference in bulbs between an incandescent and an LED would be paid for in less than 6 months. Take a look at the chart below to review the differences in energy usage and costs among incandescents, CFLs, and LEDs.

Note: The lamps used for the above comparison were: incandescent, CFL, LED

According to the Department of Energy’s Residential Lighting End-Use Consumption Study, U.S. households averaged 1.6 hours of use per lamp (lamp being the technical term for bulb), 47.7 watts per lamp, and 67.4 lamps per household. That means that the average household used 5.6 times more electricity on lighting than they would have if all lights were LEDs.

In Osram Sylvania’s 2016 lighting survey, 39% of respondents had never purchased an LED. According the table above we see that LEDs use only 14% of the energy that a typical incandescent uses and lasts 26 times longer. Additionally, LEDs switch on instantly unlike CFLs which require a warm up period to provide full lighting levels. With pricing on LEDs dropping like a rock, it has become clear that CFLs were just a bridge technology. In fact earlier this year GE announce that they will be discontinuing manufacturing of CFLs in favor of manufacturing exclusively LEDs. What Sylvania’s survey did not cover was how many incandescents were still in use, but with 70% of the country not having purchased the most efficient type of light bulb, the 10% of home electricity use dedicated to lighting could continue dropping for years. Attacking this part of your energy usage is not only easy, it pays for itself.