Today’s energy savings guide is going to be one of the simplest and most affordable ways you can cut some energy costs, and that’s by being energy efficient with your lights! There is also much more information and progressive developments about lights than you would think; but never fear because I’ll explain them all!
The first thing that we can talk about are the light bulbs themselves. Switching your indoor lights to more energy efficient models can save you up to 50 bucks a year. This might not sound like a whole lot, but that’s a couple trips to your favorite minor league baseball team. There are a couple different types if energy efficient bulbs you can buy.
The first one is a Compact Florescent Lamp (or a CFL). You’ll recognize these as the twisty light bulbs you see in stores. They will pay for themselves in a little over half a year, and then make you money from there on out. They use about a fourth less energy than a traditional light bulb and last almost ten times longer. It is worth mentioning that these bulbs have a little bit of mercury in them (the thing in thermometers) so you need to be a bit careful on handling them if they break. Jump to page three on this guide to get directions on how to handle a break. Last thing about CFLs is that they run a bit hotter than your normal light bulbs do, because of this you might find some lamps that prohibit the use of them because they might burn too hot, light the shade on fire, and then burn your house down…and really no amount of lightbulbs can save you enough money for a brand new house.
Another one is a Light Emitting Diode (LED) light bulb. You’ll know these because they are usually three little bulbs that emit a REALLY bright light. LED lights are the brightest and most energy efficient bulb you can get. An LED light can use as much as 25% less energy than a traditional bulb and can last up to 25 times longer. LEDs are kind of the latest and greatest when it comes to light bulbs and really are the best you can get. They will save you the most money in the long run, but they are also the most expensive to get at the store so it’s a bit of a trade off in the beginning. LEDs are good for indoor lighting, but they’re ESPECIALLY good for outdoor lighting. Because of how they are made and powered they fare really well against rain and snow and do better in the cold than CFLs do. You can also buy some outdoor or porch lighting with solar panels to save even more money.
So now that you know what kind of lights there are for energy savings I’ll explain what the new labeling system is for lights. Just like nutrition facts on a box of cereal, lights are featuring a new Lighting Facts Label. There’s a lot of stuff on it so let’s break it down:
Lumens: Lumens are the new standard of light output that measure light in terms of how our eyes perceive it vs. how bright it is. This is a different measurement of light than footcandles, which used to be the standard. Bulbs used only display the watts that they use, which is in terms of energy and not brightness. With this new label instead of buying a light bulb because of how much energy it uses, you can now purchase them in terms of how bright they are. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re replacing a 100w bulb look for something around 1600 lumens, a 60 watt bulb will have about 800.
Estimated Yearly Cost and Lifespan: These two are fairly self explanatory so I don’t see much of a reason to give them each their own category. The only really noticeable thing about them is that they are measuring the bulb’s usage at three hours a day, which is pretty small in my opinion. Take these measurements with a grain of salt because I’m sure that you use your lights way more than that and will therefore have different ACTUAL numbers vs. these projected ones.
Warm/Cool Meter: This one is kind of hard to explain. This is measuring how warm or cool the light it. The best way I can try to describe this is by saying not necessarily how bright the light is, but rather how harsh the light is to your eyes. Cooler bulbs tend to have a whiter and duller light, warmer lights tend to have a harsher brightness to them. This is really a matter of opinion than anything else, but regardless of me trying to explain it I’m sure you’ll be able to tell a warm or a cool bulb just by seeing it.
Well there you have it, everything you’ve ever wanted to know, but never thought to ask, about lights. I’d love to hear everyone’s comments to my energy savings guides so if you can let me know how I’m doing! Leave a comment here or on facebook and let me know how I’m doing!
Build (and light) safe out there!!