Get Smart about Energy™


I would like to thank Rob from LED Lights Gallery who contacted me and asked if he could contribute to an article on LED lighting. Please do not try and sneak a spam comment on Open4Energy. 

We do not endorse products, but I appreciated their open approach (Open4Energy cares about attitude) and noted their impressive on-line catalog of household LED light bulbs. We are looking forward to receiving the new A19 - 9W LED light bulbs and comparing their performance to the CFL's we added to our bathroom two years ago.

A19 LED Light Bulb

One of the most popular questions people are asking right now is, how can they save more money?

There are only so many cuts you can make in your budget, and only so many things you can do without. What happens when you are managing without all the things that you realistically can go without, but the ins still do not match the outs?

Although popular in principle, energy expenses are an area where many people are still uncertain. There are plenty of studies that show how being more aware of the specifics of energy consumption in a home will result in a reduction in energy use. But despite this data, and the fact that it takes effort to be aware, only 30% of people are actively converting their increased awareness into any positive action. It makes sense to start by making all the behavioral changes possible to save energy. Switch off any unused lights, remove bulbs from excessive fittings, adjust thermostats up and down, open or close doors, use a fan, get rid of old style electric heaters, reduce shower time, do full loads of laundry, unplug vampire energy devices, etc. etc.

But eventually you will have exhausted all the immediate behavioral savings possible. To go further you need to replace "things that use electricity" with "new things that use less electricity" to do the same amount of work.

If I assume that you are trying to save money, this is hardly the time when you want to hear that you need to spend money. But, it is the only long term way - other than winning the lottery or robbing a bank - to get out of the classic income and expense trap that so many of us are trapped in. I really does take money to make money! Energy efficiency is no exception.

Unlike buying a new energy efficient fridge, or a front loading washing machine (are you aware of how much less water and electricity front loaders use compared to top loaders) or insulating the home, activities requiring large capital outlays, lighting is a low investment opportunity to make some significant savings. Home lighting is estimated to be as much as twenty five percent of the energy expense in the average residential home. For some this can be as much as $1000 a year.

Two years ago, when CFL light bulbs were new (and costly) we did a detailed anaysis comparing a week of energy use using incandescent light bulbs to a week of energy use using CFL light bulbs. For two years we have enjoyed energy savings of approximately 50% - and as hoped (we bough best quality CFL bulbs) we have not needed to replace any of the bulbs. But, as I wrote in a recent update the bulbs in the hall and bathroom (we were warned) are taking progressively longer to reach full intensity.  CFL's work best when they are switched on and left on for more than 4 hours!

LED light bulbs have a number of advantages over both CFL and incandescent light bulbs. They are 75% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, compared to the 50% increase for CFL's. They are almost instant on which allows them to be used in areas where you do not want to wait for the light to reach full intensity. They do not deteriorate rapidly when switched on and off frequently.

Incandescent bulbs last less than a month of continuous use, CFL's last longer with about a year of continuous use, while LED bulbs can last for as long as eleven and a half years. Besides the electricity saved, lower costs of replacing burnt out bulbs; husbands; no lighting honey do's; businesses; lower maintenance bills.

If you want to save money in your home, want to be energy efficient, one of the better things you can do, is to replace your old incandescent bulbs with led light bulbs. Over the next few months Open4Energy is going to be writing a series of articles explaining how to select LED light bulbs, comparing Watts to Lumen's for LED bulbs, looking at the warmth of LED vs. Incandescent light, and seeing where they are not well suited.

Like so many things in life, one approach does not fit all situations. We do hope that you will register with us if you have installed LED lighting in any application, we so like to hear what real people have done!


Open4Energy - Get Smart about Energy™