With as much as 25% of the average home energy budget going toward electric lighting, energy efficient lighting can be a real cost saver over time.
What is energy efficient lighting?
Energy efficient lighting generally refers to Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs that use less energy, produce less heat and last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
LED bulbs used to require special lighting fixtures. However, manufacturers have expanded the application of LEDs by “clustering” the small bulbs. Newer LED bulbs are made in clusters using as many as 180 bulbs per cluster. They are encased in diffuser lenses which spread the light in wider beams and are available with standard bases which fit common household light fixtures.
LED Lighting Benefits
- More Efficient: use only 6-28 watts for 400-2700 lumens (brightness) which is 1/3 to 1/30 of other bulbs for the same brightness. This also makes them ideal for use with solar panels and generators.
- Long Lasting: last up to 10 times longer than CFLs and much longer than standard incandescent bulbs.
- Mercury-free: no mercury is used in manufacturing of LED bulbs
- Cool: LED bulbs don’t get hot thereby reducing air conditioning costs during hot months.
- Durable: LED bulbs don’t have filaments so they are not easily damaged.
- Cost Effective: LED bulbs cost more than other bulbs but the cost is recouped over time because they last so much longer.
- Many Available Styles: LED bulbs can be purchased for standard lighting fixtures in many styles such as diffused, dimmable, track lighting pin base, flood reflector, flame tip candelabra and tube lights.
CFL bulbs are manufactured to be used in standard lighting fixtures and are essentially miniature versions of standard fluorescent bulbs. They come in warm white, which give off light similar to common incandescent bulbs, and cool white which is brighter and can have a bluish tint. However, there are some limitations to CFL bulbs. Special dimmable CFL bulbs should be used in circuits that have dimmable switches. CFL bulbs contain small amounts of mercury which can be released if the bulb is broken or during disposal.
CFL Lighting Benefits
- Efficient: up to four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs. A 22 watt CFL bulb has about the same light output as a 100 watt incandescent bulb and uses an average of 50-80% less energy.
- Cost Effective: initial cost is slightly higher than incandescent bulbs but the cost is recouped because they last up to 10 times longer.
- High Quality Light: Newer CFL bulbs give off a warm light instead of the bright white light of older fluorescent bulbs. New electronically ballasted CFL bulbs don’t flicker or hum.
- Many Available Styles: CFLs can be used almost anywhere that incandescent lights are used. Energy-efficient CFLs can be used in recessed fixtures, table lamps, track lighting, ceiling fixtures and porchlights. 3-way CFL bulbs are available for lamps with 3-way settings and dimmable CFL bulbs are available for lights using a dimmer switch.
Energy efficient lighting comparison
While CFL bulbs are less expensive than LED bulbs, the price of LED bulbs has recently gone down, which gives them the best cost-savings over the life of the bulb when compared to other bulbs. LED bulbs are not easily damaged or broken, contain no mercury, and use less power making them an ideal choice for energy efficient lighting.
However, both LED and CFL bulbs are far more energy efficient and longer lasting than traditional incandescent bulbs and will save money in the long run.
For more information about McKee Homes new home lighting packages, fixtures and options, please read our New Home Plumbing and Lighting Fixtures on the McKee Homes blog and visit our Design Studio web page.