When trying to sell us solar power and energy efficient solutions, many companies will talk about the financial benefits of installing solar panels and getting off the grid, such as the likelihood of a decrease in our energy bills and the potential for rebates and other incentives; however, if you really want to save money then it doesn’t have to end there. Installing LED lighting and replacing old-fashioned bulbs can make the most of this new energy source with their energy efficient design but they can also help you save even more money.
What are LED lights and how do they differ from out traditional light sources?
The big round bulbs we tend to use are bulbs with filaments inside that give off the standard, warm light source we are familiar with. LED bulbs, however, are vastly different in their shapes, colours and materials with much smaller flatter bulbs being created from diodes encased in resin that can produce much brighter and cooler tones in vast spectrum of colour choices. Many users see them as the ideal environmental choice because of their efficiency but also because of the lack of dangerous part like the filaments and neon gases.
LED lights are an increasingly big deal in Australia thanks to initiatives against standard lighting and concerns of efficiency.
Standard incandescent bulbs have been phased out in Australia since 2007 when a government initiative began to promote more effective forms such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LED. The sale of most forms of incandescent light was prohibited by 2010 and now there is some competition over which of the other three forms is the best option for home owners. The 2010 law was devised to legislate efficiency and set minimum energy performance standards, which currently stand at 15 lumens per watt. The problem is that this is still too low for many consumers’ standards and there is great variety in quality between bulbs, meaning buyers are still uncertain on their efficiency.
LED lights are widely seen as being the most efficient of them all – 5 times more so than those now outlawed incandescent options – and this is largely to do with their low voltage and effective energy output. It common for old, traditional bulbs to lose more energy in heat than they use to create light but with LED bulbs an average of 80% becomes light and only 20% heat. The added benefit here is that bulbs are not as hot to the touch and therefore a lot safer.
Many consumers would like to switch to these LED bulbs because of the great potential for saving energy but the costs do put them off.
As much as some of us would like to be able to replace all of our bulb with LED models and do a straight switch to benefit the environment, there is one problem standing in out way – the cost of the bulb. There is no getting away from the fact that these bulbs are incredibly expensive – with even the cheap models seeming extortionate compared to standard fluorescent models – so the big question on most consumers’ minds is whether it is really worthwhile from a financial point of view.
The answer to this is yes: while it is a big price to pay at first, the quality and life of the bulb means that it is an investment in long term lighting rather than a simple replacement and it can actually save you money in the long run. The mid-level CFL bulbs may seem like a better deal at the moment because they sit in that nice middle ground of efficiency and cost between the fluorescents and the LEDs but they do not look as good in the bigger picture.
It is all a matter of the product’s lifespan, the costs over time and the future of the product:
- an LED bulb can last for around 50,000 hours and this equates to a lifespan of around 17 years if it is used for 8 hours a day
- you would need five times as many CFL bulbs to power a home for the same amount of time
- this then makes the LED more cost effective because there are fewer purchases to be made
- CFL bulbs are seen as being a temporary solution while LED is the future – this means LED prices will eventually drop and the savings will be even more substantial.
Longevity really is vital to the savings made in both money and energy with LED bulbs and this is also seen in the effectiveness of the bulb and their durability. Part of the reason why they will last so long in a home compared to the other bulbs is their construction and the way they can be switched on and off with no negative impact on the bulb itself. The lack of a filament means they are much less fragile and this is enhanced by the tough resin casing that makes them weatherproof and shockproof.
Saving energy and money with LED: why these bulbs really are the future.
There are many reasons why LED bulbs are seen as the future of lighting over florescent bulbs and CFLs: they are more attractive to home owners because of the quality and colour of the light source, they are safer, they look set to overshadow the competition and they will offer some fantastic savings on energy and finances. It may be hard to image right now, especially when there are such high price tags on the bulbs, but that bulb you are considering at the moment could still be lighting your home and saving you money through energy efficiency a decade from now, long after the other options have died out. That is why these unusual and expensive light sources are being so highly recommended for homeowners looking to go green and save money.