With my wife and I building a house at the moment, we are going though all the different design decisions prior to the builder actually building the house. Most recently we have been looking at the electrical plan for the house and one aspect of that is the lighting throughout the house.
Energy Efficient Lighting
Despite being good for the environment, energy efficient lighting is actually starting to become really cost effective when compared to the more traditional lighting options like incandescent lights. In our current house we all of our bulbs are what’s known as compact fluorescent lamp (CFL for short), they are really energy efficient, but have some drawbacks like terrible dimming and being slow to reach peak lighting due to the need to warm up.
So in the new house we are looking to go one step further with light-emitting diode (LED) lighting. I have been doing some research and have found the LED lighting is now starting to actually be quite cost efficient and also has a number of benefits including:
- Huge life span (up to 50,000 hours).
- Prices have reduced drastically in recent years ($20 – $100)
- No warmup time
- LED lights are free of toxic chemicals
The only major drawback is that the lights themselves are not as cheap as the CFL’s or the incandescent lights of yesteryear. To give you a comparison, I just looked at our local lighting stores prices and found the following for various bulbs that produces 800 Lumens of light:
- Incandescent – $4 (best)
- CFL – $15 (3.75x worse than Incandescent )
- LED – $34 (8.5x worse than Incandescent )
As you can see, the LED is considerably more expensive than the others, but how long do the bulbs normally last?
- Incandescent – 1200 hours (41x worse than LED)
- CFL – 8,000 hours (6.25x worse than LED)
- LED – 50,000 hours (best)
How does that work out economically in a whole of life cost scenario?
- Incandescent – 1200 hours / $4 = 300 hours per dollar (4.9x worse than LED)
- CFL – 8,000 hours / $15 = 533 hours per dollar (2.75x worse than LED)
- LED – 50,000 hours / $34 = 1470 hours per dollar (best)
So as you can see, providing you are planning on sticking around in your house for a while, you will be better off with LED lighting than the other types, and I suspect as more and more people move to LED lighting, it will only become cheaper and thus even more economical.