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Shining Light on Energy Savings

  • Posted: 03.02.2020

When it comes to lighting, the potential for energy efficiency is just too great to ignore. Around the home, changing bulbs can change your electric bills, and the monthly savings can add up quickly. Knowing that installing energy-efficient lighting is the green choice seems logical but understanding how efficient lighting keeps green in your wallet is a little confusing. So, let’s break it apart:

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, nearly 130 billion kilowatt hours of electricity are consumed by residential lighting each year, representing about 9 percent of all home energy use.

Graphic illustration depicting the types of energy use, by type.

As light emitting diode (LED) design options increase, prices are coming down, and more consumers see LEDs as an alternative to carbon filament incandescent bulbs first popularized by Thomas Edison in the 1880s.

Consumers are becoming more aware of the economic benefits of switching to all LED lighting. When LED lamp products entered the market, a bulb cost around twenty dollars. Today, improved bulb technology sells for a couple of bucks and you can get an LED bulb that saves energy and lasts much longer.

To get an idea of your potential for energy savings, complete a home inventory. Don’t just count fixtures – count bulbs, checking wattage, and whether they are dimmable, three-way or require special bases. Also note the type of bulb now in use: incandescent (pear-shaped, carbon-filament bulbs), halogen (tungsten-filament bulb that usually feature two prongs), compact florescent lights (best recognized as spiral-shaped bulbs) or straight or circular florescent tubes.

There’s a good chance the total bulb count for the average single-family home will be between 50 and 75, including hallways, garages and storage areas.

Photo of woman changing a light bulb
Exchanging your old CFL (compact fluorescent lighting) bulbs with new LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs can reduce your energy consumption even further!

Savings add up

For many years, our cooperative has promoted energy efficiency in lighting by sharing information on potential savings and offering rebates to replace bulbs and fixtures with more efficient lighting.

While LED lighting was initially expensive and limited to warm white (usually an amber-hue) or a few color temperatures (more characteristic blue-ish hue) and designs, market acceptance and improved technologies have forced prices down, and led to an expanded variety of products.

Cool white, soft white, dimmable, decorative, three-way, and light color are now among the options, with LEDs taking up an increasing share of shelf space in the lighting sections of hardware, discount and home improvement stores.

These days, the energy savings and life expectancy of an LED is incrementally better. The early CFLs did not offer good color, they took a long time to reach full brightness, particularly in cold environments, and some failed prematurely – especially if they were used in enclosed fixtures.

Thinking of replacing your older, inefficient lighting with LED bulbs and fixtures? Depending upon the size and scope of your replacement project, our rebate programs can reimburse you 30 cents/watt (or, $300/1,000 watts, or 1kW) up to 50% of your new fixture/bulb costs submitted to our office. Bulbs and fixtures must replace incandescent, fluorescent, or CFL bulbs and fixtures. To qualify for this rebate, your total energy efficiency savings must be 500-watts (or .5 kW) or greater.

How do you know if your project qualifies? Simply add up the wattage of the new LED bulbs/fixtures you are installing. If your total amount of wattage results in 500 watts or greater, you qualify for our rebate.

For example: You plan to replace sixty CFL bulbs in your home with 6-watt equivalent Cool White (4100K) LED bulbs and sixteen T5 fluorescent tube bulbs with 12-watt Daylight (5000K) T8/T12 Tube LED bulbs in your garage. The total wattage from the NEW bulbs is 60 bulbs x 6 watts=360 watts in your home and 16 bulbs x 12 watts=192 total watts in new bulbs in your garage, totaling 552 watts. This wattage savings amount means your project qualifies for the lighting rebate because your savings is greater than 500 watts.

Assuming you spent a total of $200 to purchase the sixty A19 6-watt LED bulbs (4100K) and a total of $200 to purchase sixteen T8/T12 Cool White LED tube lights for your garage, you spent a total of $400 in replacement lighting.

In this case, if you replaced these lights, yourself, and you submit the new bulb purchase receipt(s), our cooperative’s lighting rebate will reimburse you $300/1,000 watts (1kW) or $0.30/watt, up to 50% of your $400 investment. 552 watts of energy efficient bulbs/fixtures installed x 30 cents per watt for your rebate will put $165.60 back into your pocket and additional savings on your energy bills thanks to the decreased energy consumption from your home and garage, every month.

By understanding how your home uses energy and how our rebate programs can work for you, you can determine the best ways to modify energy use and keep more money in your wallet! For more information or to ask for assistance in calculating your lighting rebate, contact our office.

All types and styles of LED bulbs are now available to replace almost any incandescent bulbs. (Source: CREE Lighting)