Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Counting Down to Earth Day 2013: 4.16.13

Welcome to Day 7 of my Counting Down to Earth Day 2013 challenge.


Thomas Edison’s light bulb is on its way out. The Energy Independence and Security Act  (ERISA) of 2007 set its demise in motion—for good reason. The 134-year-old incandescent light bulb converts only 5 -10% of the electricity it uses into light; the rest is given off as heat. An excellent article in Popular Mechanics explains the details of ERISA, sometimes called the “Lightbulb Law.” The act did not ban any specific type of lightbulb. Rather, it mandated that by the end of 2012 most household bulbs (with some exceptions) NEWLY STOCKED IN STORES must use 30% less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs. Big government is not going to check out your light fixtures to see if you have made the switch. 

Once you realize how much energy (and money) you can save by swapping out your old- school bulbs, my guess is that you will want to make the switch NOW.

There are a number of alternatives to the incandescent lightbulb, each of which offers significant energy savings. Each choice has pros and cons. How is a consumer to decide? It can all seem a little daunting.

  • Halogens (Energy-Saving Incandescents) estimated to have a 25% savings
  • CFLs (Compact Fluorescents) estimated to have 75% energy savings
  • LEDs (Light Emitting Diode) estimated to have 75-80% savings 

Not all bulbs in each category are created equal. And different categories of bulbs are pricier than others. Consumer Reports has an online guide to help you decide which bulb is best for each application in and around your home.

One easy tip is to purchase bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR rating, particularly in the case of LEDs, with their higher price tag.

LEDs offer the highest energy savings, but also have the highest price tag. However, their price has begun to fall dramatically, and thus, so has their payback time. One recently introduced product, Cree’s new home LED bulb, sold at Home Depot, has broken the $10 per bulb price barrier AND received rave reviews from both The Verge and David Pogue of the New York Times

Don’t wait to change your way of light. It’s good for the planet AND your wallet.

Come back tomorrow for a new tip as we count down to Earth Day on April 22.

Love Your Mother (Earth). Pass it on. Together we can make a difference. Yes, we can!

1 comment:

  1. In this town, the electric company is seeking a rate hike for its distribution charges on residential usage. The rate on your usage has a break point at 500 Kwh. If your usage is hovering around 500, I would suggest you invest in any of the above options depending how far away from 500 you are. Put your savings against the payback.