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How to Calculate Your Light Savings From Replacing Incandescent Bulbs

The news about saving money and light by replacing old bulbs is old news (unless you’ve been living under a rock). But the subject of light savings is not yet exaggerated. Suppose every household in the United States switches to high-efficiency bulbs (such as compact fluorescent bulbs). This would reduce the country’s energy consumption by 10% in the residential sector. Incidentally, the residential sector accounts for about 20% of all energy consumption in the United States. That’s a lot of oil.

Still not sure about switching to high efficiency light bulbs? Not buying the lightweight savings hype? Don’t believe in positive impacts on the wallet or the environment? Want to calculate and test light savings for yourself? OK, let’s discuss cost savings and simple ROI below. (Simple reimbursement refers to the time it takes you to recoup the cost of new bulbs from the savings).

To calculate the net result, here is the necessary information:

  • The rated wattage (watts) of the existing bulb
  • The rated wattage (watts) of the new bulb
  • The number of hours of daily use of the bulb
  • The price we pay for electricity in kilowatt hours or kWh. You can find your electricity rate by looking at the electricity portion of your electricity bill.
  • One kilowatt equals 1000 watts, so we need to remember to divide our answer by 1000 to convert it to kilowatt hours.
  • The price of the original bulb
  • The price of the new bulb

As an example, let’s replace a heavily used bulb in a light fixture in a living room that is on continuously for 5 hours a day. The fixture has a 100 watt incandescent bulb which costs $050. It must be replaced by a compact fluorescent or CFL of 25 watts (provides the equivalent luminosity of the incandescent), at a cost of $2.50. Assume $0.15 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the electricity rate, the national average in the United States.

To calculate the cost savings, first calculate the energy consumption of the existing bulb, then that of the replacement bulb. Hopefully, the energy consumption of the replacement bulb will be lower than that of the existing bulb. The difference between existing and new is savings. Here is the formula to calculate the cost of energy used per year:

Annual energy cost ($) = number of bulbs X watts per bulb/1,000 watts X hours of use per day X 365 days X electricity rate

So, for our example:

Energy cost for an existing bulb ($) = 1 bulb X 100 watts X 5 hours per day X 365 days X $0.15 per kWh/1000 watts = $27.38 per year

Energy cost for a replacement bulb ($) = 1 bulb X 25 watts X 5 hours per day X 365 days X $0.15 per kWh/1000 watts = $6.84 per year

Savings per year ($) = $27.38 – $6.84 = $20.54

Here’s how to calculate simple ROI in years:

Single payback (years): (Cost of new bulb ($) – Cost of old bulb ($)) / annual savings ($)

For our example, the simple refund is:

Simple repayment (years) = ($2.50 – $0.5) / $20.54 = 0.1 year or 1.2 months

That’s not a bad return on investment for slight savings. An average house has about 15 to 20 light bulbs. If all were the same as in the example above, this would translate to a savings of approximately $411 per year. You can use the same method to calculate the savings for each room in your home and add up all the room savings to get your total annual savings.

You can check your savings by monitoring your utility bills from month to month, as long as your rates stay the same and you don’t change the hours of light bulb operation. Even with proven savings, there still seem to be objections to replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents (or CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (or LEDs), otherwise it would be a “done deal”.

LEDs offer even greater savings (90% light savings) and longer lifespans (25,000-50,000 hours) and will be the dominant technology in the future midstream. They are also more environmentally friendly to produce and are less susceptible to breakage or moisture. But at this point, their main drawbacks are their high price and low light output (or lumens) compared to incandescent bulbs. However, technology is advancing very rapidly and once prices reach reasonable levels, these issues will be a passing memory.

CFL bulbs, on the other hand, are much more accessible and affordable, and have come a long way to closely match the light output and usefulness of incandescent bulbs. A repeated complaint about them is that CFL bulbs need to warm up to reach full brightness, but this is usually in the range of seconds to a minute for specialty bulbs. They are also affected by humidity and humidity.

Although the cost of CFL bulbs is still higher than a $0.50 incandescent bulb, prices have come down to affordable levels for replacements, typically in the range of $1.50 to $4.50 $ per bulb, depending on type. The average life of CFL bulbs is 8,000 hours (or about five years at four hours of use per day), while incandescent bulbs are rated for 800 to 1,200 hours. One thing to note for light savings calculations. The life of compact fluorescent bulbs decreases if they are turned on and off frequently. If you plan to install them in areas where they will be switched often, reduce their lifespan by 20% to 6,400 hours.

What about mercury in CFL bulbs? The amount of mercury in a CFL is 5 mg or about 1/100th the amount of mercury in a dental filling (500 mg in a dental filling). Specifically, the mercury used by a power plant to make an incandescent bulb is 10 mg, while for a CFL it is around 2.5 mg. Nevertheless, broken light bulbs should be handled with care and burnt out bulbs should be discarded at home improvement centers such as Home Depot and Ikea.

Whichever way we look at it, the lighting savings from replacing incandescent lamps is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to incorporate energy efficiency and achieve energy savings at home. home. Many countries have begun to systematically phase out the production of incandescent bulbs. The economy is there, and the environmental benefits will only improve as technology advances.

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