EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.
GREEN TIP: Electric lighting represents up to 25% of the average home energy budget. Ensure you are using lighting that is energy efficient, which will save you money and reduce your carbon footprint.
Both Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) bulbs are much more energy efficient than an incandescent bulb.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) Lighting:
- Reduces energy costs: LED bulbs use at least 75% than incandescent lighting which saves on operating expenses.
- Long-lasting: LED bulbs last up to 10 times as long as CFLs and 35 to 50 times longer than incandescent lighting.
- Durable: Since LEDs do not have a filament, they are not damaged under circumstances when a regular incandescent bulb would be broken. Because they are solid, LED bulbs hold up well to jarring and bumping.
- Cool: LEDs produce very little heat.
- Mercury-free: No mercury is used in the manufacturing of LEDs.
- Cost-effective: Although LEDs are initially expensive, the cost is recouped over time and in battery savings. LED bulb use was first adopted commercially, where maintenance and replacement costs are expensive. But the cost of new LED bulbs has gone down considerably in the last few years. and are continuing to go down. Today, there are many new LED light bulbs for use in the home, and the cost is becoming less of an issue.
- Light for remote areas and portable generators: Because of the low power requirement for LEDs, using solar panels becomes more practical and less expensive than running an electric line or using a generator for lighting in remote or off-grid areas. LED light bulbs are also ideal for use with small portable generators which homeowners use for backup power in emergencies.
Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL):
- Efficient: CFLs are four times more efficient and last up to 10 times longer than incandescents. A 22 watt CFL has about the same light output as a 100 watt incandescent. CFLs use 50 – 80% less energy than incandescents.
- Less Expensive: Although initially more expensive, you save money in the long run because CFLs use 1/3 the electricity and last up to 10 times as long as incandescents. A single 18 watt CFL used in place of a 75 watt incandescent will save about 570 kWh over its lifetime. At 8 cents per kWh, that equates to a $45 savings.
- Reduces Air and Water Pollution: Replacing a single incandescent bulb with a CFL will keep a half-ton of CO2 out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb. If everyone in the U.S. used energy-efficient lighting, we could retire 90 average size power plants. Saving electricity reduces CO2 emissions, sulfur oxide and high-level nuclear waste.
- High-Quality Light: Newer CFLs give a warm, inviting light instead of the “cool white” light of older fluorescents. They use rare earth phosphors for excellent color and warmth (the use of rare earth minerals could also be considered a limitation in the manufacturing of CFLs). New electronically ballasted CFLs don’t flicker or hum.
- Versatile: CFLs can be applied nearly anywhere that incandescent lights are used. Energy-efficient CFLs can be used in recessed fixtures, table lamps, track lighting, ceiling fixtures and porch lights. 3-way CFLs are also now available for lamps with 3-way settings. Dimmable CFLs are also available for lights using a dimmer switch.
Here are a few limitations of CFLs to consider when considering which source of energy efficient lighting to choose:
- On/Off cycling: CFLs are sensitive to frequent on/off cycling. Their rated lifetimes of 10,000 hours are reduced in applications where the light is switched on and off very often. Closets and other places where lights are needed for brief illumination should use incandescent or LED bulbs.
- Dimmers: Dimmable CFLs are available for lights using a dimmer switch, but check the package; not all CFLs can be used on dimmer switches. Using a regular CFL with a dimmer can shorten the bulb life span.
- Outdoors: CFLs can be used outdoors, but should be covered or shaded from the elements. Low temperatures may reduce light levels – check the package label to see if the bulb is suited for outdoor use.
- Retail lighting: CFLs are not spot lights. Retail store display lighting usually requires narrow focus beams for stronger spot lighting. CFLs are better for area lighting.
- Mercury content: CFLs contain small amounts of mercury which is a toxic metal. This metal may be released if the bulb is broken, or during disposal.
For more information about LED and CFL lighting, visit http://eartheasy.com/live_energyeff_lighting.htm.
My Green Side’s web pick of the week:
Eartheasy provides solutions for sustainable living. They are a family business with an incredible story. They believe that the values of a simpler, less-consumptive lifestyle, with respect for nature, can benefit anyone in any setting – urban, suburban or rural. They want to get us thinking about what constitutes true wealth in your life, and the implications our lifestyle and consumer choices have on the environment.
Sustainable living is about respecting the limits of the earth’s capacity to provide. ~Greg Seaman, founder of Eartheasy.com