Navigating the Change
Do you have questions about LED vs incandescent light bulb energy usage? At one time, a trip to your local hardware store for light bulbs was an easy experience. The only decision you needed to make was what wattage you wanted. These days it is an entirely different experience.
There are so many different types, styles, and what’s up with this lumens vs. wattage??? And most importantly, how can you begin to know which lighting option is the best decision so you can conserve energy, lower your electric bills, and reduce your carbon footprint? Essentially, how can you light your home while saving money?
The LED One Distribution team is here to help ‘shed some light on’ the difference in energy consumption by comparing LED versus incandescent light bulb energy.
LED vs Incandescent Light Bulb Energy and Immediate Results
About 5% of the average person’s electric bill covers the lighting in the home. Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs is one of the fastest ways to reduce your energy bills. The traditional incandescent light bulb disperses 90% of the energy it uses as heat, so you’re essentially throwing money away and heating the air which you then have to pay for again through your air conditioning process.
By replacing just 5 old-style traditional incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR rated LED light bulbs will save you ~$75 a year. The other big payoff to using LED bulbs is that while they cost more initially, they have longer health can last 3 to 25 times longer, so you are replacing the bulbs much less frequently.
Watts vs. Lumens
If you are still using the traditional incandescent light bulb, let’s take a look at LED vs incandescent light bulb energy. How do you know if you are comparing ‘apples to apples’ when you are trying to choose the right light bulb? To do that you need to have some common standard to know what you are comparing.
For starters the incandescent heat light bulbs were always measured by wattage numbers – 40; 60; 100 watts etc. The wattage told you how much energy the bulb was going to use. LED lights are measured in lumens. Lumens are actually a measurement of how much light output, or brightness, the bulb has.
Essentially, wattage measures the input of energy, while lumens measures the output of light. To make an ‘apples to apples’ comparison you need to compare lumens, the brightness of the output, to decide which bulb is the best option.
Here’s the Proof
It is that first measurement the ‘Brightness measured in lumens’ that you’ll want to start with for making your comparison. Begin by looking for the bulbs with the number of lumens you need, that way you’ll know you’re getting the amount of brightness needed and you’ll be comparing ‘apples to apples.’
Once you know which bulbs will supply your light requirement, then you need to compare the wattage to see how much each of the bulbs is pulling for energy. The lowest wattage on the bulbs you are comparing will give you the brightness you need while using the lowest amount of energy (wattage).
If you want to calculate the actual energy savings comparison of each of the bulbs you’re choosing you’ll need to do the following calculations:
- Determine the wattage rating of the light bulb. This is usually stamped right on the bulb itself. (Do not use statements on the package such as ‘100-watt equivalent’ – those statements are trying to compare the brightness of the bulb.)
In this example, we are going to look at a standard incandescent 60-watt bulb (60W will appear on the bulb) and an equivalent LED light that is a 15 Watt bulb (15W)
- Determine the kilowatts per hour used by each bulb by dividing the watts by 1,000. We are doing this because your electric company bills you per kilowatt-hour. An easy way to do this is by moving the decimal point to the left by 3 decimal places.
In this example it will look like:
Bulb A: Incandescent bulb: 60W / 1,000 = .06 usage per kilowatt-hour (Amount of energy to light the bulb for 1 hour)
Bulb B: LED Bulb 15 watt: 15W/ 1,000 = .015 usage per kilowatt-hour (LED cost of the energy to light the bulb for 1 hour)
You can see already that the LED cuts the energy usage by .25 or ¼ (.06/.015=.250)
- Estimate monthly hourly usage.
Let’s estimate this bulb will be lit 8 hours a day x 30 days per month = 240-kilowatt hours per month
- Determine the monthly kilowatt consumption used each month for each bulb by multiplying the cost per kilowatt-hour determined in #2 times the number of kilowatt-hours x the number of hours the bulb will burn (determined in step #3).
Bulb A Incandescent Bulb: .06 kWh kilowatts per hour used x 240 hours per month = 14.4 kWh month
Bulb B LED Bulb: .015 kilowatts per hour x 240 hours per month = 3.6 kWh per month
- Determine Actual cost per month. You can check your electric bill for your actual cost per kWh. For our example, we are going to use $10.43/1000 per kWh.
Bulb A Incandescent Bulb: (from #4) uses 14.4 kWh kWh per month x $.1043 kWh power company bills = $1.50 per month
Bulb B LED Bulb (from #4) uses 3.6 kWh per month x $.1043 kW power company bills = $.375 per month
- Determine Cost per year by taking the cost per month in #5 and multiplying that by 12 months per year.
Bulb A Incandescent Bulb: $1.50 per month x 12 = $18.00 per year per bulb
Bulb B LED Bulb: $.375 per month x 12 =$ 4.50 per year per bulb
While the yearly cost seems small it multiplies very rapidly when taking into consideration the number of light bulbs used in a home or business setting, and you reap the results immediately the bulbs are changed to the LED bulbs. When you take into consideration that LED light bulbs last 15 to 25 times the life of an incandescent light bulb and add costs associated with the time it takes someone to buy the lights and another person to change the lights the savings start to really add up.
We hope we have taken some of the confusion out of which bulb is best when comparing LED vs incandescent light bulb energy. LED One Distribution’s products reflect our core values of superior quality, performance, and efficiency and they are fully recyclable. If you have any questions regarding our products give us a call. We’d love to hear from you and we’ll answer any questions you have about our products vs CFL, fluorescent, or any other type of bulbs.