With holiday decorations safely stored (right!?), our thoughts drift between reflections on the year just passed and anticipation for a new one fast approaching. It's a time for resolutions -- small and sometimes large promises to ourselves regarding changes we want to make in the new year. At Sustainable Newton, we see the impact our actions have on our environment and our neighbors. Our board members are going out on a limb to share our resolutions in hopes you too will embrace small changes that together make a huge difference.
By Sara Vinson, Sustainable Newton Board Member
One of my resolutions for 2020 is to finish transitioning our household light fixtures to light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs. Honestly, I thought this was something my family had already done. However, when a light bulb over my bathroom sink recently went out, and I had to change it, I noticed that it was a compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb. Then, I looked around and found that we still have a good mix of CFL, incandescent, and halogen light bulbs in the house.
Why go to the trouble and expense of switching to LEDs? According to the Consumer Energy Alliance, LED bulbs produce light up to 90% more efficiently than incandescent light bulbs and 80% more efficiently than CFLs. Since my family is trying to reduce energy use, this sounds good.
And, even better, the reduced energy use of LED bulbs will translate into significant savings on our energy bills. A study by the Consumer Federation of America found that the average American household using 20 light bulbs could save approximately $1,000 in energy costs over a ten year period by switching to LEDs. Put another way, while an average incandescent bulb may cost half the price of an LED bulb, that same incandescent bulb costs almost five times as much as an LED to use each month.
LED light bulbs also last longer. According to one online lighting retailer’s learning center, respective lifespans of incandescent, halogen, and compact fluorescent light bulbs are 750-2,000 hours, 2,000-4,000 hours and 8,000-10,000 hours. In contrast, LED light bulbs have an expected lifespan of 40,000-50,000 hours.
My husband has reminded me the reason we still have non-LED light bulbs hanging around is because we had decided to replace them as they burned out. In light of the energy and money savings potential, I think my 2020 resolution, which will put us on an accelerated replacement plan, is a smart one.