I know, oil has dropped 20% in the last few weeks, natural gas has been cut in half in the last year, so your electric bill will go down…right? I would not count on it and given the political situation in the world today, you must consider the impact your new home or home improvement will have on energy consumption. LED lighting is fast becoming a viable option for you to consider in the design phase for your house.
LED’s have a solid history of performance in commercial applications. Most traffic signals incorporate LED’s. The typical traffic light will contain 196 LED’s and will draw 10 watts. To produce the same light requirement with incandescent lights would consume 150 watts. It is estimated that replacing all 260,000 U.S. traffic signals now using incandescent would reduce electrical consumption by 2.5 billion kWh annually. This is just the tip of the iceberg of savings in this one example.
Maintaining the incandescent light bulbs in all these traffic signals is far more expensive than the electrical consumption. With and average life of 2,000 hours, a typical signal will have to have the bulbs changed at least 4 times a year. Some LED’s will last 15-20 years. The cost savings from the reduced replacement cycle should justify the cost of replacing the existing bulbs, even with a unit cost for LED’s which runs 50-60 times that of an incandescent bulb.
But the savings do not end here. If LED’s started to replace lighting in the broader scope of lighting both residential we would see savings from the reduced need to build new power plants, reduced emission from reduced power requirements for the plants to produce, reduced recycling cost to process the burned out fluorescent and incandescent bulbs and a host of other energy and economic impacts attendant to lighting.
The cost of LED’s is coming down as their use spreads. To date the light output and the color rendition have been the main inhibitors to seeing them spread to general lighting purposes. Both of these issues are finding solutions through research and development.
There are lighting solutions for the home now available for residential applications. Permlight sells a fairly broad line of LED light solution that will work for your home lighting needs. They sell a line of LED trims for recessed down lights that are meant as retrofits to existing 4″ and 6″ cans. Even if you investigate them and decide they are not right for you, it appears that the industry is looking to make the transition easy once the light source gains greater acceptance. In the mean time, you should look at the possibility of using these in your new home. The benefits are very attractive for the investment. Just imagine if you did not have to change a light bulb for 20 years.