Going green is really a mindset, a mindset of not wasting things, not buying things you don’t need or use. One of the areas often mentioned as an early place to go green is lighting.

It makes complete sense since lighting is a large percentage of the total electrical expense for offices and residences alike. But how much do you really save by switching out your light bulbs?

When we go into a store, we can still find incandescent bulbs selling for a fraction of LED bulbs, recently I found a 6o watt incandescent bulb selling for $1 at my local hardware store. The LED equivalent, which uses 7 watts of electric was selling for 4x’s that amount at $4.

We’ve all heard how LED’s are more efficient then incandescent and CFL bulbs, but why exactly is that. When you look at incandescent light bulbs, you find that the design is really around the creation of heat and as the filament gets warm, it glows giving off light as a byproduct. This is really an inefficient way of providing light as approximately 95% of the electricity applied to a filament in an incandescent bulb is lost as heat, with only about 5% producing visible light. If the purpose of the lights in your home is to heat your home, then buy incandescent bulbs, but if you have lights so you can see when its dark out, you probably need to consider switching to LED.

But back to that cost, how much more efficient can that LED be compared to an incandescent bulb. 4x the price, come on that’s a big price difference. The difference is probably bigger then you think… From a cost perspective, while that $1 incandescent 60-watt bulb may at first appear to be a bargain over the $4 LED bulb, when you consider the lifespan and costs over that life you see the waste appear. 21 incandescent bulbs will be purchased over the life of that single 25,000 rated LED bulb. Then when you factor in the cost of electricity, at .15 cents a kilowatt, the LED bulb’s 7-watt version of the 60-watt incandescent, saves over $139 over the 25,000 hours. So, you saved $3 at the point of purchase, and over the life of the bulb you decided not to buy, will spend an extra $177 over the expense of the LED bulb over its life. Money and electricity wasted.

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