Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Betty sheds some light on the subject...

Enjoy this month's Abode column here or in the newsstands or online:

Show me the light
Lighting accounts for 20 percent of the average monthly electric bill, so this month’s column promises to turn you on with cost savings!
By now you’ve heard of CFL bulbs, but LEDs are getting a lot of ink, too. Which is greener? Here’s Betty’s comparison:

Compact fluorescent lighting (CFL)
It’s true that if every American changed just one incandescent bulb to a CFL bulb, that would be the equivalent of taking 800,000 cars off the road. At $4 each, they offer three to four times the energy savings of an incandescent. They are readily available nowadays, and aesthetically are able to mimic the lighting effects of the old ones. The cons: They contain trace amounts of mercury (which collectively adds up), and some complain that their warm-up period to reach full brightness is too long (instant gratification, anyone?).

Light emitting diodes (LED)
These bulbs are pricier at $30-40 each, but imagine never having to change a light bulb again. They offer 10 times the energy savings and create less heat (they’re even cool to the touch), which results in lower home cooling costs. There is no mercury in the manufacturing or the bulb itself. The cons are the upfront cost and the fact that they’re not as readily available; both should continue to improve.

Don’t forget motion sensors as a smart alternative to leaving lights on for long periods of time, and solar lighting if you enjoy outdoor lighting accents.
Energy efficiency is the key, so just remember to “turn on the darkness” when you leave the room.