You’ve heard about the benefits of LED lighting and you’re convinced. Now what? Our Energy Efficiency Business Manager, Timothy Croman, gave us some specifics on LED bulbs and what to consider when putting LEDs in your home.
What are some of the factors to consider when choosing with LED bulbs to purchase?
On each light bulb’s box is something from the DOE called “Lighting Facts.” These will show you the specifics of the light bulb you are purchasing. Some of the things to consider when buying a bulb:
Lumens: This measures light output.
Shape: Which outlets in your home will the bulb fit? There are many different shapes available. The light bulb’s box will tell you exactly what that LED is meant to replace.
Wattage: You’ll want to make sure the wattage of bulb matches where you are trying to use the bulb.
Light Appearance: The color of the light. This is measured in kelvin. Though you can go to a lot of big box stores, to avoid the common issue of having too “cool” of a light it is best to talk to a professional to get professional advice about what is going to be a good replacement in your home.
A lot of people are concerned about the color of the light coming from LED bulbs. How do you determine what kind of light a bulb will produce by looking at its specs?
Light is measured in Kelvin. The lower the number the warmer the light will be. Typically you will be looking for an LED bulb that is 2400-2700 K. This will be able to closely match the light of an incandescent.
The higher the number the more white or blue the light will be–this is typically the light people don’t like. CFL bulbs can range from 2,500 K to 6,500 K, so there is a range of light you could be getting from those bulbs. There are a lot of options out there, so it’s best to talk to an expert about what lights are going to work for your home so you know you’re getting the best bulb for your buck.
What do you see in the future for LEDs?
I see a future with less contaminants in our landfills, as LEDs do not contain the same hazardous materials as CFLs. The lifespan of LEDs will also allow for less lighting materials in our landfills since they will not need to be replaced as often. Home and business owners will also have lower energy costs and lower energy demand from using LEDs. In the future I see integrated bulbs that can be used with smart home technology and maybe even smart bulbs. Lights with motion and sound sensors are available now but the technology is new and they are very expensive.
Energy efficiency is coming to the forefront of everyone’s minds–businesses, homeowners, even utility companies are finding way to lower their energy usage. Lighting makes up 11% of the average electric bill making this a good place to start when looking to lower energy costs.
LED bulbs are popping up everywhere–and they’re not just becoming more popular, they’re becoming more affordable. New York Times columnist David Pogue started raving about LED bulbs last year and has recently begun touting the greatness once again. From their lifespan, to their durability to their efficiency, Once Pogue made the switch from incandescent and CFLs to LEDs, it was a no-brainer.
According to another article by the New York Times, “LED sales grew faster than any other lighting technology” and the use of LEDs is even more common in the commercial and industrial sector. The well-known global home store, Ikea, has recently announced that in 2016 they will begin selling only LED light bulbs. According to a study conducted by Ikea “43 percent of Americans have at least one LED lamp in their homes. In China, the figure is 80 percent, in Russia 65 percent, and in Sweden, 61 percent.”
We had a chance this week to sit down with our Standard Energy Solutions (SES) Energy Efficiency Business Manager (and resident LED expert) Timothy Croman to find out more about the benefits of LED lighting.
How do LED bulbs work in comparison to traditional light bulbs?
The technology used in incandescent bulbs goes back to the turn of the century and was used until the last decade. Light is produced through heating up a filament in the light bulb. In an incandescent bulb, 90% of the energy released is heat and 10% is actual light. CFL light bulbs to not emit as much heat, but work in a similar way. The electricity heats a gas inside the light bulb and when the gas heats up it produces light. LEDs produce light through a computer chip, a driver, and optics. The computer chip programs the light; the driver produces the light and the optics give off light so it can be seen
What are the benefits of switching to LED bulbs?
The greatest benefit of LED bulbs is energy savings. 9 times out of 10 people are looking for savings when they are looking to switch to more efficient bulbs.
LED bulbs produce less heat, which also helps reach the goal of energy savings. We were in a house today that had 50 incandescent light bulbs. The average temperature of an incandescent light bulb is 180 degrees where an LED bulb runs at an average temperature of 90 degrees. If each of those is producing 90% heat and 10% light, you can imagine how much heat those 50 light bulbs are emitting and overheating your house.
There are a lot of unexpected benefits of LEDs as well. LEDs turn on instantly, are fully dimmable, have a longer lifespan and can also be incorporated easily into a smart home system. They also are direct replacements to incandescent bulbs and have a broad range of light appearance which is hard to achieve with CFLs.
What are some of the common concerns you hear about LED bulbs?
Homeowners are sometimes disappointed with their CFL light bulbs – you couldn’t dim them and the quality of light wasn’t very good. You won’t have the same experience with LEDs that you did with CFLs. The light will be a warmer shade, close to the incandescent bulbs that so many people prefer. LEDs will last much longer – typically 50,000 hoursdepending on use. Compare that to the 2,000 hour life span of an incandescent or the 8,000 hour lifespan of CFLs. Plus, LEDs are much safer for your home since they don’t have mercury like CFLs do.
Another main concern is the cost of the bulbs. You really have to consider the savings and the ROI in the long run. In the 4 or 5 years you might wait to replace your bulbs, you could have 5 years old reduced energy costs. The LED bulbs we use have an average payback period of about 4 years, so your bulbs will have paid themselves off in the time you were waiting to buy them.
Solar is one of the fastest growing markets and continues to have great impact on our society. In 2012 alone, the solar energy industry grew by 76% in the United States! One particular area of growth for US solar has been school districts across the country that have gone solar to better manage their budgets and reduce their energy bills. The Dublin City High School District in central Georgia, for example, was just recently in the news for their 1.1MW project on their school campus. The solar array is expected to save the school district $3.5 million over the next 25 years.
Why does solar and schools make so much sense? One reason why the Dublin City School Districts and others are going solar is because of the financial benefits that may come with a solar installation. There are several rebates and credits to help make solar more affordable for schools and most solar schools are eligible for Net Metering credits. This Net Metering credit allows schools to route excess electricity back onto the grid and receive credit from the utility company for the energy produced from the solar system. A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is also another great financial option to reduce or eliminate the cost of a solar system. As utility bills are typically the second highest expense for a school district, solar offers schools the security of predictable and reduced energy costs for almost 20 years!
Another important benefit of solar for educational institutions are the teaching opportunities the system can offer the students and local community. Solar installations can offer real-life curriculum content – from the engineering and technology of how solar works to the environmental offset and impact the system will have on the surrounding community. For our clients, Standard Solar offers education programs where students, grades K-12, are introduced to solar and educated with an in-depth curriculum on the benefits of having a solar system and how it works. This helps to grow the students’ knowledge and appreciation of their environment, health and future.
Educational institutions, like The Dublin City School District and others, are discovering how solar makes sense for their budgets and their students. Standard Solar has partnered with several schools to develop, design, engineer, finance and install their solar arrays. “Solar installations are a great fit for educational institutions, providing significant economic and environmental benefits as well as offering educational opportunities for the students,” said Scott Wiater, president, Standard Solar. Some of our education clients Sandy Springs Friends School(SSFS), Catholic University of America (CUA), University of Delaware, Anne Arundel Community College, Wilmington Friends School, St. Mary’s County Public Schools and others.
|Kent County School students touring the Worton 1.26 MW installation with Standard Solar staff.||Students at Sandy Spring Friends School celebrating the completion of the 477 kW solar array.|