By John Lawson, Loan Officer

In recent years, there have been great improvements in the lighting technology. Home owners everywhere are switching from incandescent bulbs to compact florescent technology (CFL) and LED lighting. Both offer longer life and more efficient energy usage than incandescent bulbs.

As ACE began looking into ways to reduce our energy costs, one of the first places we looked was lighting. According to the Department of Energy, lighting accounts for 24% of energy used in offices and stores, a substantial portion of energy use.

Our office currently uses are 65 Watt incandescent bulbs. The CFL and LED bulbs that we are considering would require 79 and 84 percent less energy, respectively, to put out the same amount of light. Obviously, this would amount to a large energy savings.

The incandescent bulbs that we use can be purchased for just under $3 with a life expectancy of 1,150 hours. Dimmable CFL bulbs are $8.40 with an 8,000 hour life, and dimmable LED bulbs can be purchased for $54.60 and are expected to last for 50,000 hours. While the initial cost of purchasing CFL and LED lights may seem excessive when compared to incandescent bulbs, the extra life expectancy and energy savings for each of the bulbs actually makes purchasing them cheaper in the long run.

Although the initial purchase price of each of the alternatives to Incandescent bulbs is higher, the longer life expectancy for the other bulbs allows their cost to be spread over a longer period, reducing the annual cost of replacing bulbs. The final row shows what the projected total cost per year to operate each kind of bulb would be.  By switching over to dimmable LED bulbs, our office could save a projected $8.30 per bulb. While this might not sound like that great of a savings, our office has 57 bulbs that would be replaced. This could amount to annual savings of $473.