Light Bulb Buying Guide

Lighting accounts for about 10 percent of the total energy use in the average American home and on average  cost $100—$150 per year in electricity.

Incandescent: Incandescent bulbs are the most common and popular bulbs used by consumers. Mostly because of how inexpensive  they are and the warm complementary light it produces.

How it Works: An electric light which produces light with a filament wire heated to a high temperature by an electric current passing through it, until it glows.

Cost: Around 50 cents

Fun Facts: They last between 700 to 1,000 hours.

Traditional incandescent bulbs lose around 90% of their energy as heat rather than light.

 

CFL: Compact Fluorescent lightCFLs need a just a little bit more energy when they are first turned on, but once the electricity starts moving, use about 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs.

How it Works: In a CFL, an electric current is driven through a tube containing argon and a small amount of mercury vapor. This generates invisible ultraviolet light that excites a fluorescent coating  on the inside of the tube, which then emits visible light

Cost: Around $3.50

Fun Facts: They last on average 8000 Hours.

You can maximize the lifetime savings and effectiveness of your CFLs by keeping them on for 15 minutes or more at a time.

 

LED: Light-Emitting Diode or LEDs emit light in a specific direction, where a an incandescent or fluorescent bulb emits light and heat in all directions.

How it Works: LEDs are small light sources that become illuminated by the movement of electrons through a semiconductor material.

Cost: Around $13

Fun Facts: Last around 2500 hours

LED lighting, when designed well, can be more efficient, durable, versatile and longer lasting than incandescent and fluorescent lighting.

How a Product Earns it’s ENERGY STAR Label

The ENERGY STAR label is there to make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features, and comfort. So how does a product earn the ENERGY STAR label? It has to meet certain specifications set by the EPA. Some of them  include:

  • A product must contribute significant energy savings nationwide in there category. 
  • A product must deliver certain features and performance that consumers want, and still have increased energy efficiency.
  • If the product costs more than the other less-efficient product, purchasers will be able to recover their investment in increased energy efficiency through utility bill savings, within a reasonable time period.
  • The product’s energy consumption and performance can be measured and verified with testing.

Make sure to keep a look out for the ENERGY STAR label on your your next shopping adventure or check out the ENERGY STAR website for a complete list of products.

Summer Tips for Staying Cool while Saving Energy and Money!

Summer is slowly creeping up on us and with it comes the warmer temperatures. Here are a few tips to keep cool on a budget. 

  • Take advantage of the cool evenings. Open windows and doors with screens to bring the inside temperature down.
  • During the day make sure to close up your house and draw blinds and drapes so the house stays darker and thus cooler.
  • Use ceiling or room fans, this will allow you to set the thermostat higher because the air movement will cool the room.
  • Turn up your Thermostat when you are not home. Look into a programmable thermostat, to be able set certain temperatures at certain times of day.
  • Replace your air conditioner filters. Dirty filters can restrict airflow and can cause the system to run longer, increasing energy use. Replace filters monthly for maximum benefit.

4 Cheap and Easy DIY Fixes for an Earth Friendly House

1) Caulking  and Weather Stripping:  ENERGY STAR estimates you can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs  by properly sealing and insulating. Caulking and weatherstripping are simple, effective, and inexpensive ways of sealing air leaks in your home. Caulk is generally used for cracks and openings between stationary house components like around door and window frames. Weatherstripping is used to seal components that move, such as doors and operable windows.

 

2) Window Films:   Window films can help reduce energy costs up to 50% by blocking unwanted heat during the warm months while keeping heat in when you need it. Eliminating hot and colds spots will also help reduce excess use of HVAC equipment and can prolong its life. They also can block up to 99% of unwanted UV Rays, winch can fade your furniture and carpet.

 

3) Change to Low Flow Shower heads  and Aerators on Faucets:    Low flow shower heads can range from $10 to $200, and can come in different options, 1.5 to 2 gpm(Gallons Per Minute). Some even come with what they call a “Pause Button” to restrict the water til you need it rinse off. It will save you on average 2000 gallons of water per person per year.  Aerators for faucets cost only a couple dollars and can save you around a $100 a year. For maximum water efficiency, purchase aerators that have flow rates of no more than 1.0 gpm. Both low flow shower heads and aerators for faucets are super easy to replace yourself.

 

4) Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs): Energy Star-qualified CFLs use around 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs. Replacing 15 inefficient traditional incandescent bulbs can save you about $50 per year.