When should you take the plunge on an LED upgrade? Should you wait until each light bulb burns out? Or go for the full lighting makeover now?
No need to hem and haw, say experts at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability who’ve done the math for you.
Your incandescent and halogen bulbs should be upgraded to LEDs immediately.
It’s not as cut and dry for your existing CFLs. If you’re looking to save energy and lower your utility bill, you may hold onto the bulbs until 2020. However, if you are motivated by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, make the switch today. These recommendations assume your lights are on for just three hours per day, if your lights are in use for longer periods of time, that’s even more reason to do an LED upgrade sooner.
The researchers developed a “lighting replacement optimization model” to get to the bottom of it. The model takes into account a host of considerations, including how many hours per day the bulb is used, the condition of the initial bulb, the trajectory of lighting costs and energy use, among other variables, to develop and analyze different scenarios. The results were considered in terms of cost, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Many of you will bristle at the thought of throwing away perfectly good working bulbs. I did too — it’s against my “waste not” ethos. But replacing a bulb before it burns out can actually cut energy use. Don’t take my word for it, take the experts at U of M.
Here’s what else we know:
- Upgrade your most-used bulbs to LEDs first; those will have the biggest impact on your energy and will fast-track your payback
- The upfront cost of LEDs is higher, but the long lifespan of the bulbs (up to 20 years!) makes it a good longer-term investment
- Lighting technology is getting more efficient and better, and the costs are coming down
Upgrading your lights is one of the easiest ways to save energy and therefore cut utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Don’t drag your feet any longer. Go LED today.
Shopping for LEDs is made even easier (and more affordable) with our cash-back rebate program and this handy Bulb Recycling 101 guide. Still need a hand sorting it out? Give us a call at 970.925.9775 or reach out by email. Our energy advisors love to help!