Apples and Oranges? Compare Energy Efficiency and Light Bulb Costs

Tom Sullivan of Sullivan Electrical Contractors in Oak Forest does his homework before tackling any job. He shared some facts & figures he found when comparing energy efficiency and energy costs in a recent study.

Energy efficiency & costs LEDs  Incandescent bulbs CFLs Life span (average) 50,000 hours 1,200 hours 8,000 hours

Watts of electricity used 
(equivalent to 60 watt bulb)

6-8 watts 60 watts 13-15 watts Annual operating cost $32.85/yr. $328.59/yr. $76.65/yr.

Source: DesignRecycleInc.com

Read More: Switch Off: Incandescent Bulbs Soon Will Burn Out for Good

Mark Matthews May 16, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I've used LEDs in a few places in our house, for very specific purposes, and where they've been used, they're great. They're not yet general purpose, and the issue that these statistics forget to mention is that all of the lifetimes are *averages*, half of consumers will see more hours, half will see less, some will see way less. It is going to sting if any of the LEDs I installed give up the ghost in less than 2 years, because they start at around $20, some of them are $50, and comparable CFLs are $2-$4.
Rob P May 17, 2012 at 02:08 PM
We tried the CFL's in a room where normally we have incandescent. Matching the wattage, the CFL were way more expensive. Then we had to get used to the considerable light reduction in the room.. They may be the same power wattage for visible light but the CFL doesnt come close. You almost need 2 to match the output. so we need to pay more for less visible light, but it lasts longer. I agree with the folks above.. when i can i'll skip the CFL and go right to the LED lights.. Plus i don't own a tyvek suit and respirator for the clean up if my cfl breaks..
Ron Kremer (Editor) May 17, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Rob P: As time moves forward, I expect LEDs will come down in price, too.
Dave May 17, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I bought 12 "dimmable" CFL bulbs to replace the incandescent bulbs in my home theater room. I figured it would save me some money and keep the room a little cooler when they were fully lit. Well they barely dim at all and strobe like crazy and shut off randomly when the dimmer switch is turned down completely. I pulled them all and put them up in the kitchen. I'm going to stock up on incandescent while they are still available and hope I can hold out until LEDs become a little more affordable. It doesn't make any sense to me that LED is so expensive. I don't see any reason they should cost more than CFL. It just doesn't compute.
Hernendo RevolveR May 18, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Where did they come up with the cost estimates in this story???!!!??? If a 60 watt incandescent bulb were burned nonstop for a year it would consume 525Kwh. ComEd charges approximately 8 cents per Kwh. The correct cost for that 60 watt bulb is approximately $42 per year. The 8 watt LED would burn around 70 Kwh per year and the 15 watt CFL (poison) bulb would burn around 131 Kwh. I'll let y'all do the math on the LED and CFL costs... Now that the cost estimate is a little less scary, you can make a better decision on what type of bulbs you would like to use in your home.
timothy brandt May 18, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Unless you're in the habit of eating CFLs by the truckload, there's not enough Hg in them to make any difference to your health from routine exposure to an occassional broken bulb.


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