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Time for A New Icon

6 June 2005 | DIRECTOR John Herbert

smart lighting, lower cost, energy saving

The ubiquitous light bulb has served as the icon for bright ideas for far too long, now is the time for change.

If I asked you to spend six times more money to buy a car, you'd probably think I was just crazy,

When is a $30 lamp cheaper than one that costs $5?

I have been talking, some might say preaching, about the advantages of energy-saving lamps for many years. Often, I am stopped mid-flow, to remind me that they are not crazy enough to spend $30 or more on a light bulb!

And I must agree the concept requires careful thought, even if youve heard it many times before.

What I find particularly worrying is that CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) could be one of the best investments one can make in their office or apartment, yet the relatively high purchase price scares people away before they even think it through.

Consider the following example

Lets assume you have a light fitting in your living room that has a 100watt incandescent lamp in it right now, and tonight when you turn on the light, the it burns out.

I say that if you replace it with a CFL costing around $30 instead of another incandescent costing $5, youll saving a lot of money, save some time and aggravation, get more light, and cut down on your air-conditioning use as well.

A 100 watt incandescent lamp (incidentally also know as the GLS lamp) used 6 hours a day has a rated life between 5 to 6 months. Based on an electric charge of $0.90 per kilowatt hour, the annual energy cost will be $197 per year.

Over the next 5 years, you would have to replace the lamp ten times, spending a total of $1027 for the lamp replacements and energy during that 5 year period.

But wait, if you instead replace that bulb with a 27-watt compact fluorescent, take a look at the numbers:

A CF lamp will last the full five years (newer models many have even longer rated lives).

The annual energy cost is only $53.21, and only $266 for entire life. and you don't need to purchase another one for that lamp until early 2009.

Add the purchase price of this bulb ($30) to the energy costs and youll see the total cost is less than $290 saving you nearly $700 over the life of the lamp.

Extra benefits

If cost savings alone are not enough, there are four extra benefits:

1. More Light - A typical 27 watt CFL is rated at 1800 lumens, even more than the 1750 lumens. So compared with the 100 watt incandescent lamp - you get more light!

2. Less Hassle - You will not have to order replacement lamps every six months, and spend time to replace the burned-out ones.

3. Reduced Air conditioning load - CFL lamps emit 90% percent less heat energy than incandescent lamps. That equates to a significant reduction in air conditioning load, saving yet more electricity.

4. Reduced Emissions - the above savings also reduced power station emissions too.

About the Author

Mr John A. Herbert is the Managing Director at Kelcroft. He was educated and trained in the United Kingdom, has managed and engineered solutions for more than twenty fours years, advising clients across three continents.

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