If you know me at all, you know that I hate math. OK, that’s not altogether true. I don’t actually hate math. Math is an essential part of our lives and I respect it greatly. I just hate doing math. Lucky for me, I married an accountant.
What does this have to do with anything? Several years ago, I penned a column espousing the virtues of fluorescent lighting. Something about saving money on electrical bills, and the savings outweighing the initial higher costs of the new bulb, yada, yada. All I really remember is calculating the annual savings multiplied by the number of bulbs minus the previous cost, or something like that. They found me in the fetal position under my desk with my shoes and socks off, whimpering about lumens and CFLs.
Well, here we go again.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have taken the place of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) as the bright bulb on the block. Energy saved from either type, compared to incandescent bulbs, is pretty similar, though LEDs are around 15 percent more efficient. But an LED bulb lasts 2.5 times longer than a CFL, and a whopping 25 times that of an incandescent.
So, is the fancy-schmancy bulb worth it? Your standard 40-watt incandescent bulb will set you back about 75 cents. A 15-watt CFL (comparable in lighting ability) costs around $5, and a 12-watt LED (again, comparable) is $7.
If a $7 bulb lasts 2.5 times longer than a $5 bulb and 25 times longer than a 75-cent bulb, even I can noodle a brilliant conclusion. If that same $7 bulb is 75 percent more efficient than a “standard” bulb, then you’d have to be a dim bulb not to switch. Just do the math.