There are several ways to go green and give your home an energy-efficient makeover. You can buy a new air conditioning system with a high SEER rating, new kitchen appliances with the Energy Star label or install new, efficient windows that will cut down on warm air escaping during the winter and cold air escaping during the summer. Those are all fantastic options. Each one, however, requires a sizeable investment in terms of your checking account.
So if you’re a homeowner that wants to make a difference, but can’t afford the big-ticket items just yet, start small. One of the easiest projects to tackle right now can make a big, long-term impact – both in terms of saving energy and money. Has the light bulb gone off yet? Hopefully so, because I’m talking about switching out those old light bulbs in your house with new, energy-efficient CFL or LED bulbs.
Energy Star-qualified light bulbs accomplish two goals: They use less energy, produce less heat and last much longer than traditional, incandescent light bulbs. In fact, according to Energy Star, CFL and LED bulbs can use up to 75% less energy than the old bulbs. And the average CFL and LED bulb saves a homeowner about $6 a year on the electric bill. Multiple that by the number of bulbs in your home, and the savings start to really add up – especially when you consider the extended lifespan of these efficient bulbs. If you change out five bulbs in your home, Energy Star estimates those five bulbs will result in a $200 savings on your electric bill over their lifespan. The average household here in the United States has 30 light fixtures. Now imagine if you changed out all 30 bulbs for new, efficient bulbs!
Energy-Efficient Light Bulb Facts (Courtesy of Energy Star)
• The average light bulb that meets Energy Star qualifications is designed to last more than seven years of typical household use.
• If every family in American switched out just one older bulb for an energy-efficient light bulb, it would result in about $600 million in energy savings.
• In 2007, homeowners in the United States making the switch to CFL bulbs saved so much energy that it could power the entire city the size of Washington, D.C. for up to 30 years.
Yes, there is a little more cost up front when you buy CFL or LED light bulbs (we’re talking a few dollars), but that additional cost is paid for after one year in energy savings alone. When you factor in the long-term savings, it’s a no-brainer. Make the switch!