article : some great tips on reducing hydro bill with led lighbulbs

an article that truly inspired me about LED light bulbs, though they are expensive, some creative selections and time to get used to them seems like a really wise way to go. Great things about the LEDs is that they are dimmable and do come in some nice warm natural incandescent-like colour temperature. (link to the original article in vancouver sun) i have highlighted some key elements within the article.

Here’s an idea: Save yourself some money

How a simple renovation and a campaign against incandescent lights reduced my Hydro bill

By Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun June 23, 2012

I just got a Hydro bill that made me happy and that is a first.

Despite substantial increases in the rates charged by our beloved electric utility – and the promise of more increases to come – the power bill is going down rather than up. The promise of further rate increases sparked a mini-obsession on my part over LED lighting and a small renovation that included the replacement of about a dozen windows and doors.

Everything in my house is electric. The stove, the heating, hot water, lighting, the works. So, try to imagine my delight when BC Hydro introduced a special higher rate for people who use more than the average amount of what is probably the cleanest energy available.

Yes I got mad, but I also got busy.

I’m going to skip to the end and tell you the results, and then how we got there. In the month of May, we burned 30 kilowatt hours of electricity a day at a cost for the month of $71. During the same period over the past two years the figure was 76 hours and 64 hours.

In the 34 days immediately before our early January window and door replacement project, we burned $469 in power. In the 28 days after, $148. Our average daily power consumption over the past five months was 67.6 kilowatt hours per day, compared with 112.2 during the same period last year.

The provincial and federal governments have sent me rebate cheques totaling $1,200 for undertaking the renovations. To qualify for the rebates you must have a professional energy audit completed by a certified energy adviser, which we did (at a cost of about $300 for two visits). He will do all the paperwork for the rebates, you just cash the cheques.

BC Hydro estimates you can save 20 per cent on your heating costs by replacing inefficient windows with Energy Star windows.

In our main living area, we have more window than wall and the windows are large, so the savings for us will likely be above average. So far our power consumption is down 40 per cent, or about $1,200 a year.

We replaced eight windows and two sliding glass doors, nearly all of that in our main living area. Cost was $8,000, plus $3,000 for a pair of custom-made French doors.

We have also discussed installing grid-tied solar electric ($25,000) and solar hot water ($10,000), but for the moment I have decided to grab for the low hanging fruit: inefficient incandescent bulbs.

We do most of our living in our front room, kitchen and dining room. Our son spends much of his time in his room. (He’s 16, what are you going to do?) So these are the areas I wanted to target for maximum savings. There is no point in putting a $40 light bulb in a closet that is lit for five minutes a day.

I have spent a little over $400 on light bulbs that cost between $20 and $40 each. LEDs offer much bigger savings over the long haul than compact fluorescent lights and contain no mercury. Screw CFLs, you don’t need them. Do experiment yourself, as I have. LED light can easily turn a warm, comforting space into Kafka’s interrogation room.

Here’s how my conversion breaks down:

Living room: Four 60-watt incandescent bulbs are replaced by two 12.5-watt Philips Dimmable AmbientLED bulbs. We run the dimmer about halfway down the slider, so the total power draw drops from 240 watts to between 12 and 25 watts. I really like the warm colour of the light and we lose nothing in brightness.

Dining room: Three 100-watt incandescent bulbs and two 50-watt halogen floodlights are replaced by three 13-watt Energizer Omni Directional bulbs and two four-watt Philips MyAmbience LED spots. All are dimmable, but at full power deliver more light than the old bulbs. Power draw drops from 400 watts to 47 watts. The light is a little whiter than we are used to, but quite palatable.

Kitchen: The nine 50-watt halogen flood bulbs in the kitchen are what my wife calls the burning lights, because the heat they throw literally boils her brains while she is cooking and washing up. I replaced three floods over the island with two six-watt Energizer LED Narrow Floods and a single four-watt Philips spot. In the cooking area, I replaced three 50-watt halogen floods with three nine-watt Cree LED spots that I ordered from California. I left three halogens for the warmer light they throw. The combination is easy on the eyes, bright and drops the power draw from 450 watts to 195 watts. These lights are also on a dimmer, so we can save more when natural light allows it.

My office: I replaced three 50-watt halogen floods with three nine-watt Eterna Bright 3 LED bulbs that were rejected for kitchen use due to their cool colour temperature. With the dimmer all the way down they provide good light for using the computer.

The boy’s room: One 100-watt and two 60-watt incandescents are replaced by a single 12.5-watt Philips LED in the ceiling fixture and a single eight-watt Phillips LED in the desk lamp. It approximates daylight with both bulbs on, which is seldom. (He’s 16, what are you going to do?) Bearing in mind that I left some conventional bulbs in place for the quality of the light, our daily power needs based on five hours per day for all the rooms I converted drops from seven kilowatt hours per day to about 1.5.

In dollars, that’s about $200 a year in savings, more if we use the dimmers.

I suggest that you buy single LED bulbs in a couple of styles and test them in various locations before you spend a pile of dough on bulbs you don’t like or that aren’t well suited to the fixture or the room.

The Philips LED bulbs look like Frankenstein’s monster with disconcerting amber coloured elements, but they throw by far the warmest light.

Some LEDs cast a cold blue light so look for colour temperatures between 2,700K and 3,000K.

rshore@vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

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