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What Makes LED Lights So Cost-Effective?
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March 06, 2013

What Makes LED Lights So Cost-Effective?

By Drew Hendricks

One of the main draws of LED lights is that they cover a number of bases that traditional, incandescent lights simply cannot reach. A key element is that everything LED lights provide will ultimately save its users money, whether it’s through their incredibly long lifespan, energy efficiency, or environmental friendliness.

LEDs are the Most Environmentally Friendly Lighting Product

LEDs are light-emitting diodes, semiconductors that produce the same (or even a superior) amount of light as regular lighting fixtures, at just a fraction of the energy, because they also produce less heat than their predecessors.

It’s why the United States Department of Energy named the LED as the most environmentally friendly lighting product.

Less Energy Means More Money

When comparing an LED light to an incandescent light for a swimming pool, for example, the LED used 40 watts, and the other bulb used 300 watts. The savings were calculated to be $114 a year. For a slightly more average use of LED lights as opposed to incandescent lights, a side by side comparison estimated that homeowners can save up to 17 percent on their monthly electricity bill by switching to LED lights.

Seventeen percent every month comes out to savings of 204 percent on a yearly basis.

LEDs Are Durable

Another way LEDs are geared to save money is that they’re built to last. Their extensive running time means that replacement does not become an issue for years, offering light for up to 10,000 hours (as opposed to traditional fluorescent or other mediums of light, which can go for 1,000 hours before needing to be replaced). The Washington Post estimated that an LED light lasts for 10 years before needing to be replaced, drastically cutting down on the price of purchasing, installing and/or replacing lighting fixtures.

LED lights are also good to withstand vibration, heat, cold and humidity better than their older counterparts, suggesting that even for outdoor, potentially rough use, LEDs are a sound investment.

Rebates and Federal Incentive to Switch to LEDs

LEDs are proving so popular that some electric companies are willing to offer their customers – even big businesses – rebates for making the switch. A business in Queens, New York slashed their energy expenditures from $50,000 a year to $20,000 by turning to LED lights, and they were helped along by their electric company, who saw the value in helping their customers make savings.

A report by Groom Energy and GTM Research postulated that service providers might foot at least 50 percent of a customer’s bill to make the change to LED lights.  

The interest in “retrofitting” (upgrading) older lights to a more environmentally-friendly and cost-savings medium like LED lights is spurred in part by the federal government’s push for more forward-thinking and progressive ways of conserving energy. President Barack Obama promised to give environmentally friendly companies funding assistance in taking the initiative to reduce carbon footprints wherever possible.

The 2009 stimulus package awarded $34 billion in government investments to companies that paved the way in saving energy, and electric companies that want to be a part of that deal will happily offer rebates to customers – whether individuals or businesses – looking to upgrade their lighting systems to a medium as demonstrably effective and government-endorsed as LEDs.

Decreasing Prices Means Faster Savings

Early generations of LEDs were exorbitantly expensive, requiring years of running time (and the inherent energy savings therein) to offset their high price. However, with prices expected to drop in the near future as more LEDs flood the market, it is anticipated that users of LEDs will see savings much faster, as the LED bulbs themselves become more affordable. An energy-hogging 60 watt bulb sells for just $1, so it is not out of the question to assume the cost of LED bulbs will continue to be driven down as the product becomes increasingly popular and available to the general market at large.

When this happens, waiting for years for the investment of an LED to pay off will be a thing of the past: customers will begin saving money from the second they flip a switch.

Edited by Braden Becker

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