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Updates

 

Real Energy Savings

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." Leo Tolstoy

If every household in the United States replaced incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs in just one room in their home, the nation would save more than 800 billion kilowatts of energy and keep one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases out of the air. The energy savings would be equivalent to the annual output of more than twenty power plants. Fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but because they last six to ten times longer and save energy, they save the consumer money in the long run.

These are the savings that would occur with one lightbulb changed. Can you imagine what would happen if we all changed five light bulbs? That's the first of five things our federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recommending to make homes more energy-efficient and help the environment. EPA is also urging consumers to look for home electronics and appliances that have earned the ENERGY STAR; heat and cool their homes wisely; seal and adequately insulate their homes; and tell family and friends to help spread the word that energy efficiency makes sense.

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Anonymous Anonymous Says:

Send me $200 and I'll replace every light in the stinkin' house.

 
 
Blogger Bill Says:

Thank you for reading our "Updates" and offering your input. I think the main reason people don't immediately change over to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) is that they don't understand the economics of the situation.

1) They think CFLs are expensive. Actually you can get CFLs equivalent to 60 watts for less than $2 apiece and ones equivalent to 100 watts for less than $3 apiece. Click here for WalMart's prices, for instance.
2) They don't realize that they will end up paying more in the long run for standard bulbs, because each CFL lasts 10 times longer than its incandescent equivalent.
3) They don't have a practical concept of how much energy (and money) they will save because CFLs use only 1/4 as much electricity. Over its lifespan a 13-watt CFL (replacing a 60 watt regular) will save about $30 in electricity, while a 26-watt CFL (replacing a 100 watt regular) will save $60.

Let's look at the average 8-room house and say there are about 3 bulbs in each room. Some have only 2, but then there's the hall and entryway, etc. So let's calculate costs and savings based on replacing 24 standard bulbs with CFLs. We'll swap out half (12) with 13-watt bulbs and the other 12 with 26-watt ones.

Finances 12 CFLs (13-watt)
Initial Investment $21.34
Replacement Savings $46.20
Energy Savings $360.00
Net Savings $384.86
Finances 12 CFLs (26-watt)
Initial Investment $32.75
Replacement Savings $46.20
Energy Savings $720.00
Net Savings $733.45
Totals
Initial Investment $54.09
Replacement Savings $92.40
Energy Savings $1080.00
Net Savings $1118.31

After an initial outlay of about $50, the whole enterprise just keeps on saving. Several years later, when you haven't had to replace a bulb in who knows how long, you've saved yourself over $1000 and taken a load off the environment. And this isn't new, expensive CO2-free generation - this is electricity that didn't even need to be generated.

You estimated it would cost $200 to replace all the bulbs in your house. Do you have nearly 100 bulbs? If so, you could save $4000 in the years to come for a modest $200 outlay. I suspect, however, that you're like most of us and actually have a lot fewer than 100 bulbs to replace.

You asked me to find someone to give you $200 so you can start saving. Suppose you were told on absolutely solid authority that you could replace the oil filter in your car with a high-tech $50 one that would last 10 times as long as the standard and return you $1000 in gasoline savings over the next 50,000 miles. Would you wait for someone to give you $50 before you'd make the switch? Got a tight budget? How about tossing a $15 bundle of 6 CFLs in your shopping cart once or twice a month until you've got the job done?

But we all like handouts, and there is such a thing as priming a pump, so how about lobbying Albany and asking the State to pay for a first round of CFLs for all of us? It's really not a bad idea. With a massive volume discount, they could probably get 100,000,000 bulbs for $150 million, which was Spitzer's most recent wind power subsidy - just a drop in the bucket for wind, but can you imagine the impact that many CFLs would have on the demand for electritity in NY? Why build more generating capacity, when you could cut demand by an equal amount for far less money? Sometimes it makes you wonder what on earth are our politicians thinking.

Thanks again,
Bill

 
 
Anonymous Anonymous Says:

um...
"If every household in the United States replaced incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs in just one room in their home, the nation would save more than 800 billion kilowatts of energy and keep one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases out of the air."

800 billion thousand watt hours, divided by say 100M households, means a savings of 8 megawatt-hours per household. If that is an annual number, light on 24-7, that means the lightbulb consumes over 900 watts. And it is otherwise left on all the time. Does not seem a reasonable argument.

800,000,000,000 kWH / 100M homes = 8,000 kWH.

8,000 kWH / (24 * 365.25) = 912 Watts.

 
 
Blogger Bill Says:

Thanks for your comments, Anonymous. When you have something valuable to say, why don't you tell us who you are?

I think you're right about the calculations. I took the information for this post from page 26 of a book called "It's Easy Being Green" by Crissy Trask, who quoted the EPA website for her statistics.

If you recalculate using 8 billion KWH instead of 800 billion and speculate that 100 million households replace one 100 watt incandescent bulb with a 26 watt CFL that's on 4 hours a night 5-6 nights a week, you get better results.

The number Trask and I quoted seems to be off by a factor of 100 but it still represents a global savings of about 10 billion (instead of 1 trillion) pounds of greenhouse gases - nothing to scoff at.

 

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