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Step 5: Consider your costs

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Keen to save hundreds each year on your energy bills?

It’s tempting to grab the cheapest bulb on the shelf when there’s so many options at the shop – however this could cost you dearly in the long run.

When you consider lighting accounts for about 10% of a typical household’s energy bill, choosing energy efficient light bulbs makes a lot of sense. Before you buy a new bulb, think about how much it could cost to run – and how long it will last before buying a replacement – so you can make a smarter choice for your home, the environment and your wallet.

Explore this page to learn:

  • Light bulb running costs

  • Replacement costs

  • The lifetime cost

Fast facts

$4

How much a quality LED costs to run in the average home – for an entire year

5

How many times you’ll replace an incandescent bulb during the time just one quality LED lasts in the average home

$253

How much more you’ll pay – in running and replacement costs – to have a household of halogen bulbs compared to LEDs

Light bulb running costs

The more energy (Watts) a bulb uses, the more it costs you to run it.

Considering a typical Australian home has about 37 light bulbs , energy costs can really add up. This is why it pays to choose energy efficient light bulbs such as LEDs – it’s the smarter choice.

For example, a traditional 75 Watt light bulb (no longer available) used 75 Watts of energy to produce its light output of 1100 lumens – and cost about $23 per year to run in the average home. Whereas a quality LED produces the same amount of light using just 6W – and costs less than $5 per year to run!

Think about how many bulbs you have in your home to get an idea of how much you could save by switching to energy efficient LED lights.

Omni-directional halogen to LED

Line drawing of halogen screw fitting light bulb with an arrow then an LED equivelentA home fitted with 37 mains voltage halogen light bulbs which transitions to LED light bulbs will spend $444 more than what they would have spent on buying halogens and will save $253 each year on energy costs.  Over 10 years they will be $2419 better off, including the benefits from replacing fewer light bulbs.

Mains voltage (240V) halogen downlights to LED

line drawing of MR16 halogen light bulb with an arrow toward an LED equivalent A home fitted with 15 mains voltage halogen downlights which transitions to LED downlights today will spend $90 more than what they would have spent to purchase halogen light bulbs and will save $116 each year on energy costs.  Over 10 years they will be $1251 better off, including the benefits from replacing fewer light bulbs.

Low voltage 12V halogen downlights to LED

line drawing of MR16 halogen downlight with arrow toward LED equivalentA home fitted with 15 extra low voltage halogen downlights which transitions to LED downlights today will spend $68 more than what they would have spent to purchase halogen light bulbs initially, and will save $76 each year on energy costs.  Over 10 years they will be $778 better off, including the benefits from replacing fewer light bulbs.

Replacement costs

Think about how long a bulb will last before you buy – replacement costs can really add up for some types.

CFL and LED light bulbs can last 5 to 15 times longer than incandescent lamps. For you, choosing a bulb that lasts means less money spent on replacements – and less time dragging the dining chair around the house to replace blown bulbs!

Typically, it costs more upfront to buy a CFL or LED than it does for incandescent light bulbs. However, think about how many replacements you’ll need to buy in the ten or more years a CFL or LED will last – then decide what bulb really is the better buy.

For example, a halogen light bulb costs $3 to buy while a quality CFL is about $6 and LED about $10. While the LED costs the most, it lasts at least five-times longer than the Halogen – in other words you’ll have to buy 5 halogens – at a cost of $15 – to last as long as a single, $10 LED.

Buying a bulb that lasts means you’ll spend less money on buying replacements – and fewer lights get left in landfill.

The lifetime cost

When comparing types of light bulbs, don’t just think about today – think long-term, or lifetime cost.

The lifetime cost is the purchase price of the bulb plus the electricity costs and replacement bulb costs over ten years. Generally, the extra expense upfront for a better bulb – specifically one that’s more energy efficient and lasts years longer – is quickly offset by the money you’ll save on energy bills and replacement costs.

Figure 1: A comparison of the total lifetime cost (over 10 years) for different types of 800 lumen light bulbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download the app

Line drawing of smartphone with light bulb on screen

The Light Bulb Saver app

The Light Bulb Saver app makes it easier to work out what kind of bulb to buy, while showing how much you could save by choosing a more efficient bulb. Download the free app now from iTunes or Google Play.