Glacial Energy Blog

LED Bulbs are Energy Efficient, but are they Cost Efficient?

LED energy safing bulb. Isolated objectLED bulbs are many times more efficient than their incandescent counterparts. A 12 watt LED bulb can output as much light as a 60 watt incandescent bulb. But for all their energy saving abilities, are they really worth the investment? Would it actually be cheaper to use an incandescent bulb and replace it every time it burns out rather than spend a great deal more on a single LED bulb?

It’s no surprise that for such an energy efficient technology, costs are premium. The average price for a single 60-watt equivalent LED bulb is around $40. Some bulbs are cheaper, some much more expensive. A box of 4 60 watt bulbs from a major retailer costs about $10; about $2.50 per bulb. The 60 watt equivalent bulb is said to last 25 times longer than the incandescent version, meaning you would spend more than $60 in incandescent bulbs over the same lifespan. But, that is just the cost of the bulbs themselves. You also have to figure in the savings of electricity.

Let’s assume you have a fixed rate of $0.10 per kilowatt hour (kWh) from your retail energy provider. Over the course of 25,000 hours, a 60 watt bulb will consume 1500 kWh of electricity. A 12 watt bulb will consume 300 kWh of electricity over the same lifespan. That comes out to a savings of 1200 kWh, or $120 in energy costs for those 25,000 hours. Assuming an average of 1000 hours per incandescent bulb, you will spend about $52.50 on bulbs and $150 on energy consumption. Totaling this all up, it certainly seems more beneficial to spend $70 over 25,000 hours on a single LED bulb than spending $202.50 over the same time with incandescent.

It is important to keep in mind that while LED bulbs will save you money over time, that time can be several years in length; up to 20 or more years, in fact. LEDs definitely have a high price point, but it is very likely that in the coming years, LEDs will be manufactured en masse to provide a variety of lighting solutions for a much lower cost.


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