A week ago I attended a talk by Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson at the University of Indianapolis. He discussed current events in science generally, and astrophysics specifically. He was very entertaining, and I enjoyed the lecture immensely. He only mentioned evolution during the Q&A time at the end when someone asked a related question.
But one thing he said stuck with me. He was talking about how the United States is lagging behind other countries in science innovation. As an example he mentioned the three men who won the 2014 Nobel prize for Physics: Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura. Notice anything about those names? Dr Tyson’s point was that they are Japanese, and the Japanese (and Koreans) are outpacing us in science innovation by leaps and bounds.
But that’s not why I am writing this blog post. My post has to do with the REASON they won the Nobel Prize, specifically, “”for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources”.”
You see, when they came out with these Compact Fluorescent monstrosities, I was alarmed, because they said, “To improve the environment, you need to stop using those light bulbs made from glass and carbon, and start using glass and poisonous mercury. For the environment.” I didn’t want the things in my house. “But they’re more efficient” they said. “They’ll last longer” they said. Phooey on you, I said. I don’t want to have to call the EPA every time I break a light bulb.
But here is the answer to that problem: LED light bulbs. They use a fraction of the energy, save money over time, and are better for the environment. Dr. Tyson asked us all, “Does anyone here not have LED lights in their home, raise your hand. You’d better not raise your hand. Get your butt out there and get some! These are highly efficient sources of light, they give off hardly any heat, and they discovered it.” Evidently the invention of blue LED allowed scientists to develop white light LED light bulbs.
I had never heard of LED bulbs. After I got home I did some quick research, and found out that, while an LED light bulb is way more expensive than an incandescent bulb, it is also way more efficient and way longer lasting. The average incandescent bulb lasts about 1200 hours and will cost you $328 per year to keep lit. The average LED bulb will last about 50,000 hours (41 times longer) and cost you $32 per year to keep lit.
Today we bought our first LED bulbs. The bulbs do cost more. We paid about $6 for one bulb to put in our front yard (our HOA demands that each house have a security light post with a light bulb and a light sensor so it stays on all night). That light is on 10-12 hours every. Single. Night. And now my electric bill is going to go down. As we replace more bulbs, the bill will go down even more. As the following chart shows, these bulbs are more efficient, more durable, and better than the incandescent bulbs.
Their only drawback: they probably wouldn’t work anymore if you ever got hit with an EMP. So, barring nuclear war, LED is the way to go!
Yep… you said it. They are cooler. Apparently you are not an Austrian economics fan. Austrian economics deals with the TWO sides of every issue, not just one. (The “Seen” and the “Unseen”. You “see” the savings achieved by bulbs lasting longer, but you ignore/don’t see the corresponding loss of heat input by using cooler bulbs in the winter.) So while you’re saving all that money this winter on your heat bill, perhaps you could do some math and figure out how much your heat bill will go up as opposed to what it would have been if you burned the “old fashioned” incandescent bulbs. If you have electric heat, it will be a 1:1 increase:reduction as far as energy is concerned. But that’s without factoring in the cost of the bulbs. To do a proper analysis you’d need to figure the total cost per KWh which would include the cost of the bulb as well as the energy consumed. I’m thinking it’s gonna cost ya more using the LEDs.
I partly heat my office with incandescent light bulbs. I have one 60w desk lamp, and two 100W overhead lights. (I’ll be switching them out to 60W soon, as my stock piles of 100w bulbs will be reserved for winter heating of chicken watering founts.) In season transition times (ie Spring and Fall – such as now) I close my office door and stay toasty without any other heat. In the Spring, I switch the bulbs out to CFLs. If LEDs become cheaper and at least as efficient as other types, then I’ll buy LEDs and use them for summer light.
I also tried Halogen bulbs – they don’t last as long and don’t provide good quality light.
Well, we bought four bulbs so far. The first one is the one outside, where it doesn’t matter to me if the air is heated or not, I’d just rather not spend the energy on that one. So I’m definitely saving money there. The second bulb is currently in my son’s desk lamp, because he complained about it being too hot anyway. The third and fourth bulbs are 17 feet up in the ceiling of our living room, so we never felt the heat from those anyway. I guess it’s possible that the heat the incandescent bulbs generated there assisted in keeping the air up there warm, possibly making it easier to heat the lower sections, but I don’t know. Anyway, we just got a high-efficiency furnace installed last year, so it’s probably cheaper for us to heat the house with that than with light bulbs.