LEDs, Good Idea!

Did you know that October is power smart month? I only know because of the little flyers I get with my BC Hydro statement each month. I also learned that if every BC homeowner changed one 60 watt incandescent bulb to a 12.5 watt Energy Star® LED and left that light on for only 3 hours a day for 365 days, it would save enough energy to power 7800 homes for one year. And reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the process!

According to the Energy Star website (a federal government rating system for energy efficient products), lighting accounts for about 11 percent of electricity use in a Canadian home. Most of us have an average of 30 (!) light fixtures in our homes, consuming close to $130 worth of electricity every year. The high quality LEDs available currently can last up to 25,000 hours or more (equivalent to almost 3 years of continuous operation).

There is a section on the government website that compares the LED to both compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) and the old fashioned incandescent bulbs. The LED is the most energy efficient, but it tends to emit a cool blue light with a sort of spot effect. So you lose the warm glow throughout a room that you would with the energy glutton incandescents. Unlike the CFL, the LED doesn’t contain mercury. While several provinces now have recycling programs, if you break a bulb, mercury is a nasty and dangerous substance to be cleaning up.

Okay, LEDs don’t look as good in the thought balloon above someone’s head, but it’s probably still a good idea to make the switch.

Tomorrow night (Oct 25), restaurants around the province will be turning off the LEDs and serving dinners by candlelight in honour of Power Smart month. A very romantic idea!

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