Home energy costs can skyrocket in the winter and summer months. While limiting how much you use your heating or air system can help lower your energy bill, changing light bulbs can also be a great way to decrease energy costs. According to energystar.gov, over 20 percent of a home’s energy budget is dedicated to lighting. Bulbs such as traditional incandescent can increase costs due to the fact that they hold more heat and go out faster than energy-efficient light bulbs. There are three main types of energy-efficient light bulbs that can replace those old, outdated bulbs in your home:
Benefits: These light bulbs are widely used in cars, reading rooms, and libraries. They can help to reduce eye strain because the bulbs have focused lighting. Halogen incandescent bulbs can be great in fixtures such as chandeliers or overhead lighting.
Drawbacks: Halogen incandescent lights can become very hot, which can cause an increase in energy costs.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
Benefits: These bulbs last much longer than traditional bulbs and use seventy-five percent less energy than incandescent bulbs (consumerenergycenter.org). Even though these bulbs may cost more initially, the cost is made up by their long-term usage.
Drawbacks: CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury, which means that they must be disposed of correctly to prevent damage to yourself and the environment. Fortunately, many states and light bulb companies have means for customers to recycle these light bulbs with little to no cost to the consumer.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
Benefits: LEDs last longer than any other type of light bulb including CFLs. These light
bulbs do not get as hot as other bulbs. Because LEDs are not made of glass material, these light bulbs do not break as easily as other bulbs.
Drawbacks: LEDs contain traces of lead, arsenic, and nickel which are all toxic. These light bulbs, like CFLs, should always be recycled to prevent damage to the environment and you.
There are a number of ways to recycle these light bulbs in the Atlanta Metro area. Home Depot accepts unbroken bulbs for recycling and organizations such as environtechcorp.com and atlantalightbulbs.com will arrange either a pick up or drop off of your lightbulbs. For a complete list of how to recycle these bulbs in Georgia please visit: http://www.georgiarecycles.org/environmental-education/citizen-resource-guides/compact-fluorescent-light-guide/
RRC offers a Greening Your Home class. Participants learn how to reduce energy costs and about improvements that can increase efficiency of systems in the home. Participants also receive free CFL light bulbs. If interested, be on the lookout for class dates in future newsletters.