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Lighting, CFL vs. Incandescent Bulbs

        written on 12/15/04

        On average, Lighting, accounts for 10% of a typical home's electric usage.  Regular incandescent bulbs are cheap but very inefficient.  In addition, these light bulb types put out a lot of heat which increases cooling loads.

        Switching to Compact Flourecent Lamps (CFL) is an easy and cheap way to save money on electric bills.  CFL's use 1/4 the amount of electricity, and put out less heat.  Replacing incandescent bulbs with CFL's has one of the fastest returns on your money of any energy saving investment.  After replacing 16 of these bulbs in my home, I saw a CFL energy savings of about $10 a month on my electric bill.

Lamp Type





Usage (Watts)

13 W

60 W



540 - 800

Heat Output


200 BTUH

Annual Usage*

18.98 kWh

87.66 kWh

Annual Electric Cost**



Cost of Bulb



Life of Bulb

8,000 hrs

1,500 hrs

Cost per 8,000 hrs



*Based on 4 hours per day average usage.
**Based $0.10 per kWh.

Grand Savings of $40 over the life of the CLF.

You also get the added benefits of a slightly lower cooling bill, and less frequent bulb replacement.

Where to use CLF's

  • Any normal 120V light socket
  • Lamps and other light fixtures
  • Lights that are on for long periods of time
  • Inside and Outdoors

Where not to use CLF's

  • On dimable switches
  • In three way lamps
  • Security lights with photo sensors
  • Lights that get turned on and off frequently
  • Applications which require full lumanence imediately

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