We recently purchased our first home (ok, condo… we live in North Vancouver!) and immediately wanted to replace the lighting. The fixtures were all original
and not our style. To us, the obvious choice was light emitting diode (LED) technology. LEDs are one of the most energy efficient technologies on the market. They last longer (up to 25 years), are more durable, and can provide better quality light than older types of residential lighting such as compact fluorescent (CFL) or incandescent lighting.
LED lighting is up to 80% more efficient than your typical household lamp. They have a lower environmental impact due to their longer life, recyclability of their parts, and the fact that they do not contain mercury. LEDs also emit very little heat because the energy inputs are transferred into light, whereas CFLs and incandescents release 80-90% of their energy as heat.
Since the technology its now so versatile, we were able to choose different colour temperatures for different spaces in our house depending on the purpose. For a reading lamp, we use a warmer temperature on the yellow spectrum (2700 K), while in our dark hallways, we use a much whiter light closer to that of daylight (4000 to 5000 K). We also added dimmers in our bedrooms and dining area for further control over our energy consumption and light output (make sure that you purchase a dimmable LED to do this).
For us, it boiled down to cost. We were willing to make the upfront investment for good quality lighting knowing that the cost to operate the lights would be significantly reduced year after year. The prices of LEDs are also coming down, and are often on sale (look for $ off coupons in store or online promotions).
Our current energy bills for our 1100 sq ft condo are about $1/day which is pretty cheap in my opinion. Knowing that the cost of electricity will only continue to increase, the investment in LED made even more sense. We noticed a significant drop in our electricity bill in the first couple months after we made the switch to LED. We also have ENERGY STAR appliances (fridge, dishwasher, and washer/dryer) and we are considering replacing our bathroom fans with high-efficiency as well.
This final point may be old news, but with the holidays coming up I thought I should mention it. Make sure that your holiday lights are LED! When it comes to paying off your electricity bill after Christmas, you’ll thank me.