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Posted: 5:19 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012

LEDs, CFLs and traditional lightbulbs: A savings comparison.

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The way you light your home or business is changing. Businesses in particular, take note. It could save you money. But it's not for the weak of heart, as Clark explains.

He recently bought a house that has a large number of recessed can lights, all on a dimmer. Each one was fitted with an old-fashioned incandecent bulb, and the electric bills were massive! So he decided he'd replace them with more efficient bulbs to save some cash.

At Costco, he took stock of his choices: They had extremely efficient LED bulbs, but these cost $30 a pop. With 24 bulbs to replace, that would come to over $700. Sure, these bulbs last for decades, and the initial purchase would have likely saved him thousands over the years. But Clark simply couldn't bring himself to drop that kind of cash all at once just for lightbulbs.

CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) were going for just under $5 a bulb. He bought those. They have roughly the same amount of energy savings as with the LEDs, but not nearly the same lifespan.  So, while he saves big in initial cost, he'll ultimately replace them much sooner, making the final savings equal out. (He was willing to take the chance though, reasoning that with LED's 25+ year lifespan, the bulbs just might outlive him!)

We as consumers typically have a hard time spending that much more up front, even if we know we are going to save big bucks over time. But for businesses it makes more sense.

With the exhorbitant electric bills associated with traditional incandescents, a company could see a complete return on their investment within months, not years. This is a promising opportunity for any company's bottom line.

And as more businesses start taking advantage of this opportunity, it will pave the way for more affordable LED lighting for all of us, as the technology progresses.

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