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LED lighting April 23, 2015

Posted by Maury Markowitz in power grid.
Tags: ,
Buy some

Buy some, trust me.

I thought I’d put up a little post about my latest power bill.

Now that you’re all hanging on the edge of your seat…

My latest bill was lower than I remembered it, which caused me to flip over to page two. There they break down the usage for time-of-day and the averages for the period. Take a look at that leftmost column. Notice that the amount of power I was using was averaging about 15 last year, but has dropped to about 11 this year.


What changed? Two things.

One was that I replaced most of my light builbs with LED versions, like the one at the top of the article. The provincial government had a $5 off coupon, and prices were falling, so I was able to purchase a bunch of bulbs for not much more than CFL twisters. But unlike those, LEDs look great, turn on instantly, fit into most fixtures, and work with just about any dimmer. That last one was important in a couple of places in the house.

I replaced all my high-use lamps, seven 60W incandescents in the kitchen, and a dozen 50W halogen pots in the downstairs. The total cost was just over $150. Together these are used about four hours a day (actually longer, but they’re not all on at the same time), so that’s 4 x ((60 x 7) + (50 x 8)) ~ 3 kWh that dropped to 4 x ((9 x 7) + (7 x 8)) ~ 500 Wh. So I’m saving about 3 kWh a day, maybe more, just from new light bulbs.

That power bill was $127 total with taxes and such, and used a total of 664 kWh (over a couple of months). So that’s 19 cents per kWh, all in. If I save 3 kWh a day, and those each cost 19 cents, I’m saving 57 cents a day. The lights will pay for themselves in less than a year.

Go buy some. Really, what are you waiting for?

The other was to replace my computer. My last one made it a whole seven years and would have kept going if not for the fact that some of the development work I did needed a new OS that didn’t run on it. Those seven years represent three Moore’s Laws, which means the new computer is hardly doing anything when it’s asked to do the same tasks as the old one. I run it 8 to 10 hours a day, so even a few Watts adds up.

So after spending about my monthly Tim Horton’s bill and maybe two hours in total, I cut my power use a whopping 35%. My use is now less than half the Canadian average, which is about 25 kWh a day.

So the next time you hear someone pooh-poohing the savings little changes like this can make in real-world terms, remember this post!


1. Omnivore - April 30, 2015

Interesting post. I was doing similar ‘research’ a while back too and my conclusions were quite the same.

My yearly use of electricity was for several years around the 2000 kWh mark with the price of kWh averaging around 11 eurocents (~0.12 USD) including transfer costs etc After I made a complete switch to LED lighting I was able to shave off around 600 kWh from my electricity bill and thus saved around 70 EUR which fully covered the cost of the LED lamps.

Another thing I did later on was to put my electric devices, such as my desktop PC, stereo system, gaming console and whatnot, behind a separate power switch. This way whenever no-one was home, all the devices could be completely shutdown so that they didn’t consume electricity while idle. The switches cost around 10 EUR but in just one year they saved me an additional 220 kWh’s which amounted to around 25 EUR yearly savings.

I live in an apartment building so my electricity bill is obviously a lot smaller than usual, but these savings (as it seems in your case) scale up pretty nicely. There are some real savings to be made with little effort. By remembering to switch off my home electronics and by installing LED lighting I was able reduce my electricity bill by 40%.

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