According to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy, only one in five household sockets currently contain energy-efficient light bulbs. If you haven’t embraced them, here are some reasons to make the switch sooner rather than later in your Santa Cruz home:
• Your budget will thank you – While a Compact Fluorescent light bulb (CFL) costs more to purchase than an incandescent (about $1 more per bulb), the CFL will last up to 10 times longer than the traditional light bulb. According to Energy Star, a CFL saves you between $30 and $60 per bulb depending on the cost of electricity at your Santa Cruz home.
• It’s good for the environment – A CFL uses 75% less energy than a traditional light bulb.
• Your quality of light won’t suffer – A federal law passed in 2007 requires manufacturers to make light bulbs that emit the same brightness using less energy. These new regulations don’t ban or promote any lighting technology.
• You won’t be able to find the old light bulbs – Since traditional incandescent light bulbs can’t meet the new standard, they’re being dropped from production over the next few years. You can continue to use the old light bulbs, but eventually, you won’t be able to find anything but specialty incandescent bulbs such as decorative and appliance bulbs.
Although CFLs are the most popular type of energy-efficient light bulbs, you do have a few alternatives. Here’s a brief explanation of the pros and cons of each type:
• Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) – These are the most popular and affordable and come in sizes that fit most standard light fixtures. If you tried CFLs in our Santa Cruz home years ago but didn’t like them, give them a try again. Today’s CFLs provide a much higher-quality light. They cost about $1.50 per bulb. The negatives of CFLs are that they contain mercury, don’t work as well outside in the cold and it takes a few seconds for them to come to full brightness.
• Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) – These are even more energy efficient than CFLs and can last for up to 25 years. In addition, they are fully dimmable, contain no mercury and are great for using outdoors. The downside to LEDs is that one bulb might cost $40. Watch for prices to come down with increased production.
• Halogen incandescent – Although these are more expensive and less energy efficient than CFLs, they do have some advantages. Unlike CFLs, halogen lights are fully dimmable, come to full brightness instantly and contain no mercury. They’re more expensive than CFLs but less expensive than LEDs at $4 to $5 per bulb.
If you simply are not ready to move to CFLs, you may want to stock up on incandescent 100-watt bulbs right away. Those are the first to move to the new rules starting in January, 2012. The 75-watt bulbs go to the new rules in 2013 and the 60- and 40-watt bulbs in 2014.
If you’d like to buy an energy-efficient home, I can help. Call me today at 831.662.6522 or email me at Lauren@LaurenSpencer.com.
For additional information please visit my website at www.MySantaCruzRealEstate.com.