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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 12-23-07, 10:48 PM   #1
gerv 
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Green light bulbs

About every six months, I troll the 'net for new products that will reduce my electricity bill. Lately, I'm seeing more LED lights which would be a good replacement for compact flourescent bulbs.

The price on these things is getting down to about $12 each, but when you consider that the bulb burns a miserly 2.5 watts (compared to about 13 for a CF and 60 for an incandescent bulb...) and that the bulb should last 30,000 hours (compared to about 8000 for the CF and about 1000 for the incandescent ..)

Seems to me, there could be an enormous savings here. I figure my lighting costs which are now almost all CF, could be reduced to about 20% of current.

http://www.besthomeledlighting.com/led_globe

Anyone using these new home LED bulbs? Could this finance my next bicycle?

Last edited by gerv; 12-23-07 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 12-23-07, 11:37 PM   #2
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Not sure how they stack up to incandescent bulbs... 65 lumens? Doesn't seem too bright to me.

Probably good for areas that don't need bright lights, though.
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Old 12-24-07, 07:15 AM   #3
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Not sure how they stack up to incandescent bulbs... 65 lumens? Doesn't seem too bright to me.

Probably good for areas that don't need bright lights, though.
Not sure of the light quality from an LED bulb like the ones you linked too. FWIW we are designing a new home with full solar voltics. The game plan calls for using the CF for area lighting and the LED for task lighting. Along with a few other tricks like earth sheltering, thermal mass and passive solar orientation I hope to reduce our total power usage by 70% over a conventional home of a similar size. In this part of the country the cooling is the big ticket item, with heating coming in second, lighting a distant 3rd.

I do know that LED lights have a tendency to be very directional and it typically takes a cluster to get any really usable area lighting. Also I think the life span of the CF's is way over stated, at least some of the ones I have been getting. I called the 800 number on the package and whined about it and they sent me a coupon for a couple of free bulbs. I had some that burned out in a matter of 1,000 hours or so.

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Old 12-24-07, 07:42 AM   #4
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Incandescents are about 15 lumens/watt. Those LEDs are 65 lumens total. About equal to a FOUR watt incandescent.

I use almost entirely compact fluorescents. I'm anxiously awaiting pratical, cost effective LEDs. We aren't there yet, IMO. LEDs on par with an incandescent are about 40 bucks right now. I'm guessing within 5 years we'll be where we need to be with LEDs. And I can't wait!
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Old 12-24-07, 09:43 AM   #5
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The LED bulbs I've linked to above are probably about the same brightness as a 25 watt incandescent bulb. My thought is to replace some of the CF lighting I current have in hallways with these LEDs. These tend to remain on for quite a long period (despite my efforts in constantly turning them off...). The electricity savings wouldn't be that much, but why use more electricity than you absolutely need.

I read somewhere that if the whole country replaced one incandescent light bulb with an LED, we could eliminate the need for one nuclear facility. Not bad! And since my state uses coal for about 78% of its electricity, reducing watts is something I am very willing to consider.

Another concern is that CF bulbs certainly don't last as long as advertised and I'm totally not sure of how to dispose of them. LEDs should last much longer, probably some of them until I sell this house!
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Old 12-24-07, 10:53 AM   #6
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I like my CF's, especially because they run cool in the summer. I'm sure I'll like LED's even better when they become available.
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Old 12-24-07, 10:54 AM   #7
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LEDs haven't approached the efficiency of CFs AFAIK, but they are great for directed lighting. Why not order a 50pk of LEDs and grab pack of resistors from one of eh4y's sellers from China? Shouldn't be more than $40 IIRC shipped and you can retrofit what ya want.
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Old 12-24-07, 11:15 AM   #8
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Why not order a 50pk of LEDs and grab pack of resistors from one of eh4y's sellers from China?
May I be the first one here to come out against resistors. Antiquated, energy wasting components. Though maybe a useful place to sequester carbon.
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Old 12-24-07, 03:21 PM   #9
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Just to give you an idea, a typical 60W incandescent will output about 850 lumens. That's 14.7 LpW as opposed to that LED at 26 LpW or 22 LpW for the warm white (emulates incandescent color). Some company has done a 131 LpW LED, but it's color it way too blue for home lighting yet. I assume its cost is prohibitive too. Some CF do up to 65 LpW. LED is the future, but it's too costly for now. LEDs don't contain heavy metals like CF does and they can be dimmed without particular electronics. What's good is that improvements made to LED for homes will most probably make bike lights brighter too.
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Old 12-24-07, 04:28 PM   #10
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It seems I'm the only one questioning the use of CF bulbs. I realize that they last longer and use less energy, but an incandesant bulb is pretty much a piece of glass, and a piece of steel... pretty benign. CF bulbs use a lot more energy to produce in the first place, and they're full of fun stuff like phosphorus. Also- where do you dispose of them?

I'm having a really hard time finding out if I'm being stupid, or if these are actually valid concerns. Anyone know the real facts?
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Old 12-26-07, 02:59 AM   #11
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It seems I'm the only one questioning the use of CF bulbs.
Of course not!
Quote:
I realize that they last longer and use less energy, but an incandesant bulb is pretty much a piece of glass, and a piece of steel... pretty benign.
Right, but its energy use is NOT benign.
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CF bulbs use a lot more energy to produce in the first place,
Do you have the actual numbers? The energy saved over their lifetime definitely more than balances the cost
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and they're full of fun stuff like phosphorus.
More like mercury, which is really bad, but it gets recycled.
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Also- where do you dispose of them?
In Europe it's easier than here because every place selling CF needs to offer return facilities, but it's betting better. Many places have been launching such projects, but no regulation exists here (dunno about Ontario tho). It can be recycled and pretty much every piece of it can be reused later. Harmful gazes and heavy metals are reused later (nothing is lost).
Quote:

I'm having a really hard time finding out if I'm being stupid, or if these are actually valid concerns. Anyone know the real facts?
They are valid concerns but they all have fixes. When LED becomes more affordable we'll have to switch to them because they are really much more efficient and they do not pullute.
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Old 12-26-07, 07:32 AM   #12
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It seems I'm the only one questioning the use of CF bulbs. I realize that they last longer and use less energy, but an incandesant bulb is pretty much a piece of glass, and a piece of steel... pretty benign. CF bulbs use a lot more energy to produce in the first place, and they're full of fun stuff like phosphorus. Also- where do you dispose of them?

I'm having a really hard time finding out if I'm being stupid, or if these are actually valid concerns. Anyone know the real facts?
Good article on the subject here:
http://sound.westhost.com/articles/incandescent.htm#std
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Old 12-26-07, 08:50 AM   #13
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I tried green lightbulbs.... I went back to full spectrum
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Old 12-26-07, 11:48 PM   #14
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May I be the first one here to come out against resistors. Antiquated, energy wasting components. Though maybe a useful place to sequester carbon.
Bwahh?
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Old 12-27-07, 12:26 AM   #15
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I have some of those LED and they are not bright. I don''t think they are at the point where they can replace cfl's or incandencent yet.
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Old 12-27-07, 09:35 AM   #16
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I have some of those LED and they are not bright. I don''t think they are at the point where they can replace cfl's or incandencent yet.
Getting closer though. Back in the fall, I saw for the first time a 60-watt bulb replacement with an Edison socket. There was a sort of frosted glass enclosure around the thing that was the same size as a normal light bulb, so you couldn't see the individual LEDs inside.

I was told it consumed 8 watts, which leads to abut 110 lm/watt. This was really more of an engineering prototype than a product - the company doesn't have it in their catalog yet.
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Old 12-27-07, 12:58 PM   #17
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LEDs haven't approached the efficiency of CFs AFAIK, but they are great for directed lighting. Why not order a 50pk of LEDs and grab pack of resistors from one of eh4y's sellers from China? Shouldn't be more than $40 IIRC shipped and you can retrofit what ya want.
Running a LED with a dropping resistor is generally not a safe method to use on wall current, for a couple of reasons. It's only acceptable for low-voltage battery power.

There's circuits online for running LEDs off wall current:
http://members.misty.com/don/ledfaq.html#120
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Old 12-27-07, 02:25 PM   #18
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I never suggested anyone should run an LED right off of the AC lines. As well as a homebrew circuit, an old AC->DC device and a fuse just in case would be fine AFAIK. Cheap, easy, maybe free...
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Old 12-27-07, 02:48 PM   #19
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I never suggested anyone should run an LED right off of the AC lines. As well as a homebrew circuit, an old AC->DC device and a fuse just in case would be fine AFAIK. Cheap, easy, maybe free...
I was a bit sarcastic with my anti-resistor remark. But the fact is that any current flowing through a resistance dissipates high quality electrical energy into low grade heat. Yes, you can power up a handful of LEDs with a wall wart for example, but the wall wart may be wasting a significant amount of power in the form of heat. Part of the LED challenge is to efficiently transform AC wall current into a form that the LEDs like. It's a similar deal with compact fluorescents, where the base contains a lot of heat-generating power and control circuitry that doesn't contribute directly to illumination.
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Old 12-27-07, 03:15 PM   #20
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Like anything it depends on application IMO. Even with the losses from using something like a generic AC->DC device, a group of LEDs that uses 5W for half a day will still use less than a CFL that uses ~15W over the same time period, and probably last longer. A CFL in a motion setup will use less than an incandescent even if it's inefficient compared to another version with diferent components.
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