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Total Cost of Ownership- Environmental Impacts

by Allison Kelley 3 November, 2015 04:12

Over the past few weeks, Bulbs.com has sought to unearth various costs associated with lighting that the average consumer might not consider while purchasing a light bulb. These costs, including operation, maintenance, and replacement costs, culminate in what is called “Total Cost of Ownership.”

Each of these unexpected costs means that incandescent and halogen light bulbs are increasingly expensive to operate in comparison to their energy efficient counterparts. Therefore, if you make purchasing decisions based on monetary incentives, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) are your best options.


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Total Cost of Ownership- Labor and Maintenance Cost Savings

by Allison Kelley 21 October, 2015 03:38

As we learned a couple weeks ago, the obvious and hidden costs associated with purchasing and operating a lighting system factors into the Total Cost of Ownership, or the true cost of a light bulb. This week, I will explain the cooling and labor maintenance costs associated with lighting systems. These costs differ according to bulb type; therefore bulb type should be the most important factor to consider when purchasing new bulbs.

The first bulb type to consider is incandescent. According to Merriam-Webster, the word incandescent means “to produce bright light when heated”. In this bulb type, an electrical current is passed through a metal filament in the bulb. The electricity heats the filament until it glows, just like a hot iron rod does when exposed to a flame. Unfortunately, unless you are using your lamp as a heater, this energy is wasted every time you turn on the light. In fact, approximately 90 watts of a 100 watt bulb escapes as heat and only 10 watts actually generates light.

What’s more, halogen incandescent bulbs produce twice as much heat as standard incandescent bulbs. If you live in a warm climate, your air conditioning and lighting systems could be at odds with one another. This brings us to the first unexpected cost that lighting poses: increased cooling costs. Upgrading your lighting system to one which produces less heat is one way to save money on your utility bill.

One Bulbs.com customer, the Grand Canyon Association (GCA), realized these savings when it replaced halogen track lighting in two of its facilities with LED bulbs. After the GCA’s Verkamp’s Visitor Center and Kolb Studio replaced 218 halogen bulbs, the buildings saw an 84% decrease in energy consumption. In part, this is because the new LED bulbs operate at 95 degrees, a much lower temperature than the 220 degrees that the old halogen bulbs were operating at, resulting in reduced cooling costs.

Many retailers featuring jewelry, clothing or products know firsthand how much heat these halogen light bulbs can put off- often times requiring year round cooling. By switching from halogen to LED, retailers can save hundreds of dollars every month in cooling costs.

LED bulbs are the most energy efficient bulbs on the market today because they produce light in a radically different way than their predecessors—through the play of electricity throughout a semiconductor. Because of this technology, LEDs are able to convert more energy into visible light and waste far less energy in the form of heat and UV radiation. They also don’t have a filament to burn out, helping LEDs last anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 hours—that’s up to 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs. This brings us to the second, hidden cost within total cost of ownership, installation and maintenance costs.

Though changing out a single light bulb may take a homeowner 15 minutes at most, when a building has over 200 bulbs, lighting maintenance quickly becomes both labor-intensive and time-consuming. Someone needs to be paid to keep track of each of these bulbs and to spend the time replacing them when needed.

So, how much does lighting maintenance really cost? Let’s assume that the individual responsible for changing these bulbs earns $12 an hour and that it takes approximately 15 minutes to change a bulb. Replacing a single bulb would cost $3 (for 15 minutes of labor). However, though it would only cost $3 to change a single LED, during that time 50 incandescent bulbs will have burned out. At $3 per bulb, the labor costs for incandescent bulbs reach $150 (50 x $3).

On a larger scale, if a building has over 200 bulbs, like the Verkamp’s Visitor Center and Kolb Studio, replacing 200 LED bulbs would cost $600 (200 x $3.00). But replacing the equivalent amount of incandescent bulbs would cost $30,000 (200 x $150) for labor maintenance costs alone! As you can see, bulbs with longer expected lives reduce labor and maintenance costs significantly. At the Verkamp’s Visitor Center, the LEDs installed are rated to last 50,000 hours—that’s over 10 years of use per bulb if each is used for 12 hours/day!

Total Cost of Ownership includes far more than just purchase price and operating costs. There is a lot to consider and if you’d like to learn more about Total Cost of Ownership, check out the video above. Next week look for a post discussing the environmental costs associated with your lighting purchases. If you have other questions about a transition to LED or Total Cost of Ownership, please contact one of our certified Lighting Specialists at 888-455-2800. 


What is Total Cost of Ownership?

by Nicole Michaud 5 October, 2015 04:19

**An earlier version of this post included inaccurate information regarding Total Cost of Ownership and has since been corrected**

When deciding which light bulb to purchase, the cost of the bulb can be a major factor in your decision. But the cheapest bulb on the shelf might not always be the least expensive option in the long run. The truth is that the bulb you buy will determine your cost in the long term. Some bulbs cost more to use, operate, and maintain than others. These costs, all together, are known as your total cost of ownership. Total cost of ownership (TCO) is a financial estimate intended to help consumers and business owners determine the direct and indirect costs of a product. In terms of lighting, the cost of ownership takes into account the upfront cost of the product, the hours used, kWh rate, and the rated life of the light bulb.


Everline LED Retrofit kits now available at Bulbs.com

by Elizabeth Karpinski 14 July, 2015 11:55

Everyone wants to be energy efficient these days: it can help to reduce energy costs- key for all businesses.

If you’re happy with the performance, light output, layout, and appearance of your current lighting system then there’s no need for a full replacement of your fixtures. Retrofit kits let you improve upon the existing fixtures without having to go through the time and cost of replacing them.  Not only are they fast and easy to install, but they are one of the most cost effective way to save on lighting. Depending on circumstances, they may even qualify for available utility rebate programs.


Top Lighting Picks for Summer

by Elizabeth Karpinski 10 July, 2015 06:23

With July 4th behind us, it’s officially summer and time to think about your outdoor lighting needs. Here are some of our favorite products to light the night!

Bug Lights

Anytime you’re outside in the summer, there’s one thing that’s sure to ruin it: bugs. The problem tends to be worse at night because traditional lights attract them.

Most people are so used to seeing bugs on their outdoor lights they’ve never wondered why, or how to stop them. Insects see light differently than people do, and they’re most attracted to shorter wavelengths—light at the far end of the spectrum, close to ultraviolet light. So all too often, the most attractive light in the area will be the manmade outdoor light around your deck, porch or patio.

Bug lights use filtered yellow glass to minimize the short spectrum light—so they don’t attract insects. If you haven’t yet, this summer is the time to switch.


Why 277 volts for lighting?

by Elizabeth Karpinski 10 June, 2015 03:38

277 Volts is the input power of choice for most industrial and commercial applications. High voltage lighting is better from an efficiency standpoint. Higher voltage means less current, which means less power loss from resistance as stated in  Ohm’s and Joule’s laws.

Ohm’s law:  Voltage = Current*Resistance

Joule’s law: Power = Voltage*Current


High voltage lighting means you can put more lighting fixtures on a given circuit because voltage drop is less of a concern. This means these lights are ideal for areas with a lot of lighting fixtures close together: think warehouses, offices, restaurants, hotels, schools, and even hospitals.

Most industrial facilities get their power in a 480/277 volt 3 phase 4 wire system, because 277 is the phase-to-neutral voltage for 480’s phase-to-phase. The 480 volt wiring is generally used to power large industrial equipment, and the 277 volt wiring powers industrial scale lighting. These two voltages tend to go together because you do not need a transformer to use the 277 voltage, which cuts down on energy and construction costs.



by Christina Crow-Dufault 14 May, 2015 03:17

LIGHTFAIR International 2015 was held last week at New York City’s Javits Center. If you know anything about the lighting industry, you know that this is the event to attend. This year LIGHTFAIR saw more than 26,000 attendees walk through the doors to view the latest LED light bulbs and solid state lighting (SSL) products. It’s an opportunity to explore state-of-the-art technology, network with like-minded professionals, and attend educational sessions. Many manufacturers use the conference to announce new products that will be available at some point later this year.

The exhibition hall was jam-packed with attendees and manufacturers, and featured a number of exciting new product announcements. Gaining control of lighting and improved light quality and design were by far the popular themes this year.  If you missed LIGHTFAIR this year or have never even heard of it, this is LIGHTFAIR in Review.


LED Lighting phase-out, April 2015

by Christina Crow-Dufault 1 April, 2015 07:37

On December 16th, Congress passed a bill with a provision to enforce new energy-efficiency standards for certain types of light bulbs, mostly affecting Light Emitting Diodes, or LED lighting. This "LED bulb phase-out" stems from the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007). A section of this Act has come under the label of "LED bulb ban" with most major media outlets since the announcement, despite not technically being a ban. It simply states that certain classes of LED lamps will be phased-out in order to meet new efficiency standards mandated by law. 


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Lighting Phase-outs & Regulations

Earth Hour: Lights Out for the World...Sort of.

by Harrison Chute 24 March, 2015 12:29


To give back to the entire planet, we offer a single hour — a day at most? What is this Earth Hour, and why does it matter?

Earth Hour is an international movement started by the World Wildlife Fund, encouraging you to switch off non-essential lights for one hour, and perhaps more critically, to inspire a trend toward engagement with energy efficiency and environmental awareness.

This year, Bulbs.com will be participating in Earth Hour, a World Wildlife Fund sponsored world-wide event happening this Saturday March 28th from 8:30-9:30 PM.During Earth Hour, we will be turning off non-essential building lighting and encouraging our employees to do the same in support of a broad range of environmental issues. Additionally, Bulbs.com supports the transition to energy efficient LED lighting and its positive environmental impacts.


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Energy Efficiency

Outdoor Lighting Tips

by Christina Crow-Dufault 14 March, 2013 10:00

While the bottom half of the country is getting warmer, those of us in the northern states are starting to defrost.  As the spring season approaches, we start to think about projects in and around our homes.  You might refer to yourself as a Weekend Warrior or an avid DIYer.

Whatever you call yourself, the outdoor season is coming and it’s the perfect time to start thinking about your yard! And with all the work you put into your landscaping, why not show it off into the evening hours. Plus, you can add a little more security to your home with entry way spot lights and dusk-to-dawn sensors.


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