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Total Cost of Ownership- Environmental Impacts

by Allison Kelley 3 November, 2015 04:12

Over the past few weeks, 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.

Incandescent bulbs are more than just a burden on your wallet, however. They also burden the environment due to their wasteful energy consumption. A typical 100-watt incandescent bulb uses 75% more energy than an equivalent CFL and 80% more than its LED equivalent. This energy increases utility costs and is responsible for creating higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

Here’s one ENERGY STAR® statistic: The United States could eliminate greenhouse gas emissions equal to 800,000 cars if each household in the country replaced just one incandescent with a CFL bulb.

And here’s one more: If the United States replaced all bulbs with LEDs over the next two decades:


The energy saved by replacing all incandescent bulbs with LED technology equals the electricity used by 24 million American homes! What’s more, LEDs do not contain any harmful mercury, which gives them an added environmental advantage over compact fluorescent lamps.

The U.S. government feels so strongly about these energy efficient technologies that the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) was enacted in 2007. A section of EISA established new efficiency standards for light bulbs. Many incandescent and halogen bulbs commonly used by consumers today do not meet the requirements of this act. These include A-style (Edison-style) 40, 60, 75, and 100-watt incandescent bulbs and halogen PAR lamps greater than 40 watts, which were phased out from 2012 to 2014.

Now that most household incandescent bulbs have been phased out, what will you do for your next lighting choice?

In the end, the choice is yours. You may replace each dead bulb with a CFL. LEDs, however, often offer compelling financial and environmental reasons to make the switch. Furthermore, with the cost of many LED bulbs swiftly dropping and with the suite of rebate programs now popping up across the country, LED bulbs are more incentivized than ever before.

If you are curious about how much you could save by switching to energy efficient bulbs, please review the calculations and table below.





Energy Efficient Bulb


Cost Savings

Cost Savings


kWh Saved

CO2 Savings (lbs.) (Natural Gas)*

CO2 Savings (lbs.) (Coal)*







932 lbs.

1,655 lbs.







2,480 lbs.

4,408 lbs.


*This table was calculated using two bulbs sold at They can be found here and here. Savings are over the expected life of the bulb and assume electricity generation by natural gas and subbituminous coal sources.

 It can be difficult to avoid many lifestyle choices which are at odds with the environment. However, where lighting is concerned, reducing your environmental impact is as simple as upgrading incandescent bulbs to LEDs. Next week, look for a post discussing dimmers and controls. These energy-saving products provide additional environmental and financial savings. 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.

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