September 03, 2006
Gotta save some juice

As summer starts to wrap up, the summer electirc bills also arrive, reminding me that I need to save some electricity where I can.

As a result, I switched over the majority of the house to use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of traditional incandescent one. There was a 10% off sale at the local hardware store, so I decided to take advantage.

The energy savings are pretty huge. I replaced:

(6) 100 watt incandescent bulbs with 23 watt flourescent blubs
(8) 60 watt incandescent bulbs with 14 watt flourescent blubs

Yes, the flourescents really do only use a quarter the electricity for the same amount of light.

The only issue was with one of the fixtures where the wider base of the flourescent wouldn't fit. I'm sure there's a short extender I can use to solve this on my next trip to the hardware store.

So how much electricity am I really saving here? In a pure wattage reduction, the 14 new bulbs save 830 watts when on. Assuming that the bulbs are on for an average of 3 hours a day, that's 2.49 kilowatt-hours a day. Over a year, that's ~900 kilowatt-hours. If you look at the How Stuff Works page, you can see that you get 2,460 kilowatt-hours per ton of coal. Doing the math, that means that switching to the flourescent bulbs save 731 pounds of coal from being burned in power plants. Also, we help avoid producing air pollution from coal burning.

On the money front, we pay ~25¢ per kilowatt-hour for electricity here in California in the summer. 900 kWh * 25¢/kWh = $225 in savings. I spent about $58 on the bulbs today, so I should recoup my cost in the next 3 months.

Not bad for an hour's work. There are still more bulbs to swap out as well. Now I seriously need to consider making a change to both our air conditioner and refrigerator, both over 20 years old.

Posted by michael at September 03, 2006 08:06 PM


Good job. Ever considered getting solar panels?

BTW, only about 20% of California's electricity is produced by coal.

Posted by: Watson [] on September 4, 2006 9:42 AM

Watson - as with most of this stuff, it's the thought that counts more than anything. Solar is so expensive it takes you 20 years or more to recoup the expense.

I do my bit for conservation by turning off my lights when I leave a room.

Posted by: BillB [] on September 4, 2006 10:35 AM

Wow, 25 cents per KwH? We pay 5.7 cents per KwH here in British Columbia, all year round. It's been that way for years.

Posted by: Ian [] on September 4, 2006 10:56 AM
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