Earth Day, Every Day By Fred Bodin :How I Cut My Electric Bill by 50% and Now Shooting for 85%

Fred Bodin Writes-

Good lighting is of prime importance to an art gallery, and here at Bodin Historic Photo lighting burns huge amounts of electricity. I have 36 track and ceiling lights in the showroom and windows, and each used a 75 watt halogen spotlight. Do the math, and that’s 2700 watts burning 7 days per week, 8 to 10 hours a day. About ten years ago I experimented with CFL fluorescent lights, which use less energy and last longer than the halogens, but produce an ugly green or blueish light. CFLs made my artwork look awful, so I stopped buying them.

Five years ago I jumped on the LED bandwagon, which promised large energy savings and a 10 to 20 year bulb life. But the light’s color still wasn’t right: either too pink or too cold white (like a hospital OR). Last year I found the perfect LED: the GE PAR 30 2700K warm floodlight. I use the long neck version because of the size of my fixtures. I discovered this light at ACE Hardware for about $50. They also have a larger version (PAR38) for recessed ceiling lights: GE Dimmable 12W LED Bulb (66529) – LED Light Bulbs – Ace Hardware. As my halogens and CFLs burned out, I replaced them with my new favorite LEDs.

Last year I found the same LED product at The EFI Mass Save Catalog Product Offer | GE LED PAR30 for $35 each. So I ordered 6 of them and now have 10W LEDs in 21 of my 36 gallery lights. My electric bill is already drastically lower, dropping from $100–$120 per month down to $50–$60 per month, saving $600–$720 per year. The savings will be 85% when all of my fixtures are re-lamped with LEDs. (360 watts with 10W LED vs 2700 watts with 75W halogen). Below are some comparisons.

Halogens: GE 75W halogen warm spotlight: $15–$20. 1,500 hour life (vulnerable to vibration**). Dimmable. $9.03 operating cost per year.

LEDs: GE 10W LED warm floodlight. $35–$50. 25,000 hour life (not vulnerable to vibration**). Dimmable (check dimmer compatibility). $1.20 operating cost per year.

*CFLs: Not a contender because of the yuk color. **Vibration is a major cause of failure for filament bulbs, such as halogens, and is caused by shipping, handling, or a rockin’ party.

My advice: Come into my gallery and see the LEDs first hand. Buy one or two LEDs with the warm 2700K color balance to fit your light fixtures. Compare the color with what you’re using now. Then start re-lamping and saving money!

Here’s my favorite LED, lit by the same LED in my gallery track light.