Before the holidays, my son and I decided to take a bit of time to work together on educational green project t help our family green up our eco-footprint for the new year. After taking stock of just how many light bulbs we have in our home, we could not thing of a better place to start. We were surprised by all the energy efficient bulbs we found at our local Walmart store, particularly the wide selection of energy saving specialty bulbs! We picked a selection of styles to test out at home to aid us in making our savvy, green decisions.
Do you know how much your family could save
by greening up your home's lighting?
For the hands-on and visual part of our experiment, we inspected the light output of four different bulbs in the same lamp and same lighting conditions. A GE Energy Efficient Soft White Halogen Bulb, a GE Soft White 2x Life buls, a 75 watt equivalent standard sized CFL we had on hand and a GE Energy Smart Mini Spiral CFL bulb. Both Soft White bulbs appeared to give off a similar amount of light and certainly of a pleasant and sufficient quantity. The Energy Efficient Soft White Halogen bulb's advantage is that is uses 28% less energy. Although the Soft White 2x Life bulb costs more per year to operate, it's life span is an average of twice that of the Energy Efficient option. After some quick lighting calculations, we realized that the cost of use was less over the life of the 2x Life bulb by approximately one third, however the halogen bulb would use only approximately three quarters of the energy in the same period of time.
The big surprise for us was the brighter output from the Energy Smart Mini Spiral CFL!! With the power of nearly 100 more lumens, the glow was noticeably brighter, however the wow factor was in the energy consumption and cost of use combined. At a cost of approximately one third of the Soft White bulbs and one quarter the energy usage, the Energy Smart CFLs were the clear winner for us! Brighter output, lower energy usage and a life span that could lead to us forgetting how to change a light bulb? We're sold!
The one drawback of the CFL design is in its appearance. Although my son finds the swirly bulbs incredibly "cool", the appearance is less than ideal for certain light fixtures. For those fixtures with more visible bulbs, the Energy Efficient Soft White would be a great choice and certainly a greener, yet visually similar option to traditional incandescent bulbs
Our next stop was to one of the most wasteful lighting fixtures in our house - the large eight bulb light bar in the children's bathroom. Although switching out this bar is certainly on my husband's Honey Do list, after learning how much our family could save by switching out these bulbs, and being painfully familiar with my husband's pace, my son and I made certain to include testing a greener option of these large, decorative globes. What a difference the GE Energy Smart globes made and such a clean, white light!
Beyond the visual improvement, these bulbs are super savers. Using only 15 watts of energy, the annual cost of using these new GE light bulbs will be about $14 per year, as compared to over $50! Although the initial purchase price is a bit higher than traditional alternatives, these beautiful globes have a life span of eleven years on the average! My son was amazed and quick to point out that he, himself is eleven years old.
Keeping all this great, green information to ourselves just would not do! My son and I worked together to create a project board to share our exploration and findings. While I prepared facts and details, he worked on the creative portions of our display. After tracing our test light bulbs, he cut out the pieces, added essential details and glued them to a background he trimmed with decorative edged scissors and then to the project board. For his favorite choices, he could not help but to add a bit of pizazz after finding inspiration from some of his frame trimmings.
With each test bulb represented on our project board, we used the helpful facts we gathered from the GE packages to chart out the differences to double check our hands-on exploration. We compared watt usage to cost of use per year, watt usage to lumens and cost of usage to life span of each bulb. Although we did not include the GE Energy Smart decorative globes on our charts, it was fascinating to realize how much light could be sourced from these bulbs at such a low energy rate, with wattage and cost of use so similar to the Mini Spiral CFLs!
Our fun not yet complete, we reviewed the data from our comparison graphs and my son doled out awards for the following categories: Eco-Friendly Winner, Best Value and Best Light. As predicted, the GE Energy Smart Mini Spiral CFLs and decorative globes stole the show! My son is looking forward to sharing his green lighting findings with his science class to help inspire others to go greener this year!
Although my family'e primary lighting choice for green savings are GE Energy Smart bulbs and CFLs, I was glad to learn that the GE Energy Efficient Soft White Halogen bulbs are a greener option for our fixtures with more specific needs. We are thrilled that the specialty energy savings bulbs we need are so much easier and convenient to find. Most importantly, with a bit of focus, we can make a significant difference in greening up our family's eco-footprint this year and save a surprising amount of our budget in the process!
Have your read about the new legislative changes
in regard to light bulbs?
What are your family's plans for greening up this year?
Have you tried different types of energy efficient light bulbs?
Which are your preference?
Tell me in a comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and GE Lighting #CBias #SocialFabric. The opnions above are both honest and of our own experiences.