Change the world by changing your light bulbs | Guest column

by PARIS WILSON

Special to the Sounder

In my eighth grade class, we had an assignment to do a study of one of our world’s problems. I chose to research the problem of energy-wasting light bulbs. My goal is to inform people about how we can save energy and money by which light bulbs we buy. I want to encourage everyone to use more efficient light bulbs.

A large amount of energy is wasted unwisely by using inefficient light bulbs.To help solve this problem, we can buy and install efficient light bulbs that use less energy. If people start using energy-saving, efficient light bulbs, we won’t be wasting energy and instead will be conserving resources.

There are different kinds of incandescent lights: such as regular incandescent and halogens. Regular incandescent lights are inexpensive on the shelf. But in the long run, other more expensive (but longer-lasting) lights, such as LEDs, save you money – the same money you would be spending to replace the incandescent lights. Also, 90 percent of the energy in regular incandescent light bulbs is given off as heat.

Although halogen incandescents can reduce eye strain, produce more light per watt and last significantly longer (between 2,250 and 3,500 hours) than a normal incandescent (between 1,000 and 2,000 hours), they are still expensive and extremely breakable. A small knock could easily break or damage the glass, which can lead to failure of the light. Another consequence of halogens is they can overheat small rooms and become a fire hazard. A 500 watt halogen can reach over 1,200 degrees.

Another kind of bulb is a CFL, a compact fluorescent light. They use up to 70 percent less energy than incandescent lights. However, one study showed that LED lights last six and a quarter times longer than CFL lights. (A CFL lasts 8,000 hours while an LED light lasts 50,000.) Which would you rather be buying?

LED lights, light-emitting diodes, are semiconductor devices that produce visible light when an electrical current passes through them. LEDs are more durable, versatile, efficient, and longer-lasting than CFLs and incandescent lights.

While doing my research, I found some evidence that truly showed that LED lights waste less energy than an incandescent. I compared an incandescent light to an LED. The incandescent used 60 watts and the LED used seven and a half watts. While the incandescent had an estimated energy cost of $7.23 per year, an LED had a cost of $0.90 per year. Though the incandescent lasted nine tenths of a year, the LED lasted almost 23 years. As you can see, the LED light used less watts, had a much lower energy cost and lasted a little more than 25 times longer than the incandescent light. Not only is this a better deal, but it also makes the world a better place. LEDs are healthy for our environment, and if we start using them, we’ll be one step closer to having a low carbon footprint.

You’re not the only one who could change our impact on the world. In our house, efficient light bulbs are outnumbered by incandescents. Less than 2 percent of the lights are LED lights. If we switched out all of the incandescent, inefficient lights with LEDs, our lighting carbon footprint would decrease by about 80 percent. Because of my research on this subject, we have already started replacing the incandescent bulbs with LEDs. If people start using more efficient, energy-saving light bulbs, our world will be healthier, our carbon footprints would go down and we would be conserving valuable resources. I hope you consider switching to LED lights.