Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Winner, by Unanimous Decision, is...

After a prolonged time in the ring, here's how our little smackdown worked out:

The LED accent bulbs used only 2 watts of energy. Thus, using the same calculations from my earlier post, the whole fixture would consume only 4 kWh/yr, for a remarkable energy savings of 80 kWh/yr over  incandescent bulbs! Unfortunately, each of the accent bulbs only cranked out the advertised 50 lumens apiece, leaving our bathroom, shall we say, less than brilliant. In fairness to Sylvania, however, these are clearly marketed as accent bulbs-- LEDs intended to provide the equivalent output of incandescents are marketed under their "ULTRA" line. More on this in a second.

As for the CFLs, I purchased the 60 watt equivalent models hoping for a really bright output. Each bulb, therefore, consumes 14 watts while spitting out 800 lumens apiece. Even with the increased wattage over the LEDs, the CFLs still only consume about 29 kWh/yr. That's still a savings of 54 kWh/yr over incandescents while enjoying a visibly brighter bathroom!

So why did I buy accent LEDs instead of road-testing the ULTRA line? Cost! A three-pack of the Sylvania Accent LEDs costs $19.99. A single ULTRA LED bulb costs $19.99 That's a wee bit steep for me. Don't get me wrong-- I don't believe energy decisions should be based solely upon recouping your upfront costs over time. Still, the costs of adopting this new option seem way too high to be practical for most people. But like all new technology, me might see prices drop over time. 

For now, we'll continue to try finding the best available CFLs to suit our lighting needs. In this case, it was a bulb that sells in packs of two for $9.97. They even got the wife's rubber stamp of approval!

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