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LED Lighting vs Conventional Lighting

Posted on November 2, 2015 by Matt Tomasino There have been 0 comments

Some technology is worth its salt but much of it is just smoke and mirrors. However, once in a while something comes along that really works and best of all, makes sense; a win-win. There is a lot changing for the indoor and outdoor lighting industry and environmental concern is actually a big part. When comparing light emitting diode or LED lighting vs. conventional lighting, it  quickly shows how bulb technology has taken an enormous leap.

Your Wallet, Your Hours

Before going into the technical as well as environmental specifics of LED vs conventional bulbs, it is your wallet that is ground zero.

Like much new technology, when LED bulbs hit the shelves they were priced upwards of $100 per item. Yup, one fat Ben Franklin for a single bulb and consumers couldn’t wrap their heads around it even though LED’s paid for themselves ten times over. A conventional bulb was way more inexpensive.

Now, prices have dropped considerably, enabling the purchase of one LED bulb between $5 and $50 offering hundreds of more hours of light than an incandescent or CFL bulb aka compact fluorescent (those curled bulbs).

According to Consumer Reports,

“LED light bulbs can last anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 hours, or up to five times longer than any comparable bulb on the market.”

Combined lighting such as LED holiday lights are also worth the investment given that you’ll probably never have to replace them in your lifetime; certainly a wise choice.

The Simple Dollar estimates,

“If you replaced 20 incandescent bulbs with LED light bulbs throughout your home, you could save up to $3,260 over their 23-year lifespan.”

Planet Pluses

The money you can save switching to LED lighting, especially for commercial use, is significant. However, one major factor of LED lighting vs. conventional lighting is its impact on the environment.

Incandescent bulbs use way more energy than CFL’s but CFL’s contain mercury. This means that when they are discarded, your planet gets a good dose of toxicity. Purchasing LED lighting eliminates both these problems as they use less energy, do not have an open toxic end life and last longer than any other bulb.

Because LED bulbs use less electric this not only adds to your ‘wallet factor’ but it also means you won’t be contributing so much to the polluting coal industry that supplies most of your electrical grid.

The Quick Look

Comparably and on average, LED lighting vs. conventional lighting (including CFL’s) is as follows (source: DesignRecycle):

Life Span

LED 50,000 hrs

Incandescent 1,200 hrs

CFL 8,000 hrs

Watt Usage (60 watt bulb)

LED 6-8 watts

Incandescent 60 watts

CFL 13-15 watts


LED $32.85/yr

Incandescent $328.59/yr

CFL $76.55/yr

Contains  Mercury


Incandescent No


CO2 Emissions

LED 451 lbs/yr

Incandescent 4500 lbs/yr

CFL 1051 lbs/yr


LED very durable

Incandescent breaks easily

CFL breaks easily


LED 3.4 btu’s/hour

Incandescent 85 btu’s/hour

CFL 30 btu’s/hour

As lighting technology continues to expand, a literally bright future is in store. This includes smart lighting which are chip driven bulbs that, “communicate” with one another. For instance, as someone walks along a dimly lit hallway, each bulb may sense the oncoming person and automatically brighten their path.

This is a small example of how LED’s are forging the way for a variety of lighting applications yet to be seen; light years beyond conventional incandescent and CFL technology.

This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Holidays, Save Energy and was tagged with CFL, Christmas lights, eco-friendly, ENERGY EFFICIENT, holiday lights, LED, lighting


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Green Home is the original online ecostore, based in San Francisco, California, in the heart of both the environmental and cleantech industries. Since 1999 Greenhome.com has played its part as one of the most comprehensive online resources for greening your home and greening your business. Our company is on a mission to green the world, one person (and one business) at a time. While all of our products are eco-friendly, we are especially passionate about compostable plates, cups, bowls, cutlery & utensils, take out containers and bags.  If more businesses and individuals switched from disposable to compostable we could make a real impact on the world!

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