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Question: What is the payback for replacing a single 100W filament light bulb, with an 20W energy saver with the same light output?

Answer: Energy saver bulbs use about 5 times less energy than a filament bulb and last about 5 times longer, but they are more expensive.  Payback varies and depends upon how much you use the bulb, an expensive bulb used for just a few hours a day may not be worth replacing on purely financial grounds, but in most cases changing light bulbs to energy savers will save you a lot of money.  The tables below shows the payback time for a cheap and a more expensive energy  saver bulb for various use times per day, base only on electricity use.  It is worth noting that over the lifetime of an energy saver (about 5 years) you will also use about 5 filament bulb costing about 40pence each.

comment on how much saved with lots of bulbs

 Use Per Day Difference in running cost per year between filament bulb and energy saver Payback time if the new energy saver costs £ 2 Payback time if the new energy saver costs £ 4 6 hours £ 25.38 each year 29 days 58 days 12 hours £ 50.75 each year 14 days 29 days 18 hours £ 76.27 each year 10 days 19 days 24 hours £ 101.65 each year 7 days 14 days

Some additional information: For those interested the the energy use each year is as follows:-

 Use Per Day Filament Bulb Energy Saver Differnce in Energy Use 6 hours 219 kWh per year 44 kWh per year 175 kWh per year 12 hours 438 kWh per year 88 KWh per year 350 kWh per year 18 hours 657 kWh per year 131 kWh per year 526 kWh per year 24 hours 876 kWh per year 175 kWh per year 701 kWh per year

There is also a persistent myth with energy savers that you should leave them running because it takes so much energy to get them started, this is not true, please read more on this.

• Payback is calculated by assuming that you scrap the old bulb so only the cost of the energy saver is considered.  It could also be argued that you should include the cost of 5 filament bulbs in this calculation as they last no where near as long as energy saver bulbs.
• KWh  is a unit of electrical enegy it stands for kilowatt hours.
• A watt is a unit of electrical power.

6 Wednesday, 16 January 2013 17:57
hi i think you can also save a lot more extra as well if you switch a light on or off a little bit slower.

eg if you quickly "hit" the on switch (at 100% of the speed) you might catch the a/c cycle when its very low and suddenly spike it causing the light to surge and blow.

but if you do it firmly (at about 75% of the speed) it can help smooth off the a/c cycle curve and you'll have less blowouts = less bulbs to buy and replace, because you wont get much saving if you have to keep buying bulbs..

(just dont do it too slowly or you'll flicker the light between on and off which isnt good)
5 Tuesday, 06 March 2012 14:10
Hi Justin

Thanks for the comments. Whilst what you say is technically correct in the cold months, electrically heating a house in anyway is very costly (3 to 4 time more than gas). So using the heat of a light bulb to heat your house makes little practical sense. Also where is the heat, it is usually at ceiling height, convection will bring some back down to your cold feet, but much will be lost.

In very hot counties they will also put the AC on get rid of the excess heat partly from the bulbs.

One could also include the heat dissipated from energy savers in a calculation and the cost differential between this and the substitution of heat generated by a filament bulb and the cost of heat in gas powered centrally heated house.........errrr perhaps not!

cheers

Richard
4 Tuesday, 06 March 2012 09:45
I like your site sufficiently to put a link to it from mine !
However, I don`t fully agree with your figures on the energy savings from swapping to low energy bulbs. Basically, whenever you`ve got the heating on in your house, which is much of the year in this country, old style bulbs are 100% efficient because they heat up your house with their "inefficient" energy use. As I write this it`s zero degrees outside so any incandescent bulbs I have are working at 100% efficiency !
On the other hand, I agree low energy bulbs are much more efficient in the summer, or in a warmer country.....
http://www.aerialsandtv.com/tvrepairs.html#100WBulbs
3 Tuesday, 05 May 2009 17:27
forgot to mention the cost of the extra filaments is not in the calc, but is mentioned in passing in the text, think I should add it?
2 Tuesday, 05 May 2009 17:25
Cheers Richard

This is where I go , "No looks fine to me!" But only because I have changed it! My off line spreadsheets were right but there was a function error in the scripts, thanks for spotting it, please shout if you find any more on the site, much appreciated

Richard
1 Monday, 04 May 2009 17:05
Richard, aren't you out by a factor of 10 in these calculations?

e.g. you say 6 hours/day of a 100w Filament Bulb uses "21.9 kWh per year".

But I make it 219 kWh per year: 6 * 100 * 365 / 1000 = 219
Just a rough in-head calc of about half a kWh per day for a year gives around 182 kWh/year.

Likewise for 6 hour/day use you have running cost saving of "£ 2.07 each year".

But I make that about £21 savings/year: 6 * 80 * 365 / 1000 * 0.12 = 21.02

Also in your payback time you don't seem to allow for the price of the filament bulb. With 7 times the life an energy saver bulb at £2 is about the same cost as the 7 Filament Bulbs used over the same period.

Nowadays energy saving bulbs are pretty much money savers now for any suitable regularly used lightbulb.

Richard

### Site Guidance

All calculations on this site are based on current fuel prices they are checked regularly are automatically updated and were last changed on:-
19th February 2013
For complete clarity, all calculation using current fuel prices are coloured red.
The costs calculated based on these fuel prices should be regarded as 'good estimates', given that fuel prices vary in different parts of the county and at different time of the year.
The calculations also have different levels of accuracy depending on the nature of the calculation. For example calculating the energy use of a known power output TV is very easy compared to calculating the effect on energy savings when insulating a cavity wall.

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Icons are also used throughout the site to indicate the level of saving or the relative cost implications associated with an choice you might make, or a tip you read or related to how your house is currently configured. These icons below.
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