By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Unless you happen to be an environmental Scrooge, odds are that sustainability and eco-friendly are among the key qualities that determine what you consume and what you buy in today’s world.
But being kind to Mother Earth is not always easy.
Sorting trash and making regular treks to the local recycle center can be tedious, and some Earth-conscious items are considerably more expense than their not-so-environmentally-safe counterparts.
But there is at least one quick and easy way to help protect the ecosystem and save money at the same time: switching out your incandescent lightbulbs for LED bulbs.
Eveready, the Missouri-based battery company that for more than a century has led the world in producing energy cells in all shapes and sizes, has recently expanded into the lighting business, and now has its own line of light-emitting diode (LED) spheres, allowing the brand and consumers to help save the planet one bulb at a time.
Here in Mexico, Eveready is trying to get the word out that replacing outdated incandescent, halogen and compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs with LEDs can not only lower electric bills, but will render a better and safer light source overall.
Among the advantages of LEDs over traditional bulbs are the fact that they are about 85 percent more energy efficiency, contain no mercury (making them safer for the environment), are more resistant to breakage, and can last up to 20 years without having to be changed, according to a recent press release from Eveready.
Moreover, because LED bulbs are designed as a more energy-efficient light source, using a semiconductor to convert electricity into light, they produce more consistent and effective illumination.
In fact, LED bulbs produce up to 90 percent more light than incandescent light bulbs and 80 more light than CFLs.
And since LED bulbs require much less wattage than incandescent or CFL bulbs and because the white light they produce does not generate unwanted heat, an eight-watt LED can give off 800 lumens, about the same amount of light that a 60-watt incandescent bulb produces.
On top of all that, while fluorescent lights waste nearly 95 percent of the energy they produce as heat and only use 5 percent to actually generate light, LEDs use 95 percent of their energy as light.
Like most new technologies, when LEDs were first introduced to the world, they were expensive, but in the last decade their cost has come down by over 80 percent.
Still, the initial outlay for an LED bulb is about double that of a standard incandescent bulb, but consumer studies have shown that the average Mexican household can save more than 20,000 pesos a year over a 10-year period by switching to LEDS.
The longevity of LEDs is another cost savings benefit.
Unlike traditionally used incandescent or CFLs, LED bulbs do not actually burn out completely. Instead, they simply lose their glow gradually over time.
LED bulbs even use a sophisticated type of thermal management to ensure they last for a specific amount of time.
This longer lifespan improves cost savings and helps the environment through increased energy efficiency.
Last but not least, the quality of light that LED bulbs generate is more focused than that produced by fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, which translates into needing less bulbs to light up a room.
So, go ahead and “splurge” on LEDS instead of incandescents.
In the long run your pocketbook will thank you for it, and so will Mother Earth.