New home construction and LED lighting
There’s been a steady rise in new house sales since 2011. The number of houses sold in the United States in 2017 was 614000. One of the main motivations for new home builders has been the push for Energy Star program, which educates home builders to create a home that is energy efficient. There are specific guidelines for choosing HVAC systems and materials to construct new homes that enable them to earn a star energy certification. Not only do these homes turn out to be energy efficient, they also are a good investment for the long run.
Though you should be looking for efficient kitchen appliances and HVAC systems, you shouldn’t ignore lighting. Did you know that 25% of electricity at a home is consumed by lighting?
Economics of CFL vs LED
CFL (compact fluorescent lights) lights have been around for about three decades. It was the best choice after incandescent lights fell out of favor. One of the major advantages of CFL over incandescent were they lasted about 8 times longer, which is close to around 8,000 hours, and they come in a variety of colors.
Even when LED lights hit the market CFL stood their ground mostly because of low costs. Consistently over the years LED has played catch up. With rapidly evolving technology and LED lights being mass produced the costs of production have significantly reduced.
As LED lights were already energy efficient, lower cost of ownership will make LED fixtures a no brainer for new home constructions going forward.
Cool as a cucumber:
Another disadvantage of CFL lights is they get hot when used for a long time. If you’ve used it in the kitchen, you might recall how uncomfortable it it is to stay in the kitchen when you are cooking a big meal. LED lights hardly get warm, you could run them for hours and still not feel any heat.
Ease of Recycling
CFLs contain mercury, and that makes them difficult to dispose of in your daily trash. There are strict norms laid out by EPA on disposing norms of CFL lights. There are various methods like dropping them off at local waste collection agencies and hardware retailers that offer in store recycling. Similar norms need to be kept in mind, in case you break one.
LED fixtures, on the other hand, are easy to dispose of, are 100% recyclable and do not contain any materials that could be toxic for human beings. To top it off, most LED lights are encased in an opaque plastic cover which doesn’t shatter or break, even if it slips out of your hands.
Smaller aperture size
Today LED lights with the same amount of brightness can be powered by lower wattage fixtures. So previously the fixtures that needed large housing and lots of space can now be accommodated in 3.5 inches or smaller apertures. For new constructions when builders go with LED they can achieve the same intensity of lights with a smaller aperture and much less energy.
Buying LEDs can seem somewhat confusing for some, as wattage is used as a measure of energy consumed rather than the brightness of light nowadays. To make life easier many manufacturers have started mentioning the brightness in lumen and/or the equivalent in incandescent or HID bulbs. There are also other indicators about an LED bulb like the color temperature and rendering index that can give you a better idea about what you need as well as the quality of the product.
Not all LEDs are made the same. Cheap LEDs can have inadequate heat sinks that could result in reducing the life of the bulbs, inconsistency in color and problems with dimming. Here are the things you should look for when choosing LED for your home:
Color Temperature also called the K rating. It’s a measure of how warm the LED light is. For living rooms, 3000K or less are ideal as they are warm and have a yellow hue. 3200-4500K is ideal for workspaces and kitchen areas, and these are a little cooler.
Color Rendering Index (CRI) is the measure of the accuracy of colors from the light generated from the bulb. Ideally CRI above 75 is ideal for your home.
While choosing the best options for your new home, invest in quality LED lighting to make your house energy efficient and being economically prudent.