Turning off the lights – when does it make sense?

September 17, 2008 at 9:12 pm 1 comment

I know that all of us have heard people say to turn off the lights when you leave the room, but should you really?

It really comes down to a trade off between useful life of the equipment, in this case the bulb and the cost of electricity.  The useful life of your lightbulbs are directly effected by how many time you turn them on and off. Also let’s be serious and admit that many of us simply don’t invest the time to turn all of the lights out before we leave the house.

Now there are a couple of schools of thought on this.  The first is always turn off the lights as it saves a lot of money!  Examples of this mode can be found here: http://www.channel4.com/4homes/diy-self-build/diy-build-advice/eco-projects/easy-ways-to-save-energy-and-money-at-home-08-05-29_p_1.html and here: http://www.thedailygreen.com/going-green/tips/energy-conservation-turn-off-lights-460107

I admit that if everyone made a practice of turning out lights that the small amounts of power saved by each of us adds up to a potentially large amount, which is good for the overall conservation movment and would reduce our overall impact on the earth.

However since this is really an economic question for most of us let’s talk about the second school of thought. This is the one that goes to the trouble of figuring out what is the best economic decision. Economics is what best motivates me on this kind of decision anyway.  This method really is really about determining where the trade offs are and when it is cheaper to leave the bulb burning versus turning it off. This really is talking about flourescent bulbs because of the increased power required to start them up.  When talking about the old standard incandescent it is always better to turn them off when you leave the room.

Well I found four websites that explore this method.  The first is the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s site on the subject: http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/lighting_daylighting/index.cfm/mytopic=12280 This site is very matter of fact and breaks down the discussion in terms of bulb type.

Next is a reprise of this subject in a slightly cleaned up format at: http://expresslightbulbs.com/getgreen/how-to-save-energy-turning-off-lights/2008/09/08/

Our next site delves a little deeper and explores the trade offs as well as simple electric cost versus time: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/17932/turning_off_lights_does_it_really_save.html

Lastly, my favorite site on this subject puts forward his argument in the most practical terms and in a way that everyone can understand and use:http://blogs.moneycentral.msn.com/smartspending/archive/2007/11/30/how-much-money-does-turning-off-the-lights-really-save.aspx His unique take is to contract the savings with the effort required to achieve them and I for one can heartily agree with his plan.

So take a look and make your plan to save a little money by turning out your lights, but you can save more by making sure you computer and appliances are off as well!

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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Entry filed under: Environment, Recycling. Tags: , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Visit Enjoy!  |  September 18, 2008 at 4:32 am

    ohh Nice i will turn off lights when i leav room. thanks.


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