Agree with it or not, in January, our lighting options are going to change. Don’t panic. No one is going to knock on the front door and confiscate your light bulb stockpile. But, manufacturers will no longer be allowed to produce the traditional incandescent bulbs we’ve all been accustomed to. Standard 100-watt bulbs have already been phased out in 2012, with 75-watt due to be phased out in 2013 and 60 – and 40-watt being phased out through 2014. Those incandescent bulbs will be replaced with bulbs that conserve energy and lower your electric bills. I understood that these new lighting options were better for the environment and for my utilities budget, but I still wasn’t sure I fully understood exactly what my options were going to be and how to make the best choices for our home. In a partnership with GE, I received coupons and a gift card to purchase and try out some of the new light bulb options, so my family and I could determine for ourselves, which bulbs we liked best. As with every Busy-at-Home review, the views and opinions expressed in this post are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the products.
Up until this past week, the light sockets throughout our multi-level home have been filled with incandescent bulbs in wattages ranging from 40 to 100, and in styles ranging from recessed can lighting, to vanity lights, ceiling fan lights, lamps, chandeliers and regular ceiling fixtures. There are literally dozens of bulbs. Some time ago, I actually tried to switch out a few of our standard bulbs with CFL bulbs and ended up returning all of them to the store. A constant flickering over the bar in my kitchen had me switched back to incandescent in that recessed lighting, within about 15 minutes. The CFL’s I installed in our ceiling fans, office and living room didn’t provide enough light and several burned out in a matter of seconds. I packed up any still working bulbs, returned them to the store and resigned myself to absorbing the higher energy cost of standard incandescent bulbs. I clearly had a lot more to learn about making the change from incandescent lighting.
Initially, I expected to make the switch from our incandescent bulbs, to the new GE Energy Efficient Soft White Bulbs. I learned that their halogen technology is the closest thing we will have to the incandescent light we are used to and they save about 28% on the cost of energy use. As I continued researching at the GE website, however, it became pretty clear that CFL’s would net us the biggest savings. I began my research in earnest, to learn how to know how bright the light given off by a CFL bulb would be and the types that would be best in each location in our home. If I made that leap, again, I wanted to be sure it was a successful transition.
Fortunately, in a relatively short span of time, the technology has continued to improve and through this partnership with GE, I was given an opportunity to learn about and test it, again, through a fun homeschool project with our kids. It’s extremely important to us, as a family, to find ways to build savings back into our budget, and involving our children in the process, helps us to be more successful, since they willingly participate when they understand the benefits. It’s also a skill that will serve them well, as they become adults and responsible for their own budgets. So, I agreed to create the project lessons and started researching what I wanted our kids (and me) to learn.
I wanted the kids to understand the new bulb options available to us, as well as their costs, not just in energy, but in their initial purchase price averaged over the life of the bulbs. Could we actually save money making the switch, and if so, how much? I sensed some great opportunities for graphing, charts and math calculations. This was going to be a good lesson for the students AND for the teacher! I created a household bulb inventory spreadsheet and then headed out to do my shopping, before working on my lesson plans. If you want to see my entire light bulb shopping experience, be sure to check out my Google+ album.
Once I had all the bulbs I wanted our family to try, for this project, I headed home and got to work on some worksheets I wanted my kids to use, that would help them understand the impact on our budget, just from changing out the light bulbs we use. In the meantime, I put my son to work, installing the new light bulbs, I had purchased.
I made worksheets for our kids to plot data collected on bar graphs and I produced an information sheet, with instructions on how to calculate energy cost of any light bulb. I’ve actually created quite a few activities. Some I will share with you, now, to get you started on your own home energy makeover and some I will share in January, when we have the final data on our project.
And just in case the man in your life, needs a little extra convincing, to get enthusiastic about the savings you can net by changing your bulbs, I find that a good visual aid involving cash, goes a long way. Check out this fun video from GE and Walmart.
To learn more about all three of GE’s light bulb technology types available at Walmart/Sams, find out about the new light bulb legislation, and scope out your own available alternatives and energy savings, try some of these online resources:
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and GE Lighting. A positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product. The pdf worksheets were created by me and are free for you to use or distribute. #CBias #SocialFabric #GELighting