Why Aren’t We 100% LED?

JEI Working Paper 6: Why Aren’t We 100% LED? 

Mimi Reichenbach
Yale University
September 2015

LEDs—A 19-Day Payback Period and Part of the Energy Solution

Historically, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) have been pitted against the traditional incandescent bulb with the argument that both offer environmental and fiscal benefits through energy savings. It has been difficult for consumers to choose between the two, however, with LEDs and CFLs offering different and constantly changing upfront purchase costs, payback periods, efficiencies, and life spans. After five years of discussing which light bulb can serve best, and perhaps confusing consumers in the process, the debates are no longer necessary. LEDs are now equivalent to CFLs in upfront purchase costs and offer the benefits of a mercury-free light bulb with a longer life span and improved efficiency. From a power plant perspective, LEDs reduce carbon dioxide emissions, water usage, and customer energy bills by 39% when compared to CFLs.

Thankfully, LEDs are no longer an exorbitantly expensive alternative for compact fluorescents or incandescents. As they have traditionally been the best lighting provider for the environment, LEDs are now also fiscally the best investment. For $2.49 a bulb, energy, carbon dioxide emissions, and water usage can be cut 39% to 90% depending on whether a consumer is switching from CFL or incandescent bulbs. LED installation gains are immediate.

Leave a Reply