According to the California Energy Commission, lighting accounts for 25 percent of our utility costs in the home [source: California Energy Commission]. By decreasing these costs, we can make a significant impact on our utility bills. Let's take a look at how trading our old incandescent bulbs for halogen bulbs can help us save money.
We'll start with a standard 100-watt incandescent bulb. If the lamp is used for 12 hours a day, 365 days per year, it will be lit for 4,380 hours each year. In the United States, homeowners pay an average of $.1099 for each kilowatt hour of electricity used [source: Energy Information Association]. In our example, the cost to run this lamp can be computed as 100 watts/1000 kilowatts x 4,380 hours x $.1099 = $48.14 per year.
Compare this to the cost for a halogen bulb. As we discussed earlier, halogen bulbs produce more lumens (lighting power) per watt, and thus, a 75-watt halogen bulb would be equally as bright as our 100-watt incandescent. Therefore, the annual cost of a halogen bulb under the same scenario would equate to 75 watts/1000 kilowatts x 4,380 hours x $.1099 = $36.10 [source: Rocky Mountain Institute].
Simply looking at operating costs, halogen lights can save us $12.04 per bulb each year when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. Of course, we must also take into account upfront cost and replacement rates. In 2009, the average cost of an incandescent bulb was $1.00, and it had a life expectancy of 1,000 hours. Halogen bulbs, on the other hand, cost around $5.00 [source: Rocky Mountain Institute] and are expected to last 3,000 hours on average. Using our example above, we would need to spend $5 on five incandescent bulbs, or $10 on two halogens to get us through out 4,380 hours of lighting needs.
Using these numbers, our total cost for buying bulbs and paying utility bills for lighting would amount to $53.14 per year for each incandescent bulb in the home, or $46.10 using halogen bulbs, which equals a savings of $7.04 per year. Assuming a home had 10 light bulbs, we could save $70.40 each year by switching to halogen bulbs. At the same time, we'd use about 25 percent less electricity and throw about 30 fewer bulbs into landfills.
To learn more about saving money by making your home more green, head to the next section. It'll be like a light bulb went off over your head.