Money Saver India
Energy savings: CFL vs incandescent bulbs

Energy savings: CFL vs incandescent bulbs

By switching from traditional tungsten bulbs to CFLs in your home, you can drastically reduce your energy consumption by up to 80%. Read on to find why CFLs have the edge.

For lighting needs, a large number of houses prefer to use incandescent tungsten bulbs compared to their CFL counterparts. At almost Rs15 per bulb, tungsten lights are extremely cheap to install. With most houses used to its warm lighting, the fact that it consumes up to 80% more electricity in running is usually ignored.

CFLs, though more expensive at Rs140 per bulb, are very energy efficient. They use only a quarter of the energy required to light up a traditional incandescent bulb. As compared to a tungsten bulb’s lifespan of 750 to 1,000 hours, CFLs also have a longer lifespan at about 6,000 to 15,000 hours. If you compare the cost of running tungsten bulbs or a CFL lamp for 15,000 hours, the latter will cost you Rs4,445 less compared to an incandescent bulb. Here’s how:

Running hours Watts consumed Number of fittings Cost of fittings Electricity consumption @Rs9/unit Total running cost
Incandescent bulb 15,000 6,00,000 15 Rs225 Rs5,400 Rs5,625
CFL lamp 15,000 1,20,000 1 Rs140 Rs1,080 Rs1,220

Electricity consumption
While incandescent bulbs have been in houses for a long time now, they have been known to waste most electricity consumed by them. Only 10% of the energy supplied to them is used in creating light, the remaining 90% is used in emitting heat. The high heat emissions of these bulbs also lead to any air conditioners in the room to consume more energy.

Tungsten bulbs also consume more energy, at 40 watts per hour on an average, as compared to CFLs’ 8 watts per hour. The highest wattage of a CFL bulb, on par with a 100 watt bright incandescent bulb, is a mere 20 watts. As per our calculations (see below), you can save up to Rs768 a month on electricity bills by replacing tungsten bulbs with CFLs.

Type of room Living room Bedroom 2nd bedroom Kitchen Bathroom
Number of incandescent bulbs Six 40W bulbs Two 100W bulbs Two 100W bulbs One 100W bulb and one 40W bulb Two 40W bulb
Average daily hours of use 5 4 4 5 1
Average electricity consumed 1200W 800W 800W 700W 80W
Approximate monthly cost of electricity Rs324 Rs216 Rs216 Rs189 Rs22
Number of CFLs Six 8W lamps Two 20W CFLs Two 20W CFLs One 20W lamp and one 8W lamp Two 8W lamps
Average hours of use 5 4 4 5 1
Average electricity consumed 240W 160W 160W 140W 16W
Approximate monthly cost of electricity Rs65 Rs43 Rs43 Rs38 Rs4
Total savings: Rs768 Rs259 Rs173 Rs173 Rs151 Rs18

The Indian government has already recognised the energy efficiency of CFLs and has banned the use of incandescent bulbs in certain states, while a plan to replace 400 million incandescent light bulbs with CFLs is already underway. Other steps also include subsidizing the price of CFLs to bring them to the same level as incandescent bulbs.

What should you opt for?
As per our research, CFLs are a great choice to save money on operational costs in the long run. Available at affordable prices, these lamps do well to recover your investment with their low wattage. The government’s initiative to subsidise CFL lamps, when it does come into effect, will only make them more inexpensive to have in homes.

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