By now, most people are familiar with Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs), those curly energy saving bulbs.  They’ve become popular due to the energy savings they offer over old incandescent bulbs – but they’re not perfect either: they take a few minutes to warm up, they’re quite fragile and like all fluorescent bulbs they contain a tiny trace of mercury.

Light Emitting Diode bulbs, or LEDs, are a newer, far better type of light bulb:

  • They turn on instantly – no warm-up time
  • They have excellent colour quality
  • They work well outdoors and in cold temperatures
  • They’re durable
  • They’re as efficient as, or more efficient than, fluorescent lighting
  • They last for 25,000 hours (IE 20 years) so say goodbye to the nuisance of changing burnt out bulbs

So consider investing in LEDs when you look for new light bulbs.  They’re a bit costlier up front, but when you pro-rate that cost over their lifetime, they provide convenience, efficiency and savings.  (And prices are coming down quickly.)

Read more about LEDs here, and always look for the ENERGY STAR logo when you buy.

Efficiency, a small investment with a big return

If you were buying a new fridge, which would you choose?

  • Fridge A, which costs $1,000 to buy but consumes $40 a year in electricity; or
  • Fridge B, which costs $750 to buy but consumes $100 a year in electricity?

Here’s the quick math on the above choice: after five years, Fridge A would cost a total of $1,200; Fridge B would cost $1,250.  After 17 years (the average life of a fridge), Fridge A would cost a total of $1,680; Fridge B would cost $2,450.  You can see what’s happening: the efficient choice may cost more up front, but it’s cheaper in the long term.  The fridge that appears cheaper is actually more expensive.

When making a purchase, we often look exclusively at the first price tag – the purchase price – and overlook the second price tag – the operating cost.  But efficiency, particularly in home appliances, is a small investment that pays.  If you’re in the market for an appliance, efficiency is the wise choice.

Click to learn more about EnerGuide or ENERGY STAR efficiency ratings.  (Reminder: NBers can save and take advantage of special rebates on energy efficient appliances during the month of November.