Do Outdoor LED Lights Save Money?

By Ygrene on October 12, 2017
natural lighting

Entertaining in the backyard is the perfect way to enjoy evenings with close family and friends, and we want to help you save money while you do it. Did you know that you could save money using outdoor LED lighting? We'll give you the scoop on what LED lighting is, how they're different from other types of lights, how they can save money, and of course, how to get the perfect look for your party vibe.

What Are LED Lights, Anyway?

LED, short for “light-emitting diode,” lighting is one of the most energy-efficient lighting options available today. LEDs use less energy over time, making them a very good option for homeowners. LED lights are not an overhyped fad at risk of disappearing anytime soon, and their technology only continues to improve and develop over time. Homeowners can feel confident they will be able to maintain and replace a new LED system in the future.

How are LED Lights Different From Other Lights?

According to the Department of Energy, LED lights have several unique features that make them very different from incandescent light bulbs and other, newer options such as compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).

LED Lighting Uses Much Less Energy Than Other Lights

As previously stated, LED lights use significantly less energy over time when compared to incandescent lighting and CFLs. This reduced energy consumption has numerous benefits, including lower utility bills, reduced carbon emissions, and less waste created from the disposal of burned out bulbs.

LED Lights Have Different Color Tints

In LEDs each light-emitting diode is minuscule (the size of a single grain of ground pepper). Diodes of different hues are combined in one light to create a white color. Altering the mixture of colors can give an LED light a different tint. If you're looking for a warmer light or a cooler light, just look on the outside of the LED light bulb box (the color tone is clearly indicated).

Ease and Flexibility of Direction with LEDs Means Less Need for Shades and Reflectors

Secondly, it is easy to control the direction of the light with LED systems. This lowers the need for reflectors or shades, which can cause a fire hazard or become overly hot when used with regular incandescent bulbs. With installations like recessed lighting and the recent trend of exposed lightbulbs, LEDs are an ideal option. (When incandescent bulbs are used in such lighting systems, a portion of the light is lost because it must be reflected in a certain direction, thereby increasing the amount of energy used to light the space).

LED Lights Turn on Immediately

CFLs seldom turn on instantly, taking a second or longer to reach their full lightened state. That can be frustrating for some users. LEDs illuminate immediately, so there is no delay from when you turn them on to when the lights are fully illuminated. 

Higher Energy-Efficiency Also Makes LED Lights Cooler

LEDs are also noticeably cooler than incandescent lights and CFLs. This coolness makes them safer to handle and is also a sign of energy efficiency. (To put it into perspective, incandescent bulbs release 90 percent of their energy as heat, and CFLs release 80 percent).

Disposing of LED Bulbs is Much Easier Than Other Bulbs

CFLs contain one major drawback: mercury. If a fluorescent bulb breaks, it can be difficult to clean up because of the hazardous gases. Accordingly, you need to take extra steps to dispose of both CFLs and incandescent bulbs properly. This is not a problem with LEDs, and they can easily be disposed of in your day-to-day life.

How Does the Cost of LED Lights Compare to Incandescent Lights?

Does this energy efficient nature of LED lights lead to savings on power bills? Lighting specialist LED Waves offers a savings calculator that can show potential LED adopters how much they could save by making the switch over to LED lights. The catch for many people is that the initial cost of installing an LED fixture is high. Confronted with the option of buying a $1 incandescent bulb or buying a new $50 fixture, most people would opt for replacing the bulb. But it's very important to note that the savings become looking at the combination of the upfront cost of the bulb, and the cost of the energy the use over time, and the lifetime of the bulb itself.

On average, the power used by one standard incandescent bulb is about $40 per year. For a comparable LED light bulb, the annual power cost is approximately only $4. That's 10% of the cost. In two years, one LED bulb would absolutely pay for itself (and then some!) Additionally, the lifespan of an LED bulb is roughly 50,000 hours, while incandescent light bulbs only live for about 1,200 hours. That means one LED bulb can replace 41 incandescent bulbs. Now think about those savings scaled across every lightbulb in your home... and outside in your yard too. 

One extra benefit that you can't put a price tag on: drastically fewer bulb replacements are needed with LED lights. Don't you hate getting up on a chair or ladder to replace a bulb every time it's burnt out? Well with LED lights, this will become a much less frequent task no your "To Do" list. And especially for outdoor lighting, the longer life of LEDs means that you will rarely, if ever, have to climb a scary and tall ladder outside, or make your way around landscaping features to change a bulb.

Why LED Lights are Ideal for Outdoor Landscape Lighting

LEDs are a great lighting choice in general, but they have numerous advantages for outdoor use. LED lights are obviously low-maintenance, durable, safe, and flexible to achieve the overall look and vibe y ou're trying to achieve. But did you know that LEDs don't attract insects like other bulbs do? That is a major gamechanger!

  • Low-Maintenance: Due to the incredibly long lifetime of LED lights, you will have to spend far less time climbing on ladders and maneuvering around shrubbery to replace burnt out bulbs.
  • Durable and Safe: Since LEDs are less breakable than other types of bulbs, they are safer for an outdoor setting where children or pets may be present.
  • Can Achieve Your Desired Look: LEDs are flexible in terms of design. The lights can be directional, meaning they can focus on a specific object instead of lighting up an entire area. This is often useful in landscaping because it can create dramatic effects, highlight special accent areas, and more.
  • Do Not Attract Insects: How is this so? Everyone knows that insects are drawn to lights, but more specifically, insects are attracted to UV lights. This is why they tend to congregate around porch lamps. Most LED lights do not emit UV rays, and therefore do not have the same allure to insects as incandescent lights. Huge win for summertime parties on the patio!


How to Pay for Your Outdoor LED Lights

The initial cost of replacing your lights with LEDs might seem a bit expensive at first (even though you will save several times over the course of the lifetime of the bulbs), but you don't have to pay for them on your own. Energy-saving outdoor LED fixtures often qualify for property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing. PACE programs are designed to help homeowners afford the upfront costs associated with energy efficiency improvements.

Basically, the PACE program provides the financing for the installation of the outdoor LED fixtures, and then the homeowner can then use future savings on their power bill to help pay for the project over time. (Or throw another backyard party). If you're interested in seeing if your property qualifies for PACE financing through Ygrene, click below to find out in less than 5 minutes.

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