Evidence of a Decline in Electricity Use by US Households

Megalith

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US households are apparently using less electricity, and we can probably thank the widespread adoption of LED lighting for that. As you know, LED bulbs can produce similar lumens to incandescent lighting at much lower wattage, and installations are coming close to crossing the half-billion mark. Supposedly, that number was less than half a million seven or eight years ago. LED TVs replacing LCD, plasma, and CRT displays could also be a factor. I still seem to have trouble finding LED bulbs that are well under 3000K, though.

...what is different? Energy-efficient lighting. Over 450 million LEDs have been installed to date in the United States, up from less than half a million in 2009, and nearly 70% of Americans have purchased at least one LED bulb. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are even more common, with 70%+ of households owning some CFLs. All told, energy-efficient lighting now accounts for 80% of all U.S. lighting sales. It is no surprise that LEDs have become so popular. LED prices have fallen 94% since 2008, and a 60-watt equivalent LED lightbulb can now be purchased for about $2. LEDs use 85% less electricity than incandescent bulbs, are much more durable, and work in a wide-range of indoor and outdoor settings.
 

jiminator

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yeah, lighting has always been a huge part of the power bill, and it applies regardless of season.
 

Spidey329

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it adds up quickly! 60 watts down to 15 watts is a huge savings.

First thing I did when I bought my house was swap for all CFL bulbs.

I also reduced the amount of bulbs. Some bathroom fixtures have room for 10 40w bulbs, yet 2-3 well spaced 60w-equivalent CFL's do the same thing. Sure, it might not be as bright, but do you need 400w of lighting (and heating) in the bathroom?

I now trash any older style light bulb as guests tend to see empty sockets and think "hmm, here's a bulb, I think I'll add this to that socket!" It's happened a few times.
 

Phelptwan

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I know I noticed a difference replacing all the 100w can's with 14w bulbs. I've got 9 of them wired on one switch for my main level (I wouldn't have done it that way, but it's how I bought the house).

Less heat output as well.
 

Cerulean

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It's not the wattage that determines how much light is put out, it's the lumen output. Less wattage + high lumen output = the win for $ and maor light.
 

Spidey329

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It's not the wattage that determines how much light is put out, it's the lumen output. Less wattage + high lumen output = the win for $ and maor light.

True, but marketing realized that people think that "wattage = light output", something they picked up from the old bulbs, hence why the new tech uses the "60w equivalent" (etc) branding.
 

Burticus

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I still want to know what to do with my giant box filled with incandescent bulbs that are still good (and half of them are brand new, 10 years + old). I've been using them outdoors because if they blow or break, who cares. But now that LEDs are finally fairly cheap I'd like to just be done with all of them.

One thing that still sucks though is LED floodlights are still expensive. I have tons of exterior flood lights that I have to keep buying and feeding glass floods. $5-6 for 2 at HD, or $20 for ONE outdoor rated LED one. UGH.
 

Cerulean

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True, but marketing realized that people think that "wattage = light output", something they picked up from the old bulbs, hence why the new tech uses the "60w equivalent" (etc) branding.
Walking through home depot comparing the marketing of 'wattage' - I find that to be 100% untrue and misleading. I proved it to my dad one day when we were looking at bulbs by showing him the boxes of other "X watt" bulbs and comparing it to the lumen output labeling on the same boxes.

The whole 'wattage' labeling/marketing is misleading, untrue, and obsolete. At least on some LED/CFL boxes they include the word "equivalent" with the word "watt" -- but usually they're still wrong because the lumen outputs differ vastly. They need to do away with the whole watt thing; it's a scam.
 

SvenBent

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i switched out all bulb to Led buld when i moved into my house a couple of years ago.
 

Simplyfun

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It's just simple cost too, I think people are finding other ways... we pay bills for a bunch of buildings and houses but the wife still hangs the laundry on nice days.

I mean the cost of running the dryer means nothing to us, but still, if you don't have to.....
 

Dead Parrot

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I still want to know what to do with my giant box filled with incandescent bulbs that are still good (and half of them are brand new, 10 years + old). I've been using them outdoors because if they blow or break, who cares. But now that LEDs are finally fairly cheap I'd like to just be done with all of them. ....

Hang on to them. They still have valid uses. I use one in the attic and storage building where the temps range from 0F in winter to 140+ in summer with the humidity ranges to match. The simple incandescent bulb doesn't care and just works and will last near forever. Neither get used more then a few hours each year. They are also handy if you need to gently warm a frozen pipe.

It's just simple cost too, I think people are finding other ways... we pay bills for a bunch of buildings and houses but the wife still hangs the laundry on nice days.

I mean the cost of running the dryer means nothing to us, but still, if you don't have to.....

I found that the lifespan of bluejeans goes way up when they don't spend an hour banging around in a hot dryer each wash cycle.

When I first moved into my house, it had 4 window units of mixed ages. The newest had a EER of something like 6. When I replaced with a central unit, my bills went down even though I was cooling the entire house colder then the couple of rooms using the window units.
 

sirmonkey1985

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Walking through home depot comparing the marketing of 'wattage' - I find that to be 100% untrue and misleading. I proved it to my dad one day when we were looking at bulbs by showing him the boxes of other "X watt" bulbs and comparing it to the lumen output labeling on the same boxes.

The whole 'wattage' labeling/marketing is misleading, untrue, and obsolete. At least on some LED/CFL boxes they include the word "equivalent" with the word "watt" -- but usually they're still wrong because the lumen outputs differ vastly. They need to do away with the whole watt thing; it's a scam.

yeah it's a scam but i'd say 70% of people and that's being conservative have no clue what lumen stands for on the box and if they don't know what a CFL 60w lumen is then how the heck do they know what the proper one to buy is. so i'm fine with it being there as long as both numbers are readable on the front of the box.
 

Cerulean

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yeah it's a scam but i'd say 70% of people and that's being conservative have no clue what lumen stands for on the box and if they don't know what a CFL 60w lumen is then how the heck do they know what the proper one to buy is. so i'm fine with it being there as long as both numbers are readable on the front of the box.
Sad, but agreed. :(
 

Zarathustra[H]

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About years ago when we moved into our current house, I replaced all the bulbs with energy saving bulbs.

It's a mix of LED bulbs (when I could find them on sale, it's funny to think how much more expensive they were only 3 years ago) and CFL's.

I don't use any less power though. This was more or less to try to offset the power used by my dual hexacore Xeon server with 48TB storage in the basement.

Oh well.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Hang on to them. They still have valid uses. I use one in the attic and storage building where the temps range from 0F in winter to 140+ in summer with the humidity ranges to match. The simple incandescent bulb doesn't care and just works and will last near forever. Neither get used more then a few hours each year. They are also handy if you need to gently warm a frozen pipe.

Not to mention Easy Bake ovens! :p
 

JamesfromDFW

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Walking through home depot comparing the marketing of 'wattage' - I find that to be 100% untrue and misleading. I proved it to my dad one day when we were looking at bulbs by showing him the boxes of other "X watt" bulbs and comparing it to the lumen output labeling on the same boxes.

The whole 'wattage' labeling/marketing is misleading, untrue, and obsolete. At least on some LED/CFL boxes they include the word "equivalent" with the word "watt" -- but usually they're still wrong because the lumen outputs differ vastly. They need to do away with the whole watt thing; it's a scam.

As someone who works at home depot i kinda agree/disagree with you. I work in electrical, and I will always show my customer the difference between each bulb (i despise CFL), however there are plenty of customers i deal with on a daily basis who think LED are a government conspiracy product. Most of the older population are happy they put the "equivalent" wattage on the package. Not many people (except for a few) know 4.5w,9.5w,11.5w, and 14.5w are the replacements for 40w,60w,75w and 100w bulbs.
 

JamesfromDFW

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I still want to know what to do with my giant box filled with incandescent bulbs that are still good (and half of them are brand new, 10 years + old). I've been using them outdoors because if they blow or break, who cares. But now that LEDs are finally fairly cheap I'd like to just be done with all of them.

One thing that still sucks though is LED floodlights are still expensive. I have tons of exterior flood lights that I have to keep buying and feeding glass floods. $5-6 for 2 at HD, or $20 for ONE outdoor rated LED one. UGH.
you can get 2 par38 non dimmable 10,000hrs bulbs for $11.97 LED bulbs at home depot. some location have the philips 4 packs on clearance for $20
 

NAXDON

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Zepher

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this is what my machines use at idle according to the UPS software.
HAL-power-usage.jpg
 

jevans64

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I'm still using 13 60w halogen bulbs in the home theater since LEDs don't dim worth shit. Everything else is either CFL or LED. I've got about 60 unused LED bulbs sitting on a shelf from when I was trying to find good dimmable bulbs. Got tired of searching and went back to halogen.
 

Simplyfun

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I'm still using 13 60w halogen bulbs in the home theater since LEDs don't dim worth shit. Everything else is either CFL or LED. I've got about 60 unused LED bulbs sitting on a shelf from when I was trying to find good dimmable bulbs. Got tired of searching and went back to halogen.

They do dim OK, you just have to carefully match bulbs and dimmer.
 

Arcygenical

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I still want to know what to do with my giant box filled with incandescent bulbs that are still good (and half of them are brand new, 10 years + old). I've been using them outdoors because if they blow or break, who cares. But now that LEDs are finally fairly cheap I'd like to just be done with all of them.

One thing that still sucks though is LED floodlights are still expensive. I have tons of exterior flood lights that I have to keep buying and feeding glass floods. $5-6 for 2 at HD, or $20 for ONE outdoor rated LED one. UGH.


I use the e27 screw bases and leads to wire up G9 socket COB LEDs. 2 7w bulbs in parallel fit in the same space as a 20w or so CFL and produce around 900 omnidirectional lumens.

Ive even started using 3500k and 6000k bulbs in parallel for better CRI for the girlfriend's makeup mirror.

And why would anyone want <3000k lumens, OP?
 

Mohonri

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And why would anyone want <3000k lumens, OP?
Because 2700K is closer to the color given off by incandescent bulbs, and that's what people are used to. Also, 2700K "feels" more comfortable/warm/homely, rather than the cold/sterile/commercial/whatever that you get with daylight/cool white/bright white.
 

Chance_P

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I use the e27 screw bases and leads to wire up G9 socket COB LEDs. 2 7w bulbs in parallel fit in the same space as a 20w or so CFL and produce around 900 omnidirectional lumens.

Ive even started using 3500k and 6000k bulbs in parallel for better CRI for the girlfriend's makeup mirror.

And why would anyone want <3000k lumens, OP?

Kelvin is not lumens, unless you mean 3,000,000 lumens.
 

Arcygenical

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Kelvin is not lumens, unless you mean 3,000,000 lumens.


I am very well aware about the difference betwren colour temp and lumenosity. I am currently in the industry optimising that!


2800k lumens (at any wattage, cri and output) as per the incandescent standard of around 2.8kk is well replicated by the 3.0-3.2kk LED bulbs at 8-10x the efficiency per watt.

Though re reading what i said i suppose i see where the confusion laid. I meant "why would anyone want ANY lumens below 3000k, IS BEYOND ME." Emphasis mine.
 

Nytegard

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I tried some of those more eco-friendly bulbs, but they don't seem to work on the wiring at my apartment. And it's getting harder to find the older bulbs, so I fear when a bulb blows.
 

Simplyfun

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The spectrum matters as others have eluded to, we like those temperatures that most closely approximate sunlight, as humans tend to.
 

sfsuphysics

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Lighting is really that big of a deal? Or I should say, that many people have had archaic incandescent bulbs for this long? Because LED bulbs are not a huge jump in power savings over CFL bulbs (less cleanup sure, but not big). One problem with lighting is that originally you had a tungsten filament, a current was passed through it, and it created light based on how hot it go, which could be fairly uniform at any one power level, then it's all physics and Stefan-Boltzman distribution of power (unfortunately most of that power is infrared in nature). CFLs came out, and there was a little more variation, but not as much as you'd think being as the phosphorous coating inside of the bulb is pretty much an industry standard with slight varations between "Warm, Cool, Neutral" white versions, the biggest differences were how fast they took to get to max brightness, and how they're really not meant to be installed horizontally, or upside down (i.e. how most people use them in ceiling applications). Then comes LEDs, oh hey most amount of lumens per watt out there!!!! (if you look at the current state of the art in a lab setting), the problem though is that there is an absolutely gi-fucking-normous difference in lighting output per watt input across different manufacturers of LED dies as well as differences within the same manufacturer, so you really have to start doing math in stores now, looking at lumen output, then looking at wattage to see which ones are really giving more bang for your buck.

I did like this graph though
states.png


And surprise surprise, the states with the absolute highest electrical costs have the lowest consumption! So the conclusion that's very easy to see, is to simply jack up the electrical rates and watch usage plummet. (sorry guys not living in Hawaii, California or New York :D)
 

Chance_P

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I am very well aware about the difference betwren colour temp and lumenosity. I am currently in the industry optimising that!


2800k lumens (at any wattage, cri and output) as per the incandescent standard of around 2.8kk is well replicated by the 3.0-3.2kk LED bulbs at 8-10x the efficiency per watt.

Though re reading what i said i suppose i see where the confusion laid. I meant "why would anyone want ANY lumens below 3000k, IS BEYOND ME." Emphasis mine.

Misunderstanding. Im just so used to hearing "my 8k hids are so much brighter than your 4.3k's yo" that i felt the need to jump in and "correct" you.
 

nutzo

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I still want to know what to do with my giant box filled with incandescent bulbs that are still good (and half of them are brand new, 10 years + old). I've been using them outdoors because if they blow or break, who cares.

I've been using them on the kid's snake habitat. They are close enough to the expensive light the pet store sells, and much cheaper since I still have dozens.

Switched most my light to CF years ago, and have been gradually replacing the most used lights with LED's the past couple years.
Biggest change (at least for the summer months) was due to replacing my 40 year old Central Air. Cut the peak summer usage in half.
My electricity usage is down on a month to month basis, but my bill is up due to the price increases :mad:

I did run into a strange problem with some LED bulbs. We have a light that uses 3 candelabra bulbs in a hallway.
25 watt bulbs where too bright, so I used to use 5 or 7 watt incandescent bulbs which where ok, but not really bright enough. I tried 2 watt LED's but they where too bright. I finally found some .5 watt LED filament bulbs that where perfect as they put out more light than the 7 watt incandescent bulbs.

Then I noticed something odd. When the light was turned off, the bulbs still had a slight glow to them.
I initially though I had an electrical problem, but it turned out to be due to the light being on a 2 way switch. The lights are so efficient that they will glow slightly due to the induced current in the pair of wires between the switches. The longer the distance between the switches (one is up stairs and the other down stairs in my case), the more stray voltage is introduced due to the magnetic field created by one of the wires always being live. Normally the small amount of current just flows through the lights to ground but is not enough to notice. In this case the LED's are so efficient, it's enough to slightly light them up.
 
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tazeat

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I'm still using 13 60w halogen bulbs in the home theater since LEDs don't dim worth shit. Everything else is either CFL or LED. I've got about 60 unused LED bulbs sitting on a shelf from when I was trying to find good dimmable bulbs. Got tired of searching and went back to halogen.
Some don't dim worth a shit, most work just fine. They also tend to work FAR better with reverse phase dimmers (the fall of each 1/2 sine wave is clipped to dim the light instead of the rise which eliminates hum and is much smoother)
 

snowcrash

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This is one of the things I'm pretty proud of. Cutting monthly electricity use by more than half at my household. It cost a lot of money but just an accomplishment that is personally gratifying.

This is one reason I love Intel and Nvidia. And I have also mentioned when Kyle was asking about inputs regarding CPU and video card reviews to keep the "Power Consumption" section.
 
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Scottw

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Switched to LED bulbs as early as I could justify it. Started when they were pretty pricey, but it's nice to see the basic ones drop in price a lot (just be careful of disposable ones, I've seen a few recent ones marketed with tiny lifespans compared to the traditional long lasting LEDs). Same with computer gear. Besides trying out water cooling and overclocking for kicks back in the late 1990s early 2000s, I've gone more the route of efficiency and stability. These days, only the occasional full system update when performance has improved a good deal given the power envelope I try to stay under (eg. mostly after there are one or two die shrinks). Went from a decent-ish i3 system to an i7 6700, 32gb ram, 2 SSDs, a GTX 1060, and undervolted fans to lower sound. It's impressive how efficient it is given the level of performance it manages. Now my spinning disks are limited to removable drives I can keep off when I'm not using them. Don't need that constant noise and power use for backup and bulk storage, plus the only media I save is what I generate myself with things like photography, so no point having terabytes of ripped video or whatever on an always-on server. Actually, my internal GIT source code server is running on a raspberry PI with 64GB USB/SD drives at the moment. That one is super efficient and transfer rates are not that bad.
 

kju1

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US households are apparently using less electricity, and we can probably thank the widespread adoption of LED lighting for that. As you know, LED bulbs can produce similar lumens to incandescent lighting at much lower wattage, and installations are coming close to crossing the half-billion mark. Supposedly, that number was less than half a million seven or eight years ago. LED TVs replacing LCD, plasma, and CRT displays could also be a factor. I still seem to have trouble finding LED bulbs that are well under 3000K, though.

...what is different? Energy-efficient lighting. Over 450 million LEDs have been installed to date in the United States, up from less than half a million in 2009, and nearly 70% of Americans have purchased at least one LED bulb. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are even more common, with 70%+ of households owning some CFLs. All told, energy-efficient lighting now accounts for 80% of all U.S. lighting sales. It is no surprise that LEDs have become so popular. LED prices have fallen 94% since 2008, and a 60-watt equivalent LED lightbulb can now be purchased for about $2. LEDs use 85% less electricity than incandescent bulbs, are much more durable, and work in a wide-range of indoor and outdoor settings.

Correlation does not imply causation. I switched to all LED years ago and saw nearly zero change in my electric bill simply because I rarely use the lights. If there is sufficient daylight I have no lights on in the house, if there is nobody in the room the light is off. All of my lights are controlled with sensors and a bypass switch to turn them off entirely. It was that way before LED and its still that way. Efficient use of lighting is what saved me money with traditional bulbs not LEDs.

yeah, lighting has always been a huge part of the power bill, and it applies regardless of season.

I would hardly count an average of 10% as huge and thats from https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=99&t=3. There are TONS of other higher draw items that apply regardless of season. Your stove draws anywhere from 2-5k watts depending on model when its on. Mine draws 4,500 running the oven. Then you have your HVAC which most people run year round and that can draw up to 20k watts when running. Also your hot water heater runs year round and that can draw 5k watts+ depending on size. Mine has two 4,500 watt elements...

In order to determine how much of a part of your bill is I recommend you get some sort of home energy monitoring device that attaches to your panel. For two months I used a TED Spyder (overpriced POS) to graph my usage. I had each circuit mapped and all the devices attached to that circuit were accounted for. High usage circuits had additional instrumentation installed if they were multi usage circuits.

What I discovered was that my small devices, lights, etc. were not a significant factor for me. What was killing me was the original hot water heater that was drawing ~15k watts every 30 minutes (the one I mentioned above is the replacement) as both elements were shorting out. Well that and the AC but the nest took care of optimizing that.

Finally Id like to point out STOP using lights outside at night when you arent outside. Light pollution is a serious thing! There is no reason whatsoever to "light up the night". Its wasteful and has a negative impact on ecosystems (including humans).
 

c3k

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Color of the light (temperature in K) is critical. LEDs (mostly) don't even come close to the warmth and natural feel of incandescent. CFL? Love 'em when they break.

LEDs need more work, IMO. Light dispersion, truth in light output, temperature equivalent, dimming are all weak spots. And the delay in turn on from switch throw. (Although, that is getting better.)
 
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