By Christopher Seepe

All real estate salespeople have (or should have) clients who own property, or they may own property themselves. The following is an excellent value-add to give to clients and prospects.

Whether lighting a single family home or the common areas of an investment property, the difference in electricity cost between LED, fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs is astounding.

It costs possibly six times as much to operate an incandescent bulb as it does the equivalent illumination (lumens) of an LED bulb. In this writer’s geographic area, a 60W incandescent lamp costs 15 cents to operate 24 hours while the equivalent LED bulb costs 2.5 cents.



You can download a detailed analysis of 30 lights left on 24 hours a day for 20 years. While that is likely not the case for a home, the cost ratio between the two lighting technologies should remain similar.

seepe chart
The spreadsheet with all calculations can be downloaded here. Plug in your own numbers (light colours are inputted; dark are calculated).

The spreadsheet with all calculations can be downloaded here. Plug in your own numbers (light colours are inputted; dark are calculated).

The table doesn’t factor in procurement and maintenance costs. Based on average lifespans, an incandescent bulb is replaced 29 times for every one LED bulb. Many municipalities, for example, have been replacing traffic signal lamps with LEDs.

Incandescent bulbs convert a lot of electrical energy into heat (infrared radiation) whereas LEDs don’t produce such heat. This makes LEDs useful for specialty applications like illuminating food, textiles and combustibles. However, LEDs do produce heat at the semiconductor level so internal heat sinks must properly manage this. LEDs are also much more environmentally friendly, containing no mercury and usually no lead.

LED bulbs cost arguably three to six times more than an incandescent bulb but this acquisition cost is small compared to their lower energy consumption, maintenance costs and other factors. Electricity rates have a direct and material bearing on business case viability. With electricity prices forecasted to rise significantly every year (forever?) regardless of where you live, the business case for LED light bulbs just keeps getting brighter.