Unexpectedly Intriguing!
March 6, 2006

Yes, we here at Political Calculations(TM) are willing to launch a post with a bad pun that might have found a better home on Roger L. Simon's blog, but that's the price we're willing to pay to introduce a new tool that you can use to save more money!

Today's new tool was inspired by a post at the Blueprint for Financial Prosperity that considered the potential advantages of switching to Compact Fluorescent (CF) lamps in place of traditional Incandescent bulbs.

The data you need to enter in the tool below is pretty straightforward, so we'll let you get right to it with just a couple of notes:

  1. We've entered the figure 8760 hours in the Time Period of Operation, which represents the number of hours in a 365 day year. You should enter the hours of use that you would expect to get out of the light fixture that will use the bulbs you're considering.
  2. We've provided a table with various bulb and lamp data that we obtained from a variety of sources, which you'll find below the tool. Data for the Incandescent bulb and the most expensive listed CF lamp have been entered as default data in the tool.

And that's it! It's now time to see if CF lamps make sense for you!

Cost of Electricity and Lamp Use Data
Input Data Values
Electric Rate ($ per kiloWatt-hour)
Time Period of Operation (Hours)
Individual Lamp and Cost Data
Input Data Lamp 1 Lamp 2
Lamp Power Consumption Rate (Watts)
Average Expected Life of Lamp (Hours)
Average Purchase Price of One Lamp ($)

Cost of Ownership and Use
Calculated Results Lamp 1 Lamp 2
Cost of Bulbs Over Time Period of Operation ($)
Cost of Electricity over Time Period of Operation ($)
Total Cost of Ownership and Use ($)
Preferred Choice and Economic Savings
Calculated Result Value
Which Is Less Expensive?
How Big Are the Savings? ($)

More About Incandescents and Compact Fluorescents

The math for comparing different bulbs and lamps, as well as the basics about Compact Fluorescent lamps and Incandescent Light Bulbs, is all available at Wikipedia.

The following table containing cost and product data was extracted from a variety of sources on March 6, 2006 and may not reflect current information.

Indoor Lamps
Lamp Type (Model) Wattage (W) Light Output (lumens) Average Life (hours) Price ($)
Incandescent (Standard) 60 800 1000 0.60
CF (2670K) 13 900 10000 2.50
Incandescent (Halogen) 60 1080 3000 3.00
CF (2600K) 23 1600 8000 4.00
CF (2700K/82CRI) 26 1580 10000 5.00
Indoor/Outdoor Flood Lamps
Lamp Type (Model) Wattage (W) Light Output (lumens) Average Life (hours) Price ($)
Incand. (Halogen) PAR 38 Flood 100 1400 2000 5.00
CF PAR 38 Flood 23 1300 6000 5.00

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Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

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