How much can you save by switching lightbulbs?

The Technocrat recently did the math and decided to replace all of his incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. The up-front cost was huge, but he calculated the new bulbs would pay for themselves in just six months.

You can get a six-pack [of compact fluorescents] that costs less than $30, with each bulb putting out as much light as a 60 watt bulb, while only using 13 watts each. In addition, these bulbs are rated for anywhere between 8000 to 10,000+ hours.

When we moved into this house, we contacted a local nonprofit group called The Energy Trust, which works with consumers and utilities to lower energy consumption. We scheduled a free home energy audit. The audit yielded several small one-time tax credits and cash incentives (which are used to reduce the bills from contractors) and about a dozen free compact fluorescent bulbs. In total, we saved about $250. Not bad for an hour spent with the energy auditor!

There are probably similar nonprofit organizations in most major metropolitan areas. A large contractor (such as a heating contractor or an insulation contractor) could probably steer you in the right direction.