A lot of people talk about switching out their light bulbs for LED bulbs, but there is another option out there.
SWITCHING THE ENTIRE LIGHT FIXTURE FOR AN LED FIXTURE!
Due to the longevity of LED lights, manufacturers are making light fixtures that contain fixed LED lights inside of them. They don’t open and don’t have an option to replace a bulb.
Now, I know what your thinking: “Doesn’t the act of replacing the entire fixture create more waste than replacing just a bulb?” Of course it does, but in the construction industry, like I work in, fixtures are getting replaced all the time. Fixtures that are manufactured with permanent LEDs are sleeker and use less material than fixtures that have to make room for a bulb. You also won’t be replacing your fixture all the time as bulbs burn out either. These fixtures come with a lifespan of about 20 years. So you install it and forget about it.
I recently installed three of these fixtures in a house I was remodeling. The house was being used as a rental unit, but the owner decided to take advantage of the current high market value of properties in the Seattle area and prepared to sell it. My company came in and got the house fixed up, which included new light fixtures throughout.
Now, when it comes to working in construction while also trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible, I try to waste the least amount of material as I can. The existing fixtures were all in pretty bad shape in this house, though. Some were broken, some were obviously from the seventies just based on style alone, and some you could tell were old due to discoloration. They had lived their lives and needed to go.
The kitchen got three of the previously mentioned lights. The bedrooms and hallway got some standard-looking flush mounted lights. Not every light in the house could be replaced with an LED fixture, so the remaining lights got LED bulbs and the few fixtures that did stay got their incandescents replaced with LED bulbs.
Another nice thing about having fixtures with permanent LED lights is the way the throw light. I have a number of fixtures in my house (with LED bulbs) that have a single bulb in a flush mounted fixture. So, when you look up at the fixture, you see a bright spot on one side and the rest is dark. The LED fixtures are manufactured with lights all the way around, evenly spaced, so the entire lens lights up. They work better, they save money and they just look better and I don’t think people should have to sacrifice the superficial in order to live a greener life.
When this house sells, the new owners will be able to come in and never have to touch a light bulb for 20 years. I feel good about leaving a property a little bitter greener than when I arrived. In the long run these upgrades will save the new homeowners money and will save our planet some energy.
So, as I don’t recommend you go out and replace all of your current, properly-functioning light fixtures with LED light fixtures. It is definitely something to keep in mind if you are remodeling your home or if you just have a single fixture that is broken and needs to be replaced.
Another great option, if you have recessed lights or “can lights” in your home, when the bulb burns out you can get a new trim for the recessed can that has an LED light built right in. You just screw it in where there bulb would go and clip the trim up into the can.
Stay tuned as I my next post will be A Greener Way To Remodel and will include resources for recycling and reusing as much as possible while remodeling a home.