Laytonsville home shines light on energy savings

May 7, 2015
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Changing out lights may not be the flashiest choice for the green-minded homeowner, but the energy savings—not to mention the rebate opportunities—can be very glamorous indeed. And reimbursement from Pepco could not be any easier.

Searching for Options

Sean Boyle was striking out everywhere.

When he wanted to make his Laytonsville home more energy-efficient, solar panels were the first thing that came to mind. But a discussion with a local contractor revealed that his house was not a good candidate. New insulation was another idea. But it turned out his existing insulation was already sufficient.

The next idea, new windows, which can be expensive, did not provide enough return on investment (ROI). And all the household appliances were already ENERGY STAR rated.

After considering nearly every other option, a light bulb came on.


Lighting to the Rescue

Lighting, though it perhaps doesn’t always carry the same sense of grandeur or potential overall savings as other energy-efficiency projects, can deliver a real bang for the buck. That’s especially true with utility companies like Pepco now offering generous rebates to those who switch from incandescent to higher-efficiency alternatives.


Photo of an LED lightbulb.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user John Loo


“I started doing research on the usage data generated by my home’s smart meter,” said Sean, who is a Pepco electricity customer. “I was in Costco with my wife and we passed a row of LED bulbs. I was curious about the selection on display and I noticed they had a good selection of bulbs, including dimmable options. Lighting retrofits are a good, easy, inexpensive way to get started with reducing energy consumption and saving money.”

All told, Sean and his family changed out 65 bulbs in their home. Thirty-eight of these were recessed lights, which were changed from 75-watt incandescent bulbs to 15-watt LED versions, and 27 were ordinary 40-, 60- and 100-watt bulbs swapped out for the LED equivalents.


Taking Advantage of Incentives

Thanks to the Pepco Lighting Program, Sean paid approximately $350 to replace roughly 90 percent of his home’s lighting needs. In exchange for that investment, he estimates his energy use is down 16.5 percent in the nine months since he made the switch, which translates to a savings of about $30 on each monthly bill. Though other factors like the actual price of electricity may play a role in the bill reduction, the lighting retrofit is undoubtedly the largest contributor of the monthly savings.


A photo of Sean Boyle's wife and son in their newly lit kitchen

Newly installed lights look great in the Boyles’ kitchen.


“I made a list of all the bulbs in my house and then I went to the store,” Sean said. “There are good products out there, and the stores have signs. You just have to be on the lookout…Pepco and its website are a really good resource for things like this.”

Pepco offers energy usage data and tailored information to every residential account holder, thanks in large part to “smart meters” that have recently been installed.


Photo of Sean Boyle's children playing ping pong in their basement

Recessed lights in the basement were replaced with LEDs.


“It’s easy, it’s efficient and it saves a lot of money,” Sean said. “Pepco is a really good resource. Set up your account and get educated. It’s easy and it’s a good starting point for anybody.

”Taking advantage of the Pepco lighting rebates could not be simpler. Customers simply shop at a participating retailer and the rebate is taken at the register. Shoppers can save $3 per CFL bulb, $7 per LED bulb and $10 per CFL or LED fixture purchased.


Photo of Sean Boyle on his treadmill

Enjoying great lighting in the home workout room.


Participating retailers include:

  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Costco
  • Family Dollar
  • Lowe’s
  • Sam’s Club
  • Strosniders Hardware Stores
  • The Home Depot
  • Walmart


For a full list of other programs that assist customers in using less energy and saving money, visit Pepco’s Residential Programs website.

By Scott Harris, Freelance Writer. Read Scott’s other posts on the benefits of environmental peer pressurebirds and climate change, eco-friendly ice rinks, residential solar, and energy savings at Hollywood East Cafe.

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