Have all the changes in light bulb technology left you in the dark? Never fear, because governments around the world are working hard to provide not only information, but money. Financial assistance in the forms of grants and tax incentives provide homeowners and businesses alike a chance to make a change to greener, more cost-effective lighting - and other technologies.
Did you know that over 30% of the average homeowner's electric bill only covers the cost of lighting? For most traditional homes using incandeescent, or Edison-style light bulbs, much of that high use of wattage actually escapes in the form of heat.
By contrast, newer lighting technologies such as Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL's) and Light Emitting Diodes (LED) burn less heat, and less money.
What is the Purpose of Offering Grants?
Global trends in greening practices and increasing energy efficiency, as well as economic challenges, compel governments to cut back on waste.
Because change sometimes comes too slowly, governments create programs to not only inform societies, but to provide incentives for people to get over that hurdle of technical innovation.
Plans for distribution of CFL and LED bulbs exist in order to create a more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective trend on a large scale.
Just as a powerful river conists of small drops moving in the same direction, society can help itself along through offering these grants and incentives to people complacent with the familiar, inefficient incandescent bub.
What Kind of Grants are Available?
Grants come in sizes large and small, and even pocket-sized. While some cover specific energy-use transitions, others provide for more general energy-conversions around properties both commercial and domestic. These might cover half a build project cost or involve broader additions to properties, such as conversions to wind power, solar voltaics, wood pellet heating systems, and more.
While property owners can apply for multiple grants per technology, a single grant's per household cap might limit their access. For example, a grant program might cover various appliances with a maximum household limit. However, new grant programs continue to be offered at the national, state and county level.
Who is Eligible to Get Light Bulb Grants?
Often given on a first-come, first-served basis, grant programs award everyone from the corporation to the little old lady down the street. However, in the US, federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and Federally Funded R&D Center Contractors operate under a different set of tax codes.
Grant offers vary between regions; not only are governments offering them, but also private corporations, such as major light bulb manufacturers. Therefore eligibility depends upon the conditions of each particular grant. From the elderly to the poor, to the construction company and major office building, such financial and equipment incentives hold promise.
What Are the Differences in Light Bulb Technology?
Incandescents are the traditional bulbs which burn hot using a fragile tungsten filament.
These are the cheapest, most common and least energy-efficient way to light a property. Over time they are also the costliest.
CFL's utilize fluorescent lighting techniques to burn cooler and use less energy doing so. Since they are priced slightly above incandescents, you can find them occupying more and more lighting spaces around the home, city and country.
LED's represent the wave of the future. Solid state electronic diodes, these durable, highly-efficient lights can be created in a rainbow of dazzling colors. While higher in cost, their longterm life spans and high efficiency make them a clear longterm better choice.
Applying for a Light Bulb Grant Difficult?
Of course applying for any grant involves establishing eligibility according to various criteria, and can sometimes be a confusing process.
The process can consist of multiple steps or stages, as well as assessment of unique individual circumstances.
When you combine these sometimes involved procedures with the wide array of available grant offers from so many different agencies, it might daunt someone from even trying to obtain one.
However don't let that stop you. Not only do government offices work hard to simplify the process as much as possible for the general populace, but other private grant-assisting agencies provide services to help make the process as painless as possible.
What Other Energy-Saving Grants Are Available?
Some grants contain a package of energy saving techniques into a single grant. Some might include:
Conversion to solid-state lighting
Hot water tanks
Energy-saving plant and machinery
Timing Control for space and water heating
Carbon Dioxide emissions reduction
Providing Energy Advice
Free light bulb offers
Ground/Air source heat pumps
Free Light Bulbs
Whether it improves energy consumption on a small or large scale, a grant probably exists to cover it.
How Do I Know If I'm Eligible to Receive a Government Grant for Energy Savings?
'Fuel Poverty' indicates a good candidate for household grant awardees. Grant eligibility sometimes goes to people who:
Are on income support
Receive housing benefits
Receive other government allowances such as
Are on war pensions
Receive child tax credits
Are on welfare
Are on other pension or state support credits
From the local level to national, and from households to factories, build projects to alternative fuels, a grant exists to cover your transition to energy-saving technology. Research municipal, county, state or national government websites for more specific information for your needs; rest assured it probably exists, waiting for your application.
Are There Any Small Scale Offers Available?
The answer is simply, certainly. Some governments work with energy product companies to create incentive programs and promotional offers that benefit the average consumer. Such offers might promote a conversion to compact fluorescent lighting, for instance.
These types of bulbs can benefit the elderly, who may not have changed out their old bulbs for years (indeed, some incandescents can burn for centuries). Daunted by the initial cost of replacement, they may balk at the task of making the change. However when the lighting bill arrives, they soon sing a different tune.
What Kind of Savings Can New Lighting Provide?
To compare light bulb savings, you would have to consider various costs: initial purchase costs, energy usage amounts and costs, bulb lifetime hours, as well as the number of replacement bulbs you would have to buy over a period of time.
Generally speaking, incandescents are the cheapest to buy and most expensive to run, and need replacing the most often. CFL's cost slightly higher, rarely need to be replaced, and can cost a third of the incandescent over its life. LED's are more expensive (though inevitably will come down in price); they require almost no replacing, but and will cost about half the price of the incandescent for the first decades; after that, they beat out all others hands down. In terms of energy use, LED's reign supreme.
Why Are Governments Around the World Phasing Out Incandescent Bulbs?
In order to cut social energy costs and overdependence on existing energies, governments in the EU, North America, Australia and Asia promote a widespread shift away from incandescents - sometimes to the chagrin of their populaces.
Their purposes can be attributed to increased environmental awareness, as well as developed economic realities. New light bulb grants and the like exist in order to ease populations into better energy usage habits.
Of course, manufacturers benefit as well. Economies can be stimulated with a transition to a new technology; however if this is the purpose, it can't last for long. New bulb technologies require so little replacing that any economic gain from using them will be washed out in the decades it takes for a CFL or LED to 'burn out'.
Whether you're facing another cold winter, building a new home, upgrading an older home, developing a new building project, or living alone with a hot plate and a single bulb, a government grant probably waits for you to take advantage. Converting your home from incandescent light bulbs to CFL or LED might seem expensive at first blush; but with a little incentive to try it, you'll soon find the process easy, familiar and painless.
You'll likely wonder why you hadn't tried it before now. So take advantage of the financial assistance and make a change in your bank account and in the environment.
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