The above charts show that LED lighting is actually less expensive than incandescent or CFL. This may seem unlikely as LED bulbs are more expensive. There are two factors that lead to the savings of LEDs. First, they last longer and need to be replaced less often. This saves on maintenance and replacement costs. Second LED lights use less energy. This, of course saves on energy costs. Combined using LED lights can lead to significant savings, but the payback does take some time.
The above means that LED lights are actually saving money while using less energy. Usually in green technologies there are some trade offs. For example someone might pay more to save energy, but with LEDs it is win win.
There are other reasons to purchase LED lights other than energy and replacement cost analysis. LED lights do not use toxic mercury found in flourescents. All CFL lights contain mercury. LED lights can be efficiently focused at various angles to suit different lighting requirements. LED lights do not flicker and they generate less heat. All these advantages are quite significant.
LED lights are a fairly new technology, but as it advances they will surely become the dominant lighting of the future.
Some easy ways to remember the numbers:
Incandescent 20 lumens/Watt 1,000 Hours
Fluorescent 50 lumens/Watt 10,000 Hours
LED 100 lumens/Watt 50,000 Hours
First note that incandescent lights use five times as much energy as LEDs and have to be replaced 50 times as often. Compact fluorescents use twice the energy and have to be replaced five times as often as LEDs. This data is variable as there are ranges for all these types of lights. It is easy to remember 2 and 5: CFLs use twice the energy and incandescents use five times the energy as LED lights do.