Lighting poultry houses can cost hundreds of dollars per house per month

Total lighting system operation costs in any situation consists of three parts:

  1. Energy use: A 100 watt light bulb operating 24/7 will consume 16.8 kWh of electrical energy per week. Using an energy rate of $0.10/kWh to make the math simple, this equates to $1.68 per week, or $6.72 per month for a single 100 watt incandescent bulb that is operating 24/7.
    You can use the following worksheet to estimate your poultry house lighting energy
    Lighting ​Energy Cost​ ​ ​ ​
    ​a b c d = a x b x c
    hs / flock bulbs​ / circuit watts / bulb kWh
    High intensity lighting only: ​ circuit 1 168 50​ 60​ ​504
    High + Low intensity lighting: circuit 2 ​168 ​75 ​25 ​314
    Low intensity lighting only: circuit 3 ​644 150​ 25​ ​2,415
    ​A4 ​kWh / house / flock ​3,234
    ​A5 ​$ house / flock ​232.40
    ​$ / flock
  2. Bulb costs: Typical lifetime ratings of 'standard' incandescent light bulbs is about 900 - 1,500 hours. A broiler house lighting study by the University of Georgia reported failure rates for incandescent bulbs as high as 95 percent during a single flock.
    Estimate the number of bulbs that must be replaced per flock using this worksheet:
    Bulb Replacement Cost
    a b​ c ​ ​d = a / c
    e = b x d

    hrs / flock bulbs / circuit bulb life​ (hrs) ​failure rate ​replacement ​bulbs
    High intensity lighting only: ​ circuit 1 ​168 50​ 950​ .15 ​8
    High + Low intensity lighting: circuit 2 ​812 75​ ​900 ​.90 68​
    ​Low intensity lighting only: circuit 3 644 ​75 ​900 ​.72 ​54

    B1 + B2+ B3 = ​bulbs / house / flock:
    ​B5 bulb cost ($ per bulb​): $0.75​
    ​B6 B4 x B5  = ​ ​bulb cost / house / flock: $97.50​
    ​B7 B6 x number of houses  =  ​bulb cost / flock: $390.00
  3. Labor costs: In addition to the cost of replacement bulbs, there is a significant labor cost to replace hundreds of light bulbs each flock. Let's assume it takes 4 minutes to climb an 8-foot step ladder, clean the light fixture, replace the bulb, climb down and move the ladder to the next light fixture. If your labor + insurance + payroll taxes are $15 per hour for that labor, then labor cost for bulb replacement is $1.00 per bulb. In our above example, this adds an additional $130 per flock to the lighting costs for bulb replacement.
    Labor Cost of Bulb Replacement ​
    ​C1 Bulb replacement time (min / bulb) 4​
    ​C2 Bulbs / hour changed (60 / minutes per bulb) 15​
    ​C3 ​Labor cost (total $ / hr)  $ ​15.00
    ​C4 Labor cost per bulb  ($ per hour / bulbs changed per hour)  $  1.00​
    ​C5 Bulbs replace / house / flock: ​130
    ​C6 Bulb replacement labor cost / house / flock:
    ​ $ 130.00
    ​C7 ​Bulb replacement labor cost / flock: ​ $ 520.00

Total lighting cost
combines these three elements:

​Total Lighting Cost
Energy cost ​1,297
​Bulb cost
​Labor cost
Total lighting cost per flock:
$ 2,207​

Reduce lighting costs:

You may be able to significantly reduce lighting costs by upgrading to energy efficient LED lighting to:

  • reduce lighting energy use by as much as 80 percent compared to incandescent lighting, 
  • reduce bulb replacement costs due to LED life ratings as great as 50,000 hours or more, compared to approximately 1,000 hours life of incandescent bulbs, and
  • reduce labor costs for bulb replacement.
Review the energy efficient lighting links to learn more about your options, and then use the Poultry House Lighting Worksheet to estimate your current lighting costs and the benefits of upgrading to modern, energy-efficient lighting systems. The cost of replacing incandescent lighting with CFL or LED will depend on whether your current circuits and fixtures are compatible with the new components. Visit the Lighting Upgrades page to explore some energy efficient lighting options.