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Lighting Choices to Save You Money

Light your home using the same amount of light for less money. Upgrading 15 of the inefficient incandescent light bulbs in your home could save you about $50 per year. New lighting standards take effect in 2012, and money-saving options such as halogen incandescent, CFL, and LED light bulbs are available today.

New Light Bulbs: What's the Difference?

Traditional incandescent bulbs use a lot of energy to produce light.

  • 90% of the energy is wasted as heat
  • That lost energy is money we are throwing away

Newer energy-saving light bulbs provide the choices in colors and light levels you've come to expect. The new lights are also much more efficient so they save you money.

What Are My Lighting Choices?

Three of the most common energy-efficient lighting types include halogen incandescents, CFLs, and LEDs. You can find these in most hardware and home improvement stores, and they are all more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Halogen Incandescents about 25% energy savings

Halogen incandescents are simply energy-efficient incandescent bulbs. These bulbs have a capsule inside that holds halogen gas around a filament to increase bulb efficiency and lifespan. This type of incandescent bulb is about 25% more efficient and can last up to three times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. They are available in a wide range of shapes and colors, and can be used with dimmers.

CFLs about 75% energy savings

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are simply curly versions of the long tube fluorescent lights you may already have in a kitchen or garage. Because they use less electricity than traditional incandescents, typical CFLs can pay for themselves in less than nine months, and then start saving you money each month. An ENERGY STAR-qualified CFL uses about one-fourth the energy and lasts ten times longer than a comparable incandescent bulb that puts out the same amount of light.

CFL bulbs are available in a range of light colors, including warm (white to yellow) tones that were not as available when first introduced. Some are encased in a cover to further diffuse the light and provide a similar shape to the bulbs you are replacing. If you are looking for a dimmable bulb, check the package to make sure you purchase a CFL with that feature.

Fluorescent bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, and they should always be recycled at the end of their lifespan. Many retailers recycle CFLs for free. See www.epa.gov/cfl for more information.

 

LEDs about 75% 80% energy savings

The light emitting diode (LED) uses the same technology as the little indicator light on your cell phone, but designed to light your home. It is one of today's most energy-efficient and rapidly developing technologies. ENERGY STAR-qualified LEDs use only 20% 25% of the energy and last up to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs they replace.

LED bulbs are currently available in many products such as replacements for 40W and 60W traditional incandescents, reflector bulbs often used in recessed fixtures, and small track lights. While LEDs are expected to be more expensive at this early stage, their long life and energy savings cost less to operate. Prices are also expected to come down as more products enter the market.

Courtesy of: U.S. Department of Energy

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