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traditional incandescent light bulbChanging your home's light bulbs may be one of the simplest and cheapest ways to cut your electricity use substantially. Traditional incandescent light bulbs - which give off 90 percent of their energy as heat and only 10 percent as light - are on their way out. They are not expected to meet efficiency standards for lighting that start in 2012.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)Energy efficient lighting technology has come a long way in recent years, offering more choices in color, shape, size, and fixtures.  Lighting accounts for 5-10% of the total energy use in an average home. In small businesses, improving the efficiency of lighting is often one of the most cost-effective improvements to make.

Among the benefits of more efficient lighting are:

Energy Savings

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) save 75% on lighting costs, including both electricity costs and their longer lifespan of up to 20 times that of incandescent bulbs. A single CFL can save $40 or more over its lifetime. LED lights use even less energy but are still quite costly for residential use. But over time, they last so much longer that the cost pencils out, and their cost is expected to continue dropping.

EagleLight LED 60 Watt Incandescent Replacement Cree Super Bright LED Light Bulb- Natural WhiteTCP 14-Watt Soft White Compact Fluorescent Flood Light Bulb 6 Pack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo on Left: TCP 14-Watt Soft White Compact Fluorescent Flood Light Bulb 6 Pack

Photo on Right: EagleLight LED 60 Watt Incandescent Replacement Cree Super Bright LED Light Bulb- Natural White

Comfortable Living

Because the vast majority of energy from incandescent bulbs is given off as heat instead of light, think of them as individual little heaters that add to your cooling costs. CFLs and LEDs, meanwhile, stay cool as they emit light rather than heat.

Conservation

The Department of Energy says that lighting is responsible for 8% of all energy consumption and 22% of electricity nationwide. If every U.S. household changed out the five most frequently used light bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified lights, together we'd keep more than one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases out of our air. This would be equivalent in air pollution to taking more than 8 million cars off the road for an entire year.

Choosing efficient lighting products is easy:

  • Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). Look for ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs by choosing the right lumens (not watts).

Incandescent

Typical Light Output (Min. Lumens)

40 Watts

450 lumens

60

800

75

1,100

100

1,600

150

2,600

  • Tube Fluorescent Lighting. Tube fluorescent lighting has improved over the past decade to address problems like flickering or humming. Combined with new electronic ballasts, this type of lighting can provide a warm-light atmosphere. Typical applications include lighting around the perimeter of a room and above the bathroom mirror.
  • High-intensity discharge (HID). HID bulbs are very efficient and often used in outdoor lighting.
  • Solar-powered outdoor lights use photovoltaic (PV) technology to capture energy from the sun and store it in a battery to provide night lighting.
  • Light emitting diodes (LEDs). LED's use a new semiconductor technology referred to as solid state lighting (SSL) systems. This technology is producing new lighting products that are substantially more efficient than current lighting options. LED holiday lights have grown popular and commercial grade LEDs make sense for many businesses.
  • Halogen lighting has improved, but is not much more efficient than incandescent lighting. It is sometimes preferred over fluorescents when spot light is needed.
  • Halogen torchiere lamps  are very inefficient and  pose a fire hazard due to the extremely hot temperatures produced by the bulbs.
  • ENERGY STAR qualified light fixtures come with pin-based compact fluorescent lamps that are tested to last at least 10,000 hours (about 7 years, on average) versus standard screw-in bulbs which last about 1,000 hours or up to 1 year.

 Compact Fuorescent Lamp (CFLs) Disposal
CFLs contain a tiny amount of mercury-less than old thermometers, for example. But they should be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. Many hardware chain stores now accept them for disposal and recycling.

 

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