Energy Efficient Lighting
You can reduce your electricity bills quickly and inexpensively by switching from incandescent light bulbs to newer, more energy efficient lighting options. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) last long, and use far less electricity than traditional bulbs. You can find efficient options for nearly every lighting need.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are popular alternatives to incandescent lights and can cut the cost of lighting by 75%. CFLs are very affordable and they last up to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs, which means that they will easily pay for themselves.
CFL bulbs have improved dramatically since they were first introduced to the market. Recent improvements to the bulbs include faster light-up times, dimmable lighting optons, more compact sizes, and options with a warm light quality that is similar to incandescent light. Today it is possible to find CFLs for nearly every application, including recessed lighting, small lamps, and outdoor fixtures. As technology advances, these bulbs will become available in even better quality and variety.
Compact fluorescent bulbs last a long time, so it could be years before one burns out. When they do burn out, the bulbs should be disposed of properly because they contain a small amount of mercury. The best disposal option is to recycle spent bulbs, through you local waste department or some retailers. Go to www.epa.gov/cfl for more information.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are emerging as a new lighting option for home and business applications. They use the same technology as the indicator lights found in many electronic devices. Switching from traditional bulbs to LED bulbs can cut lighting costs by 80%, and the LED bulbs can last 25 times longer. Affordable LED holiday lights are now on the market, use only one tenth the electricity of similar incandescent lights, and can last 20 years. LEDs for other home and business applications are expensive, and the selection is limited. However, prices have been falling, and new applications are developed. As the technology advances and prices come down, LEDs will have an importat place in household lighting.
A Brighter Future
More efficient lighting can have a big impact on energy bills and the environment. According to the ENERGY STAR website, "If every American home replaces just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars."