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Options for Energy-Efficient Lights

Going Green

Since Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb in 1879, it has been the most reliable and cost-effective source of artificial light. However, as more people begin to think seriously about the impact they have on the environment and how to slow the emission of greenhouse gases, new, more energy-efficient forms of lighting are emerging as one of the main targets. To jump-start this movement, California and New Jersey are considering banning the sale of incandescent light bulbs completely. Several types of energy-efficient lights are currently competing for first place in the “going green” movement, and it can help to know some options for energy-efficient lights when deciding which type is the best choice for you.

Most Common Options for Energy-efficient Lights


When it comes to energy-efficient lighting alternatives, one of the major forerunners is the LED, or light-emitting diode. Unlike incandescent lights, LEDs do not have filaments that burn out, and more importantly, they do not waste most of their energy on useless heat. Instead, they illuminate your home through the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material. While extremely energy-efficient, LED lights are also somewhat cost-prohibitive, which can dissuade some homeowners from replacing all the incandescent lights in their homes with LEDs. However, LEDs can last up to 50,000 hours, compared to a typical incandescent bulb’s lifespan of 1,200 hours.

Compact Fluorescent

For homeowners that are not ready to invest in LEDs for all their household lighting needs, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are an excellent alternative. These cheap, efficient, and readily available bulbs are slowly becoming the most popular options for homeowners that want longer-lasting, more energy-efficient light bulbs without spending five times more per bulb than they would on incandescent lights. CFLs use two-thirds less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to ten times longer. While they cost slightly more than the former, the energy you save and longer lifespan of these bulbs make the investment worthwhile. However, despite the benefits they offer, CFLs contain mercury, which means you must dispose of them as hazardous waste to avoid contaminating landfills and water supplies. Regardless, if disposed of properly, these bulbs offer more benefits than disadvantages.

When it comes to energy-efficient lights, LEDs and compact fluorescent lights are two of the most popular choices. While some people prefer to use incandescent lighting because it is the most cost-effective, others recognize that investing a bit more money in more efficient and longer-lasting bulbs may be a wiser idea. Regardless of your illumination preferences, finding ways to conserve energy—even if it is as simple as replacing a light bulb—can reduce your monthly energy bills substantially.

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