How to cut back on costs with energy efficient lighting

| by Teena Hammond
How to cut back on costs with energy efficient lighting

Opting for energy-efficient lighting is one of the easiest ways to save on electric bills. Switching just 30 incandescent light bulbs with compact florescent lamps (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs) will save $100 per year on energy costs.

Part of the reason for this savings is the reduced heat produced by the bulbs, which reduces the amount of air conditioning needed to cool the home.

The new energy-efficient standards for light bulbs take effect on January 1, when bulbs sold will use about 25 percent to 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent. Many of the bulbs that use less energy to fit within these standards are already sold in stores. The lighting standards, which phase in from 2012-2014, will result in 100-watt incandescents no longer being sold. The standards say that bulbs need to use about 25 percent less energy. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) established these efficiency standards.

Traditional incandescent bulbs use a lot of energy and only 10 percent of the energy used is for giving off light. The remaining 90 percent of the energy is given off as heat. Think about it — that's why they're used in Easy Bake Ovens for kids. That means a lot of money is wasted on energy that doesn't light your home.

Energy-efficient lighting

Halogen incandescents: Halogen lights are about 25 percent more efficient and can last three times longer than traditional incandescents. They are available in a wide range of shapes and colors and can be used with dimmers.

CFLs: These lights use only a quarter of the energy as traditional incandescents and last ten times longer. They look like curly versions of the long-tube fluorescent lights used in kitchens, garages and basements. They typically pay for their cost in nine months.

LEDs:These bulbs use about 75 percent to 80 percent of the energy as traditional bulbs. This is the most energy-efficient and fastest-developing lighting technology. They last 25 times longer than traditional bulbs.

For more information, see our Energy Efficient Lighting Research Center.

Topics: Lighting

Teena Hammond
Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.

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