CFL and LED light bulbs

Home lighting technology has come a long way from Thomas Edison’s heated filament incandescent bulbs. Today, people like you are replacing their inefficient incandescent bulbs with CFL (compact fluorescent light) and LED (light emitting diode) bulbs, and saving hundreds of dollars at the same time.

The incandescent light bulb loses as much as 90% of its energy as waste heat. New technologies have made efficient CFL and LED light bulbs competitive choices for most home lighting needs.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs use an integrated ballast to energize chemical vapors. These vapors then produce ultraviolet light. That ultraviolet light strikes the fluorescent coating inside the bulb’s glass housing, which produces visible light. CFLs have been around for decades, and can now create everything from the warm glow of your favorite reading lamp to clear, bright light perfect for your kitchen or home workshop. CFLs cost as little as $2.00, and can last for 5-8 years.

Light emitting diode bulbs are newer than CFLs, and they promise to last an extremely long time in normal usage. These bulbs create light when energized electrons pass from the negative to the positive charged layer in a semiconductor. Because they draw very little electrical current a 60 watt equivalent bulb may only use 7 watts of electricity! This makes them very inexpensive, and it also makes them suitable for use in antique lamps with ow power draws. LED bulbs can cost as much as $60 for a 60 watt equivalent, but they will last for decades – and the price is dropping every year.

Are CFL and LED light bulbs the right choice for you?

Is the U.S. “hitting snooze on energy efficiency?”

Energy scientist Amory Lovins argues that the 1973 oil embargo was a watershed moment for energy efficiency in the United States. In the past 40 years, however, cheap energy has made U.S. energy policy a bit soporific. A comprehensive energy efficiency policy could have a significant effect:

$5 trillion saved, 158% economic expansion, and be led by business for profit.

The question is: are we ready to take action?

Lovins, of the Rocky Mountain Institute identifies transportation fuel efficiency, building energy efficiency, and expanded domestic oil and gas production as three key steps. The argument is compelling. Advanced materials in cars and trucks can make them lighter and more fuel efficiency without sacrificing safety. Using our own oil and gas instead of imports would drop the price, freeing money for research and development of alternative energy sources. And taking basic steps to make buildings more energy efficient “offers $1.4 trillion net savings with a juicy 33 percent internal rate of return.” If that sounds good to you, we have even better news.