New light bulb regulations set by energy efficiency legislation went into effect in January 2012. These regulations meant that older-style incandescent light bulbs had to be phased out for more energy-efficient bulbs.
Why did this happen? Because old-style incandescent bulbs gave off much of their energy through heat, making them less efficient. Newer bulb technology reduces this wasting of energy while providing the same amount of light. This decreases the amount of electricity used and the amount of money homeowners spend on it. If you’re not up on all the different styles of energy-efficient bulbs, keep reading to shed some light on the topic.
Get to Know Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
There are a number of bulb options available at your local True Value hardware store that provide close to or the same amount of light output, and last longer than standard incandescent bulbs. Energy-efficient bulbs work with conventional, medium screw-based sockets. Listed below are the three most common bulb types you can use in place of traditional incandescent light bulbs.
LED Light Bulbs
The LED light bulb uses at least 75% less energy and lasts 15 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. They also turn on instantly without a warm-up time and give off much less heat than standard bulbs. Compared to a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb, an equivalent LED bulb can give off between 60 and 100 lumens per watt.
Halogen Incandescent Light Bulbs
Halogen incandescent bulbs look and work similarly to standard incandescent light bulbs, but last two to three times longer and use about 25% less energy. Halogen gas inside the bulbs conserves their tungsten filament making them burn more efficiently and for increased duration. They are also fully dimmable, much like their standard incandescent precursors.
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL)
By now, most people are familiar with the distinctive, spiral shape of standard CFL bulbs. CFLs use 75% less energy and put off 75% less heat than traditional incandescent bulbs, and last 10 times longer. These energy-efficient bulbs have been growing in popularity in recent years. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends installing qualified CFLs in fixtures that are used at least 15 minutes at a time or several hours per day, both indoors and out. CFL bulbs are ideal for fixtures located in family and living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms and bedrooms. In addition, some CFL designs are dimmable. Compared to a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb, which provides 13 to 14 lumens per watt, an equivalent CFL bulb gives off between 55 and 70 lumens per watt.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs contain small amounts of mercury (4 milligrams or less), as most fluorescents do. Because of this, they should be disposed of properly when they break or cease to function. You should check with your local municipality on how to dispose of or recycle CFLs in your area. For more information see the EPA’s suggestions on cleaning up broken CFLs and recycling them.
While you should take care when cleaning up broken CFL bulbs or disposing of inactive, intact bulbs, CFLs are completely safe to use. No mercury is released when the light bulb is working or handled. The amount of mercury inside of a CFL bulb is small.
How to Shop for Energy-Efficient Bulbs
Energy-efficient bulbs are purchased by lumens instead of watts. Bulb packaging currently provides helpful information detailing how a bulb’s light output compares to traditional incandescent light output. For example, if you want the light output of a 100-watt bulb, look for a bulb that provides 1,600 lumens of light. Look for 800 lumens if you usually use a 60-watt bulb for light fixtures in your home. And, a CFL bulb that provides 450 lumens is equivalent to a traditional 40-watt bulb.
What Are the Benefits?
According to the EPA, there are 4 billion light bulb sockets in the U.S. and more than 3 billion of them still use standard incandescent light bulbs. Ninety percent of the electricity used by incandescents is lost as heat given off by the bulbs. Using energy-efficient light bulbs saves energy by requiring less electricity to work. When more people begin to use CFL and LED bulbs, it means reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants. The bulbs save electricity and help the environment at the same time.
Congratulations! You’re now well versed in energy-efficient light bulb technology.
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