A Tale of Three Bulbs

Regular incandescent bulbs create a lot of heat. Only about 10 percent of the energy to power an incandescent bulb is converted to light – the remaining 90 percent is released as heat. That means in the summer you need to operate your home's air conditioning even more to combat the heat incandescent bulbs generate. Talk about energy inefficiency!

Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) are two of the most energy efficient bulbs on the market. These new styles use significantly less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. Though the purchase price of a CFL or LED is slightly more than an incandescent bulb, these bulbs are becoming increasingly more affordable and the long-term savings they provide is impressive. The equation is simple: less energy used means lower utility bills.

To get the most bang for your buck, try investing in ENERGY STAR certified lightbulbs. Lighting products bearing the ENERGY STAR certification have met strict energy efficiency guidelines. On average, an ENERGY STAR-certified bulb uses 70 to 90 percent less energy than traditional incandescents, lasts 10 to 25 times longer, and saves between $30 and $80 in electricity costs over its lifetime. They are also safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling because they produce 70 to 90 percent less heat.

For more information, see "Shining a Spotlight on Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs" (PDF 64 KB) Download Adobe Reader

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Some information for this feature was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program, ENERGY STAR, Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.