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April 16, 2015
Choosing the right light bulb used to be an easy process. The only choice a consumer had was wattage. Often, that was largely dependent on the type of light fixture it was going into and how much light output was desired. These factors significantly narrowed the possible choices. These days the choice isn’t quite so easy. Thanks to modern technology and ecological consciousness, there are many more options for people to chose from. Each type of light bulb has its own features that will assist Colorado homeowners with not only saving energy, but saving money as well.
Incandescent light bulbs
These are the bulbs that most people envision when they think about light bulbs. They are categorized by wattage, with the higher numbers emitting the most amount of light. This type of light bulb is the least energy-efficient of all of the light bulbs, as they require lots of electricity to function. Although it is possible to find these light bulbs in the stores, they are no longer being produced in favor of more energy-efficient varieties.
Halogen light bulbs
Halogen light bulbs are similar to incandescent bulbs. They produce light that is the most similar to natural light. Colors that are viewed under halogen lights appear crisper and brighter. They are slightly more energy-efficient than incandescent light bulbs are. However their cost is noticeably higher. They also burn at a higher temperature than incandescent bulbs, so great care needs to be taken when handling them.
Fluorescent light bulbs
Fluorescent light bulbs produce a flat light that does not generate heat as it is used. Often the light emitted from a fluorescent bulb is bright and harsh. These bulbs last a considerable amount of time longer than incandescent bulbs. They also use about 1/3 of the energy. Fluorescent bulbs emit a lot of light, so they are ideal for large spaces such as basements.
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
CFLs started getting a lot of attention a few years ago. They were the first incarnation of light bulbs that were designed to replace the incandescent variety. They are most commonly known for their unique spiral-like design. They have a lifespan of around 1,000 hours and use considerably less energy than incandescent light bulbs. The initial cost of a CFL is about four times that of incandescent bulbs. However, that cost is recouped in less than a year in reduced energy costs. The biggest downside of CFLs is that they do contain a small amount of mercury so they cannot just be thrown away in the everyday trash; rather they need to be recycled through a big box retailer.
Light Emitting Diode LED light bulbs
LED lights are even more energy-efficient than CFLs, and they have a lifespan of around 50,000 hours. They brighten immediately, unlike CFLs, and they work better in colder temperatures. LED light bulbs are rather costly, starting at about $10.00 apiece. Because of their higher price, they are a good choice for lights that get a heavy amount of use, but not for lights that are only used occasionally.
High-intensity discharge (HID) light bulbs
There are four types of HID lights: metal halide, high-pressure sodium, low-pressure sodium, and mercury vapor. These lights are incredibly energy-efficient and have long lifespans. However, they do not emit aesthetically pleasing light. The best residential use of this type of light is for outdoor area lighting and for security purposes.
Energy Star light bulbs
Regardless of the type of light bulb that is chosen, consumers should be sure to choose light bulbs that are Energy Star certified. According to Energy Star, light bulbs that have earned Energy Star certification meet the strictest efficiency guidelines set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. They have desirable features and are guaranteed to use less energy. This results in lower utility bills, while also protecting the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Energy Star certified light bulbs boast the following benefits.
- They use between 70-90% less energy than regular incandescent bulbs
- They last 10-25% longer
- They can save consumers $30-$80 in electricity costs over the lifetime of the bulb.
- They meet strict quality standards and are accredited by an independent third party.
- They produce 70-90% less heat, making them safer, and cutting energy costs associated with cooling.
The current choices for energy-efficient light bulbs provide numerous options that can fit every consumer’s needs. Switching out old incandescent light bulbs for more energy-efficient options is a wise idea for all Coloradans. Although the initial output of money is greater, there is a significant savings on utility bills in the long run. Using energy-efficient light bulbs may seem like it is insignificant. However, even this one small change can have a large impact on the environment.
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