Tips for Choosing Low Energy Light Bulbs

Home lighting is a major expense, accounting for over 25% of a home’s energy budget. With the growing concern over energy-consumption it’s no wonder that so many people are turning to low energy light bulbs to light their homes. There are many different choices to select from. Each of these options has their strengths and weaknesses, which are listed below.


CFLs are smaller versions of fluorescent lamps. They can screw into the normal fixtures in your home and come in a variety of styles to fit your décor.

Benefits of  CFL Bulbs

Efficient: These can be up to four times more energy efficient and can last 10 times longer than standard incandescent.
Less Expensive: CFLs typically cost 10% of what comparable LED bulbs do.
Quality Light: CFLs emit warm light as opposed to the older “cold” light put out by traditional fluorescent bulbs.

Drawbacks of  CFL Bulbs

Dimmers: Not all CFLs can be used with dimming devices. Using non-dimmable CFLs with dimmer switches severely shortens their lifespan.
On/Off Cycling: CFLs subject to constant on/off cycling experience significantly decreased lifespan.
Mercury: Mercury levels in CFLs are miniscule and may only be released if broken or upon disposal. Care should be taken when handling CFL bulbs to prevent release of mercury into your home.

How to Choose the Right CFL Light Bulb

Consider Your Needs: CFL bulbs are rated in units of Kelvin. CFLs with Kelvin ratings between 2700-3000 give off softer light. If a brighter light is desired, choosing a CFL with a Kelvin rating between 3500-6000 is recommended.
Bulb Shape: CFLs now come in a variety of styles and shapes. From decorative to functional CFL bulbs are made to fit most fixtures and lamps.
Lumens vs. Wattage: When replacing an incandescent bulb it is important to look at the lumens rating. This will help you find the right light strength for your home. Watts measure energy consumption and not light intensity.

LED Light Bulbs

Light Emitting Diode bulbs are made of clusters of tiny LED bulbs that are covered with a special lens to diffuse light for a natural look.

Benefits of LED Light Bulbs

Longest Lasting: LEDs are ten times longer lasting than CFLs, and last several times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Mercury-free: Unlike CFLs LEDs contain no mercury.

Efficiency: LED bulbs only use between 2-10 watts of energy which is 1/3 the amount CFLs use and 1/130 the amount of incandescent.

Drawbacks of LED Light Bulbs

Cost: LED bulbs are expensive. LEDs range between $20-$80. Future updates in technology will allow for the manufacture of a more affordable bulb.

Limited Availability: LEDs are not widely available in all areas yet. Many people buy them online, but this adds to the expense with shipping costs.

How to Choose the Right LED Light Bulb

Wattage: Make sure to read the packaging of your LED bulb to find the right level of illumination. A 3-watt LED bulb outputs as much as a 45-watt incandescent one.

Warm/Cool Light: Newer LED bulbs are available in “warm” light, which is ideal for accent lighting, and “cool” light the best choice for task lighting.

Standard/Pin Base: LED bulbs come with either pin bases or standard screw bases. Standard bases are use primarily for light fixtures and lamps while pin bases are used for track and recessed lighting.

The Bottom Line:

Whether you choose a CFL or an LED bulb, you will save a significant amount of money on your home energy bill.


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One Response to “Tips for Choosing Low Energy Light Bulbs”

  1. scalar energy pendant Says:

    Another major factor is the type of lights. I know certain lights give off more EMFs, so it seems buyers need to be cautious of this. Unfortunately I had heard that eco friendly lights are sometimes the worst offenders.

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