If you have been switching to new, energy efficient light bulbs, you will notice that lighting choices have expanded and packaging labels and lingo have changed. There are LEDs, CFLs, halogen, lumens and CRI. January marked the end of the incandescent bulbs we have been using since the 1800s. While you may still find these bulbs on the shelves, manufacturers in the U.S. have stopped producing them. Today’s more energy saving light bulbs use 25 percent less energy to light the same spaces in your home.
Be prepared to pay more for the light bulbs you use. Lighting experts say that LEDs are the best choice for energy efficiency and they can last up to 20 years, save you 75 percent or more in energy costs and offer superior color and brightness. However, they cost $10.00 to $60.00 per bulb. The good news is that a typical household could save about $50.00 per year by replacing 15 incandescent bulbs.
If you are in the market for new light bulbs, here are a few things you need to know before you shop:
- Lumens are the new watts. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light. To replace a 100-watt incandescent bulb, choose a bulb that offers about 1600 lumens. There are handy charts at www.energystar.gov that help you compare watts to lumens.
- Choose an amount of lumens you need based on how bright you want a room. Determine which bulb has the lowest estimated cost per year. This will save you the most money. Also look into how long each type of bulb will last.
- Always check the package. Make sure that it carries the U.S. Department of Energy’s EnergyStar logo. Lighting fact labels will help you understand the amount of lumens, estimated annual operating cost and light color.