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Better Bulb Choices

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Bye-bye, energy wasters. Hello, savings!

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Did you know that up to 90 percent of the energy used by an incandescent light bulb produces heat instead of light?

Congress has delayed enforcement of the planned phaseout of these watt-guzzlers that were slated to the way of the buggy whip. (You can read about delay in this story from The New York Times.)

But, even with that delay, there’s nothing stopping you from switching to more efficient lighting. It’s one of the easiest, lowest-cost ways to save energy. If you upgrade 15 of the inefficient incandescent light bulbs in your home, you could save about $50 per year on energy costs.*

What are your new choices?

  • GOOD: Energy-saving incandescents. These are about 25 percent more efficient and last up to three times longer than old-school incandescent bulbs.*
  • BETTER: Compact fluorescent lights. ENERGY STAR® CFLs use about 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs.* CFLs are generally the most cost-efficient replacement right now.
  • BEST: LEDs. Light emitting diode bulbs provide 75 percent to 80 percent energy savings and last up to 25 times longer than incandescents.* Since LED technology is still maturing, these bulbs are more expensive, but prices are starting to come down. (Be aware, however, that 100-watt equivalent LED bulbs are not expected to be on the market until later this year. Right now, 60-watt and 75-watt equivalent LEDs are available.)

Compare lumens instead of watts
You’re probably used to choosing a light bulb based on watts. But that really only tells you how much energy a bulb uses. Instead, you’ll want to start selecting light bulbs based on lumens — a measurement that tells you the brightness of a bulb. Here’s an example: A 60-watt incandescent bulb provides about 800 lumens, while a 15-watt CFL also provides 800 lumens — it’s the same light level for a lot less energy.

To make shopping easier, light bulb packaging for common screw-base bulbs will start carrying lighting facts labels this year (they might not be on the shelves yet). They look a lot like nutrition labels on food, but instead of listing calories and fat grams, the lighting facts label shows wattage, lumens, annual energy cost, life expectancy and whether the light has a “warm” or “cool” appearance.

Posted by

Chris Livingston

Owner/Oregon Certifed Home Inspector

Pillar To Post


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P.S. Any client of ours has open access to the Sears Commercial Center for "contractor" prices on everything from TV's to washers etc and on all brands (Bosch, LG, Kitchen Aid - not just Kenmore). Discounts of 5% to 50% from regular store prices are offered exclusively through their commercial group. This is a fantastic opportunity for our clients who may need something for the new home. Call (503) 624-3481 and ask for James Shufelt for details. Be sure to mention the Pillar To Post customer number CU071473