Replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 32-watt compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) can save you at least $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. If every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with a CFL, it would prevent enough pollution to equal removing one million cars from the road. CFL’s provide high-quality light without the heat of incandescent bulbs and they use much less energy and last up to 10x longer. LEDs (Light-emitting Diodes) don’t heat up like incandescent, they last longer and they are more energy efficient than both incandescent bulbs and CFLs. Unlike incandescents, LEDs don’t have filaments to burn out, and, more important, they don’t waste the majority of their energy output on useless heat. Instead, they illuminate via the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material. LEDs costs 90 percent less to run than an incandescent and can last up to 50,000 hours, compared with a CFL’s 10,000 hours and an incandescent’s 1,200.
FLs cost little more than incandescents but they contain mercury, meaning they have to be disposed of as hazardous waste to avoid contaminating our landfills and water supplies. Still, if the bulbs are disposed of properly, the benefits outweigh the risks. The halogen bulb—basically an incandescent infused with halogen gas— burns twice as long, use 10 percent less energy, and produce a clean, bright-white light. But they still burn hot and, like their predecessors, waste a lot of their energy on needless Btus. Even the standard incandescent got a makeover, more energy-efficient incandescents use slightly less energy and lasts 50 percent longer than a standard incandescent. We would save 10% of global electricity by switching to entirely efficient lighting systems, according to a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The carbon dioxide emissions saved by such a switch would dwarf cuts so far achieved by adopting wind and solar power. 19 percent: The percentage of global electricity generation taken for lighting. That’s more than is produced by hydro or nuclear stations, and about the same that’s produced from natural gas.” 2.5 million: The number of homes that could be lit from the energy saved if every American replacing one light bulb with an Energy Star rated one; this action would also prevent emissions of greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars. When choosing eco-friendly lighting, one must consider not only the light bulbs but also the fixture or materials used to create the light fixture. Choose copper light fixtures. They are not only beautiful but they last long. Furthermore, they are 100% recyclable. Use light fixtures made with recycled glass, aluminum, metal and steel. Use lamp bases made with sustainably harvested wood such as bamboo. Use materials that are easily renewable or reproduced. Choose a light fixture that incorporates a timing device or sensor to save on energy. Use solar powered lights for the outdoors. Compact Fluorescent Bulbs by: Christine McQuillen