Energy Guide: Lights Please!

Written by: Michelle Lee

We all use lights and have light bulbs, whether they are in the kitchen, bathroom, or living room. However, one thing we don’t all have is energy-efficient light bulbs. While many of us think that merely turning off the lights when we leave the room is sufficient, that is simply not true. There are many types of light bulbs differing in size, shape, color and efficiency. The most well-known light bulbs are incandescent, CFL, and LED bulbs.

Incandescent: The most popular light bulb, the incandescent light bulb, costs approximately $1-2 per light bulb. Bulbous, with a screw on bottom. These light bulbs produce light by electrically heating the heat filament until it is hot enough to produce a white light. Incandescent bulbs are highly inefficient, because 90% of the energy they consume is lost to heat. While the price is very low for these bulbs, they only last for 750 to 10,000 hours, making them highly inefficient.


CFL: Another type of light bulb is the CFL, costing $2-3 per light bulb. These light bulbs are much more efficient than incandescent light bulbs, using only 25% of the amount of energy needed to produce light. These last about ten times longer than incandescent light bulbs. CFLs, however, these are still not the most efficient light bulb.


LED: The most energy-efficient light bulb on the market is the LED. Not only do LED light bulbs last up to 50,000 hours, but they also use ~17% of the energy of an incandescent light bulb. Although LED light bulbs are the most expensive option, costing approximately $4 per light bulb, in the long run, they actually cost the less.


In conclusion, LED light bulbs are the most efficient, CFLs next, then incandescent bulbs. Happy shopping!

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