Light Bulbs

In December 2007, the federal government enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which requires all general purpose light bulbs be 30% more energy efficient than the current incandescent bulbs by 2012 to 2014.  The efficiency standards will start with 100-watt bulbs in January 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs in January 2014.

Exempt from this mandate are several classes of specialty lights, including appliance lamps, 3-way, colored lamps and plant lights.

There are two types of energy efficient light bulbs now available to the consumer:

  1. the compact florescent light bulb (CFL)

  2. the light-emitting diode (LED)

Both types were invented in the mid-1900’s and use at least 75 percent less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb and will last much longer.  Replacing your light bulbs with one of these types is a simple step that saves money as well as protecting the planet.


CFL’s are a smaller version of the florescent light bulb.  A current runs through the mercury vapor inside the tube.  The mercury vapor gives off ultraviolet light which reacts with the coating on the inside of the tube to create visible light.  Most CFL’s that are available have been adapted to be used interchangeably with incandescent bulbs.


  1. Efficient

  2. Less expensive

  3. Reduces air and water pollution

  4. High-quality light

  5. Versatile

Choosing an CFL:

  1. Choose your preferred light quality - have a Kelvin or “K” number; the higher the “K” number, the light is bluer and closer to daylight.

  2. Choose the shape

  3. Match lumens to the incandescent being replaced; lumens indicate the amount of light being generated while watts are the amount of energy used, not light strength.


LED’s are a good choice for flashlights and decorative lights because they are more durable and have a longer lifespan than incandescent or CFL bulbs.  They also emit very little heat.  LED’s can be adapted for use in traditional incandescent light fixtures.


  1. Mercury-free

  2. More efficient

  3. Cost-effective

  4. Long-lasting - 10x longer than CFL                      

  5. Durable - with no filament they hold up to jarring

  6. Cool - with no heat build-up, home air conditioning costs       

               can be lowered

  1. Light for remote areas - low power requirement makes using solar panels an option instead of running an electric line or generator

Choosing an LED:

  1. Estimate desired wattage                      

  2. Choose between warm and cool light

  3. Standard base or pin base

  4. Choose between standard and dimmable bulbs

  5. Choose high quality bulbs or they will die prematurely

  6. Look for certifications - including FCC and UL



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