Does all the talk about newer, better light bulbs have you scratching your head? They’re on the market for good reason—to increase efficiency and reduce energy costs—and a few how-tos are all you’ll need to make shopping easier.
This new wave in lighting is thanks to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which requires that household light bulbs using between 40 and 100 watts consume at least 27 percent less energy. As a result, traditional incandescent bulbs are now phasing out in favor of more efficient, longer-lasting LEDs and CFLs for household use.
Even with all the bulb choices on the market, there’s a simple place to start when you’re shopping: look for the Energy Star seal. When you see it, you’ll know you’re choosing a bulb that’s been independently certified to save you energy and money while protecting the environment. Energy Star bulbs use 75 percent less energy than standard incandescents, and last 10 to 25 times longer. In fact, a single bulb can save you $135 in electricity costs over its lifetime.
The other big shopping tip? Instead of looking for bulb wattage like you have in the past, look for lumens—the measure of a bulb’s light output or brightness. More lumens mean more light, and the new bulbs will give you the light you need on a lot less power. For example, the old 100-watt bulbs put out about 1600 lumens, while a new Energy Star bulb can do the same using only 25 watts. Just check packaging to find the lumens to match the wattage level of any fixture, and you’ll enjoy a much lower energy bill without any change in your quality of light!