Energy Efficient Light Bulb

By guest writer, G.S.

The energy efficient light bulb is likely to find its way into more homes as people begin to turn to using energy efficient appliances and lighting.

In the average American home electrical lighting accounts for approximately 25 percent of the energy bill. The electrical cost of the commonly used incandescent light bulb is between five and ten times more than the purchase price of the unit. With energy efficient light bulbs, the cost is much less.

Types of energy efficient bulbs

If you are wondering about the kinds of energy saving lightbulbs out there, there are two main kinds currently available in the market, and both use only a fraction of the energy compared to the incandescent light bulb.

One type is the Light Emitting Diodes or LED lights. The other kind of energy efficient light bulb is the compact fluorescent lights or CFL lights.

LED Lights

LED lights are small but powerful semiconductor light sources. In the early days, they were used mainly as single small lights for electronics, light pens, Christmas lights and instrument panels.

Today, their uses have expanded. They are placed in clusters (e.g. up to about 180 little bulbs), often coupled with external reflectors, for use in larger items, such as headlamps and flashlights, and even light bulbs to light up an entire room.

With higher energy efficiency, these energy efficient bulbs produce the same amount of light as incandescent light bulbs for only a fraction of the energy. They light up very quickly, have longer life-spans and are more reliable. They emit very little amount of heat in the form of infra-red and hence, might even help to reduce the cooling bills. Most of the time, LEDs fail by becoming dimmer over time, rather than fail abruptly the way incandescent bulbs do. Read more about LED light bulbs.

However, a main disadvantage of LED lights is the higher initial price, as compared to the incandescent bulbs. However, they do pay for themselves over their lifetime. A LED bulb can last about two to five times longer than a CFL bulb, and more than twenty times longer than the incandescent bulbs. They are also more durable and shock resistant – they are hence less likely to break.

CFL Light Bulbs

CFL lights are another great example of energy efficient light bulbs.

They use 20 to 30 per cent of the energy used by conventional incandescent bulbs. Initially they do cost more to buy than incandescent bulbs, but over their lifetime, they will cost less as they use less electricity to operate. They give off less heat as compared to incandescent lamps, so can help to reduce some cooling costs. They can fit into sockets originally intended for a regular incandescent bulb, so you can switch from an incandescent bulb to a CFL relatively easily.

One main disadvantage of the CFLs is that it contains small amounts of vapor mercury in the glass tubing. As such, they have to be carefully disposed of, otherwise the mercury would pollute our air and water systems.

If everyone switches to the energy efficient light bulb, we could retire a substantial number of power plants and drastically reduce the air and water pollution created by them. Don’t underestimate how much less carbon dioxide would be produced by switching to energy saving appliances in your home.

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