environmental citizens organization

Latest-tech LED light bulbs: a bright idea.

This month Hydro has sent us all good discount coupons on high efficiency lighting.
There are so many options that it can be confusing, so I’m hoping this blog entry can help sort it out.

Incandescent bulbs are the traditional light bulbs. They’re fragile, short-lived and run very hot with very low efficiency. They are cheap up-front even though they are very expensive over time, so many new homes are full of these. If you have some around, keep them in a cupboard or hall that is rarely on. Once they burn out it’s time to upgrade.

Halogen bulbs are a bit more efficient than Incandescent. They can be used in spot lights and flood lights that turn on and off frequently. They run very hot too and are also expensive and inefficient to operate compared to LED or CFL.

Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs are much more efficient and long-lasting than the older tech lights. Newer versions are available with warm spectrum light (more yellow and less blue) and fairly quick start-up, and have gotten significantly cheaper to buy. These are most economical in places that stay on for long periods of time, not where turned on and off regularly. There are CFL flood lamps, but they are slow to brighten up, and are not good for motion sensors or extreme cold. All CFLs should be treated as hazardous waste when they finally fail.

LED lights have none of the drawbacks of others- They are extremely efficient, and turn on and off instantly. They are not fragile either. Right now they are more expensive than CFLs. Earlier LEDs had bluish light and sharp harsh spot lights, but latest generation LEDs now are available with warm spectrum light and softer light patterns, and are very good for flood or spot lights. These should completely replace halogen spot lights, where they use 90% less power. They are excellent for exterior soffit down- lights, track lights, pot lights etc. and can work with motion and daylight sensors. They will pay back nicely in the long run.

They are also available in regular light bulb shapes, and these can completely replace incandescent lights, but at a greater initial cost. At this point I am suggesting them for lights that are on more than an hour a day, especially if they turn on and off regularly. As their cost goes down, LEDs will replace almost every other household light.

Take advantage of the big savings with the Hydro coupons until the end of the month to upgrade your lighting!

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