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Brighter ideas for light bulbsAfter being invited to the Home Depot Light Bulb Product Showcase I was wondering how much there was to possibly learn about light bulbs–turns out, a lot! The Energy Independence and Security Act was signed into law in 2007 with the goals of reducing energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions, and implement new energy efficiency standards for buildings, vehicles, and products like light bulbs. The new efficiency standards for light bulbs will be phased in between 2012 and 2014, and during this time we will see the familiar, less efficient incandescent light bulbs be replaced with high efficiency incandescent bulbs, as well as other high efficiency lighting options. These different energy efficient bulbs are currently available in some stores and by 2014 they will be the only available options. Here, a quick rundown of the energy efficient alternatives:

High Efficiency Incandescent Bulbs

These light bulbs are the most similar to the standard incandescent bulbs we are all familiar with but are at least 28 percent more efficient and last three times as long, allowing a 72-watt high efficiency incandescent bulb to provide the same amount of light as a traditional 100-watt incandescent bulb. If you are looking for a light bulb that has a familiar size, shape, color, and price these are the bulbs for you. ($2.99/2-pack, homedepot.com)

Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFLs)

These bulbs use 75 percent less energy while emitting the same amount of light as traditional bulbs. A single CFL can last for up to nine years–that’s ten times longer than a standard incandescent bulb! CFLs are traditionally seen in a spiral shape but we are starting to see them with silicone coated covers that provide a more familiar look and prevent breakage. They also now come in a variety of lighting colors so that you can find the one that best fits in the different rooms of your home. If you’re willing to branch out to the unfamiliar and pay a little more up front to get increased energy efficiency, light bulb life span, and savings, try out CFLs in your home. ($9.47/2-pack, homedepot.com)

Light Emitting Diode (LED) Bulbs

Lasting up to 46 years, you can’t get more energy efficient than these bulbs. LEDs provide the same amount of light as traditional bulbs but use 85 percent less energy. They are long-lasting, reliable, safe, durable, and will provide you with immediate savings on your electricity bill. LEDs come in unfamiliar shapes and sizes but provide the quality lighting you’re used to. If you’re willing to adapt to new and different light bulb styles and pay more now (to save tons later –up to $300 in one bulb’s lifetime!) then you have to get LED bulbs for your home.
*Note that all links provided are for light bulbs fitting in standard household lamps but each energy efficient option also comes different styles for different fixtures.

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