Just in time for Sunday’s ritual changing of the clocks to prepare for shorter days, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) today released an updated Light Bulb Buying Guide to help consumers choose their best options for saving money and energy.
Sunday marks the end of Daylight Savings Time as we “fall back” one hour into Standard Time in preparation for the gradual decrease in daylight, a period some also refer to as “lighting season” because we use more lights in our homes and businesses.
“This time of year offers an excellent opportunity to review our lighting and switch to the new and improved light bulbs that have recently entered the market,” said Noah Horowitz, NRDC senior scientist and director of NRDC’s Center for Energy Efficiency. “Just because it’s the end of Daylight Savings Time, it doesn’t mean our electric bill savings also need to end. With more than 4 billion screw-based light bulb sockets in the United States, getting an efficient bulb into each socket also is really important for our environment because the energy savings would be massive.”
Once every socket contains a CFL (compact fluorescent) or LED (light-emitting diode) bulb, consumers will save $13 billion on their electric bills and the United States would avoid 30 large (and polluting) coal-burning power plants worth of electricity annually.
NRDC’s updated guide at www.nrdc.org/energy/lightbulbs/files/lightbulbguide.pdf provides information on the three main types of bulbs available today: new and improved incandescents (also called halogen incandescent or halogen), CFLs, and LEDs. The CFLs and LEDs are almost always the best options because they use 75% less energy and last 10 and 25 times longer, respectively. The updated NRDC Light Bulb Buying Guide also includes information on how to pick the right bulb for each socket.
Here are some additional illuminating facts about today’s light bulbs:
- The days of simply choosing between a 60- or 100-watt version are over. It’s more important to consider how much light they provide (expressed in lumens) rather than their power use.
- LED bulbs have overcome some of the problems with CFLs: they don’t need a run-up time for full brightness and many models are dimmable. Buy LEDs with the ENERGY STAR® label; the color of light you prefer (warm white resembles the yellowish white of the old incandescents while “daylight” offers a cooler, more bluish hue); and choose a design for the type of lighting you need (sno-cone shape doesn’t offer enough downward light for a reading lamp, for example).
Noah Horowitz has posted a blog with more details at:http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/nhorowitz/fall_back_into_energy-saving_l.html