Let There Be LED Light: Improve Energy Efficiency with LED and CFL Light Bulbs

Upgrades made to CFL and LED bulbs are shining new light on legislation ending the production of incandescent light bulbs. During 2014, 40- and 60-watt incandescent bulbs (the common household kinds) will be phased out as the final step of the Energy Independence and Security Act takes effect.

Thanks to the 100-watt and 75-watt bulb phase-outs of the last two years, the lighting industry has seen major strides in technology, resulting in growing acceptance of energy-efficient bulbs. Today, one out of every three light bulbs purchased is a CFL or LED bulb.

LED technology has experienced the largest growth — more than doubling in popularity during the last year — as prices have decreased significantly and consumers have grown more accustomed to seeing LEDs in a variety of products, including televisions, computers and car headlights.

As the common incandescent bulb bids its final farewells, here are four things to keep in mind:

1. Current bulbs can stay put. Per the legislation, you and your clients can keep using existing incandescent bulbs, and retailers may continue to sell their stock of bulbs until supplies are depleted. In addition, some specialty bulbs are exceptions to the law and may continue to be manufactured.

2. The shift won’t be too noticeable. If your clients love the look and feel of incandescent light bulbs, there is no need to worry. Manufacturers have developed halogen light bulbs that meet the new efficiency standards while offering the characteristics of traditional bulbs. While these bulbs may cost more up front, they pay off in the long run by saving 28 percent in energy costs over the life of the product.

In addition, CFL bulbs, one of the most popular replacements for incandescents, have seen a dramatic shift in recent years. Based on consumer feedback, manufacturers have made these bulbs safer, brighter and quicker to switch on. Once a safety concern, today’s CFLs contain less mercury than a common household thermometer, and can be recycled at many local hardware stores and hazardous waste disposal facilities, as well as Lowe’s stores nationwide.

3. New light bulbs may last decades. An average LED bulb will last more than 22 years, based on three hours of use per day, and will cost about $30 to operate during that time period (comparable incandescent bulbs cost up to $165 for a similar length of time).

4. You’ll still have a whole range of options to offer clients. Light bulbs are available in a variety of color temperatures and should be selected based on application and client preferences. Soft or warm white, the standard color range of incandescent and halogen bulbs measures between 2,500 and 3,000 kelvins (K), which provides perfect ambient lighting for bedrooms, living rooms and dens.

A bright white or cool white, which measures between 3,500 and 4,100K, is ideal for kitchens, workspaces, bathrooms and other areas of the home where tasks are performed. In addition, a daylight temperature of 5,000 to 6,500K is ideal for outdoor applications and detailed tasks.

For more information, visit Lowe’s Light Bulb Legislation Frequently Asked Questions.