Lighting is a crucial part of our lives – we need it to complete the myriad of tasks that fill our days and evenings. As great as incandescent bulbs are for first bringing us electric light, more efficient bulbs are now needed to light our homes. You all, hopefully, know about Compact Fluorescents light bulbs and use them in the most trafficked light sources in your home. These bulbs use ¼ of the energy that incandescent bulbs use to produce the equivalent amount of light. CFLs can even last ten times longer! If you’re concerned about how to pick from the range of CFLs available for purchase, see our article about selecting the right CFLs to help you choose bulbs for varying fixtures and spaces.
The new kid on the block of household lighting is a bulb containing LEDs. These bulbs contain many small Light-Emitting Diodes (what LED stands for) that illuminate when electrons (what electricity is composed of) move through their semi-conductor material. What’s interesting about these bulbs is that they emit heat and light in single (and opposite) directions instead of all directions. This means you can have the light you need without unwanted and wasteful heat, made possible by a built-in self-managing heat sink. Phillips has the first Energy Star approved LED bulb that uses only 12.5 Watts to produce the same amount of light as a 60 Watt incandescent. That’s 80% less energy used! Think about what that means for your utility bill! This product is also supposed to last up to 17 years if used for 8 hrs a day! LED’s are being developed into different varieties of lighting for different fixture uses. It’ll be interesting to see these new lighting products (that can potentially bring us the brightness of light we need without the large waste of energy) continue to be developed, tested, and brought into the consumer market for our use.