Consumer Reports on Lighting



Senior Policy Counsel, Energy and Environment


We advocate for affordable, clean energy to power our homes and our vehicles.

By Shannon Baker-Branstetter on Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

You may have heard that light bulbs are changing in 2012. On January 1st, new standards take effect which will give you new lighting choices that are 25-30% more efficient than the decades old incandescent bulbs that your grandparents used. Contrary to reports, incandescent lights are NOT being banned—they are simply becoming more efficient.

Not only will these new light bulbs cut your energy bills, they’ll improve the environment by reducing emissions from power plants due to less energy consumption.

Here’s what you need to know the next time you are looking for a new light bulb:

1. Know Your Choices. There are three:

  • Halogen incandescents: These look like the older bulbs, but use 25% to 30% less energy and can last up to three times longer. A new 72 watt energy-saving incandescent bulb which replaces the old 100 watt bulb will cost about $1.50 but each one will save you about $3.00 over its lifetime.
  • Compact fluorescent lamps: CFLs are your best value. They use about 75% less energy than older bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. A $2.00 CFL will save you up to $50 over the bulb’s lifetime.
  • Light-Emitting Diodes: LEDs will last up to 25 years (based upon usage of 3hr/day) and save 75%, or more, in energy costs—but they will cost you more to buy than the other choices. Even though LEDs today cost around $25 per bulb, they’ll still save you around $150 over their 25-year lifetime. As they become more common, you can expect their prices to go way down.

Watch this video from Consumer Reports for more:

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