Light Up Your Life: 8 Tips for Efficient Lighting

Bin im Garten / Wikimedia Commons


Ever since George W. Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 which boosted efficiency standards for lighting, consumers have seen a surge in light bulb choices, from halogen incandescent bulbs and LEDs, to CFLs.

As the law is implemented over the next few years, prices for energy efficient bulbs are dropping. Here are some tips for lighting up your life with less energy:

  • Find the right fit. Use this fun interactive website from Energy Star to see which bulbs can be used in which fixture types, including 3-way and dimmable options. This handy comparison chart from bulbrite also allows you to pick the right replacement for your existing bulbs.
  • Halogen Incandescent? LED? CFL? From an efficiency standpoint, LEDs are the best option. They also achieve full brightness instantly and work well with dimmers. Although the sticker price is still well above other options, prices are going down and they can last over twice as long as CFLs. Read this field test of LEDs to choose the best option. 
  • Check for the Energy Star label. Without the Energy Star label, manufacturer’s claims aren’t verified. Be sure you see the blue star label on bulbs you purchase.
  • Meet Lumens. With efficient bulbs, the amount of energy it takes to light a room is less important than the amount of light it produces. “Lumens” is a measure of this light and is labeled on new bulbs. To learn how to decipher a bulb’s lumens rating, watch this video.
  • Recycle CFLs. Because of their mercury content, many jurisdictions require you to recycle CFLs. Use this guide from the Environmental Protection Agency to find a facility near you. Many retailers like Home Depot and Ace Hardware also offer CFL recycling on-site.   

  • Use lighting controls. Photocells, occupancy sensors, and crank timers all turn off lights automatically depending on conditions like available natural light and whether people are in the room. These devices are great for people who forget to turn off lights when leaving a room.
  • Connect with your smartphone. New lightning technology is working seamlessly with smartphone apps to let you control your LEDs from your phone or tablet.
  • Bust some lighting myths. Incandescent bulbs being banned? Not so. Visit the Lumen Collation website to bust this and other common myths around new light bulb standards.


Want more guidance about purchasing energy-efficient, money-saving bulbs for your home? Check out this handy resource from EarthShare member charity NRDC before you replace your bulbs!



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