Green Living

Green Lighting Options

Green Lighting Options Green Lighting Options

Save Dollars and Energy

If every U.S. household replaced just one regular incandescent light bulb with either an LED or CFL light bulb (green lighting options), it would prevent at least 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants which is the equivalent of taking 7.5 million cars off the road. If every U.S. household replaced just one regular incandescent light bulb with a LED of CFL light bulb at this same minimal rate, Americans would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year.

LED As a Lighting Option

The light emitting diode (LED) is one of today’s most energy efficient and rapidly developing lighting technologies (it is one of the green lighting options). Quality LED light bulbs last significantly longer than any other competitive option, are much more durable, and offer comparable or better light quality than other types of lighting. LEDs are a highly energy efficient lighting technology, and has the potential to fundamentally change the future of lighting in the United States. Residential LEDs, especially ENERGY STAR rated products, use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting. LEDs have a stated life time of 25,000 hours or more; that should be compared to about 8,000 hours for CFLs, and less than 1,000 hours for incandescent bulbs.

Current Status on Savings

At this point, LED bulbs are honestly the hybrid cars of lighting. They’re cheaper to operate but cost more upfront than their less-efficient cousins. They have dropped from $45 per light to $16 per light with $9.00 options available soon.

The good news on LEDs is that these lights, quality-wise, are quite good and they put out enough light for a lot of needs. Still, there is no getting around the fact that LED bulbs for general lighting are a new technology that comes with a price premium.

If you were considering moving en masse to LEDs, you would need to take a long view from a financial perspective. Osram Sylvania figures that putting its $39.98 LED in to replace a 60-watt incandescent will save $132 over the life of the bulb, assuming a price of electricity at 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. That’s more than 25,000 hours, or 17 years of using a bulb four hours a day. Again, you need to consider that Cree is already producing a really competitive LED bulb at $16.00 and there will be an option soon available at $9.00

Taking a more conservative, short-term view, I did some back-of-the envelope calculations. If you used a bulb for just two hours a day and paid the national average of 11.5 cents per kilowatt hour, a single 12-watt LED will cost you about $1 per year. Comparable CFLs that consume about 14 watts come to $1.17 per year and about $5 a year for 60-watt incandescents in that scenario.

Technical Differences

LED lighting is very different from other lighting sources such as incandescent bulbs and CFLs. Key differences include the following.

Light Source

LEDs are the size of a fleck of pepper, and a mix of red, green, and blue LEDs is typically used to make white light.


LEDs emit light in a specific direction, reducing the need for reflectors and diffusers that can trap light. This feature makes LEDs more efficient for many uses such as recessed down lights and task lighting. With other types of lighting, the light must be reflected to the desired direction and more than half of the light may never leave the fixture.


LEDs emit very little heat. In comparison, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat and CFLs release about 80% of their energy as heat.

LED Replacement Bulbs

With performance improvements and dropping prices, LED lamps can replace 40, 60, and even 75 Watt incandescent bulbs. It’s important to read the Lighting Facts Label to make sure the product is the right brightness and color for the intended location. When chosen carefully, LED replacement products can be an excellent option.

What to Choose

Weighing cost and light quality factors, LEDs are worth considering right now for downlights and worth keeping an eye on if you have a lot of incandescent bulbs. If you already have a lot of CFLs in places like desktop lamps, don’t expect a quick payback by switching over. But LEDs offer some other advantages, notably longer life. I have a porch light that I need an extension ladder to reach so I can replace it; it is very exposed (really cold during winter months), and it is really hard on incandescent bulbs and CFL bulbs. I decided it was really worth not have to climb up there in the dead of winter to replaceā€¦The LED I chose has worked like a champ. I have already replaced almost all of the bulbs in my home with CFL bulbs so the next transition is LEDs. I should be able to find even better LEDs at an even lower cost when that time comes.


Home Depot LED Information

Lowes LED Information


  1. Sounds like you’ve given the green light to LEDs.

    • I love your passion…I switched to fluorescent lights before LED’s started to drop in price. Now that I can get them at prices that make sense I am replacing lights that burn-out with LED’s. I love the savings and I like what it does for the environment. I did stop by your blog, what a wonderful site.

  2. Charlie, Even with the recent/current price premium for LED bulbs you would still have to be mad to stick with incandescent lighting. I didn’t convert pretty much my entire home just to feel good about greenhouse gas emissions – I was seriously unimpressed with the level of involuntary contributions I was making to my energy supplier’s executive bonus scheme. Did it pay off? Check it out…
    Kat KuleKat recently posted..Is It Worth Converting To LED Light Bulbs?My Profile

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