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The New Wave of Light Bulbs

Apr 09, 2014 | by Wendy Weinert

Governments worldwide have enacted legislation with the goal of phasing out the use of incandescent light bulbs in favor of more environmentally friendly alternatives. Incandescent light bulbs use a filament wire that is illuminated by electricity; however, the light bulbs are inefficient at converting large quantities of electricity into visible light. Newer light bulb choices are environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. The most popular new light bulbs currently replacing incandescent bulbs include LEDs, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), and halogen bulbs.

The legislation responsible for light bulb changes in the U.S. is the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). Congress passed this law under President George Bush. While some people began buying incandescent light bulbs in bulk after this law was passed, due to fear and misconceptions regarding the safety of new bulbs, the government has provided numerous resources to prove the safety of LED and CFLs. Consumers do not need to discard their current light bulbs, as this is not a matter of a recall. Instead, manufacturers are designing new light bulbs that meet current energy standards, and as old bulbs die, they will be replaced with more-efficient ones. For instance, a 23-watt CFL or a 72-watt halogen light bulb now replace a traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulb.

Those choosing between new light bulbs will need to know the differences between each type in order to select the best bulb for their needs. There are multiple differences between LED light bulbs, CFLs, and incandescent bulbs. An LED, or light-emitting diode, light bulb uses a diode as its primary light source. Additionally, LED lights use a spectrum of colors in order to create white light. They are also directional, meaning they are more efficient for aiming at different tasks, as opposed to incandescent and CFLs that are multi-directional. The greatest advantages seen with newer, energy-efficient light bulbs over incandescent bulbs are in life span. For example, the average life span of an incandescent light bulb is approximately 1,200 hours; a CFL bulb's life span is roughly 8,000 hours, while an LED light bulb can last for 50,000 hours. While LED lights may cost more than an incandescent bulb up front, the life span of the LED bulb results in greater yearly savings on energy bills and a lower number of bulbs purchased throughout the year. Due to these advantages, LEDs have become the most popular choice in newer light bulb technology.

Learn more about new light bulbs and government laws at these sites:

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