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energy efficiency,  Progress Lighting

Light bulbs made simple

While there are plenty of news stories and opinions about new light bulb standards and equivalencies, many people are still unsure about what to buy. Our friends at the American Lighting Association recently highlighted three of the most common questions consumers have and offer expert answers.

Q: What it is the best replacement for incandescent light bulbs?
A: The only bulb that no longer meets basic efficiency requirements is the 100-watt traditional incandescent. A 100-watt bulb is now required to use no more than 72 watts of electricity.

Good replacement choices for your traditional incandescent bulbs are LEDs (light-emitting diodes), CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and halogen incandescent bulbs.

Q: Which light bulbs are most energy-efficient and cost-efficient?
A: LEDs are most energy efficient. A single Energy Star-qualified LED light bulb can last up to 25,000 hours and use 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb. Keep in mind that while a traditional incandescent costs only about 50 cents to buy, it costs more than $7 per year to operate. While an LED bulb might cost $40, it should last about 25 years.

Another good choice is Energy Star-qualified CFLs. These bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last eight to 10 times longer. Halogen incandescent bulbs are also fairly efficient. They use 25 to 30 percent less energy and can last up to three times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Q: What kind of lighting creates a cozy, relaxed feeling?

A: This mood generally comes from any light sources fairly close to eye level, such as table lamps, floors lamps, desk lamps and wall sconces. Other lighting mounted at the ceiling, such as chandeliers or close-to-ceiling fixtures, can also provide that comfort feeling when dimmed.

Have questions about lighting in your home? Leave your inquiries and suggestions in the Comments section.