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Many Americans may not have even noticed the phase-out of older, less efficient light bulbs that began in 2012. The new versions – with output measured in lumens – use 25% to 80% less energy.
The savings adds up: by replacing 15 older incandescent bulbs, the average household will spend about $50 less on electricity per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Households that want to eliminate incandescent-style bulbs entirely have other options.
First, there’s the twisty compact fluorescent, or CFL. Each bulb costs $4 or less and lasts eight to 10 years. They’re available in a spectrum of light colors, for many different purposes. Because they contain small amounts of mercury, they must be recycled.
Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are also becoming more widely available and prices are gradually declining. Good-quality LED bulbs can last 25,000 hours – more than 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs. That is a life of more than three years if run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
More information on energy-efficient lighting is available on the DOE website.