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Energy-efficient lighting basics and ways to save
You're considering switching to energy-efficient ENERGY STAR® qualified LED and CFL bulbs for the valuable energy, money and time savings you'll earn. But first, get to know some fundamental lighting terms to help you make the right choice.
Get to know some lighting basics
A light-emitting diode (LED) bulb is an energy-efficient light bulb that generates light from the movement of electrons through a semiconductor.
LED bulbs use around 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last up to 25 times longer, almost 25,000 hours. In general, they are more energy-efficient than CFL bulbs, but almost always cost more to buy.
Check out our LED bulb FAQ for more in-depth info.
A compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb is an energy-efficient light bulb that works by sending an electrical discharge through a tube containing argon and a small amount of mercury vapor.
CFL bulbs use around 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last up to 10 times longer, almost 10,000 hours. In general, they are less energy-efficient than LED bulbs, but almost always cost less to buy.
Check out our CFL bulb FAQ for more in-depth info.
Color temperature describes the “warm” or “cool” appearance of light, measured in degrees Kelvin (K). View the chart below to see the difference in color between various color temperatures and their corresponding measurements:
Energy-efficient light bulbs labeled “warm white” or “soft white” produce a warmer color that's close to that of warm incandescent bulbs, measuring around 2700 K. Bulbs that give off a slightly cooler color—similar to “bright white” incandescent bulbs—are usually labeled “bright white” and can measure between 3500 and 5000 K. Bulbs measuring above 5000 K are often labeled “daylight” and produce light that may appear bluish in color.
A watt is a measure of power consumption and is the common way incandescent light bulbs are identified. On the other hand, a lumen is the measure of visible light that comes from sources like light bulbs and others.
For example, when you purchase a 60-watt incandescent bulb, those 60 watts of power will typically get you about 800 lumens of light. Switch to a 13-watt ENERGY STAR qualified CFL bulb, and you can still get 800 lumens of light but use much less power.
ENERGY STAR is a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that assists in promoting energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR qualified products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy, taking into account their quality and reliability.
Puget Sound Energy recommends ENERGY STAR qualified products.
Saving you energy, money and time
ENERGY STAR qualified LED and CFL light bulbs use less energy, which saves you money and time. That's a fact.
But did you also know:
- LED bulbs use up to 80 percent less energy while producing the same quality and brightness of light that customers are used to getting from old incandescent bulbs.
- Both LED and CFL bulbs have dimmable options that help you use even less energy. Be sure to only use dimmable bulbs in dimmable fixtures.
- You can use an energy-efficient LED or CFL bulb as a stronger light source without exceeding a fixture's maximum-rated wattage—great for boosting brightness in less well-lit areas.
- LED bulbs can last 25 times as long as incandescent bulbs, and CFL bulbs can last up to 10 times as long. Their extended lifetime means fewer trips to the store and bulbs to buy in the long run.
- Today's ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs turn on immediately and do not flicker or buzz. And less waiting means more doing.