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3 Green Lighting Choices LED vs Halogen vs CFL… What’s The Difference?

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By Joshua

A little while ago, I wrote about the green lighting alternatives that have been coming to light (no pun intended) since the ban against some incandescent light bulbs took effect on January 1, 2014.

For the record, the Incandescent Light Bulb Ban essentially does away with 100-watt, 75-watt, 60-watt, and 40-watt bulbs. At this point, low- and high-watt incandescent bulbs, decorative, and other types of specialty lighting are not affected.


Many homeowners are feeling the pinch because the green lighting alternatives available cost more upfront than the 30-cent incandescent light bulbs that most of us grew up using.


Choosing Green Lighting Alternatives

My fiancée and I are moving into a condominium together and most of the lighting fixtures need new light bulbs, which presents us with the opportunity for a household-wide upgrade of the existing incandescent lighting to more energy efficient lighting.

While we may keep low-wattage incandescent lighting for a 1980s-vintage Hollywood bathroom vanity mirror (remember when those were en vogue?), it makes economic sense for us over the long term to upgrade the 40-watt and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs to cleaner, greener fluorescent lighting that will provide us energy savings and help keep more green in our pockets.

Of course, what works best for us may not be the solution that best suits your home.

So, what are all of the green lighting alternatives, and how do you know which is the right one for you?

These are the 3 green light bulb options that most Americans are turning to:


#1 – CFL Lighting (Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs)

CFL lighting is not a new concept for many U.S. households. Philips first introduced the modern screw-in CFL light bulb in 1980, and many Americans have been gradually transitioning toward CFL lighting in the years since.

It’s not hard to see why – CFLs use as little as 1/5th the power of a comparable incandescent light bulb, and they last 8 to 15 times longer, too.

Of course, there is the steeper upfront purchase price, which is why millions of Americans had still been opting to purchase the incandescent light bulb instead of buying CFLs.

In the long run, CFL light bulbs are much cheaper to operate than incandescent light bulbs, and you will see that payoff in your electric bills.


#2 – Halogen Lighting

Halogen light bulbs are actually considered incandescent lighting, but they’re much more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and therefore are not subject to the incandescent light bulb ban that affects the conventional light bulbs.

Halogen lighting is also less expensive than CFL lighting, and that is one reason why many choose halogen light bulbs over fluorescent lighting.

However, halogen light bulbs burn much hotter than fluorescent light bulbs do, and they can cause burns and fires if the bulbs are not handled properly or are placed too close to flammable objects — such as upholstered furniture, curtains, and clothing.


#3 – LED Lighting (Light Emitting Diode Bulbs)

The new kid on the green lighting alternatives block is LED lighting.

While it is presently the most expensive household lighting option available from the standpoint of upfront costs (expect to pay $10 to $50 for a screw-in light bulb to replace your 30-cent incandescent light bulb), the long-term savings are undeniable.

Consider the following:

  • LED light bulbs have an average lifespan of 30,000 hours. That means an LED light bulb that is used for 4 hours a day, every day, will last more than 20 years.
  • LED light bulbs produce light more efficiently – one manufacturer claims its 16-watt LED light is as bright as a 150-watt halogen bulb.

Some lighting aficionados will point out that LEDs don’t throw out light in all directions like other types of light bulbs do. In general, an LED bulb directs a very focal beam of  light, and that is why many screw-in LED bulbs are actually composed of several LEDs – to create the same ambient lighting that incandescent bulbs, CFLs, and halogen lightbulbs produce.

LED lighting is, indeed, still enduring some growing pains as it continues to permeate the mainstream residential lighting market. However, LED is among the most promising of the green lighting alternatives in terms of energy consumption and long-term money savings. As prices come down on LED light bulbs, more and more homeowners are sure to embrace this “cool” lighting technology.

Must read:  LED Bulbs vs CFL Bulbs: What’s The Difference… And The Cost Savings?