There was a time when the light bulb section of your local store was expanding. You will notice that it’s not shrinking again — incandescent light bulbs are well on their way out. They’ve been replaced by bulbs that are longer-lasting, brighter, and most importantly, much more energy efficient!
The United States Department of Energy conducted a very comprehensive assessment of the environmental impact of all kinds of lightbulbs, but it’s extremely long. Let’s break it down for you. First, here’s a chart that breaking down how much use you get out of each bulb:
Pretty simple, right? LED lightbulbs perform better than all others – with a few caveats. They are not quite as bright as others and they do not give off the heat that an incandescent bulb does (typically a negative anyway). They also cost more – in some instances ten times as much as a CFL bulb, which can be an initial hurdle. However, they use much less energy which is a better scenario in the long run.
The DoE went one step further, and broke down the energy consumption of a lightbulb through its entire lifespan. This includes usage (about 90%), transportation, packaging and manufacturing.
LED lightbulbs may use more resources in production, but they are by far the most energy efficient bulb on the market and will last much longer than any other bulb. Don’t know which bulb to buy? Check out the always trust and entertaining Apartment Therapy’s Best of the Bulbs: 2013 LED Light Bulb Buyer’s Guide.