Let There Be Light
At TreeHugger, we've been writing about ways to make lighting more energy efficient for years. Not because it's the most important things to do to reduce your footprint (more important things including: signing up for Green Power with your utility company, buying as little stuff as possible and making it last, and using your feet, your bike, or public transit to get around). But changing a few lightbulbs is quick and easy enough that there's no excuse not to do it (as long as it's not the only thing you do).Incandescent -> CFL -> LED
In the past few years, there's been a big revolution in lighting, and a second one is starting to gather steam. We first went from incandescent lightbulbs, which are extremely inefficient and don't last long, to more efficient and longer-lasting compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs), and now we're starting to move toward light emitting diodes (LEDs), which are very efficient, mercury-free, and last an incredibly long time. Consumer LED bulbs aren't quite mature yet - like early CFLs, they can be expensive and have color issues - but they are getting there.
The latest mainstream offering is by CREE. It's a 10.5-watt downlight producing 575 lumens. It can replace a 65-watt traditional downlight while using only 16% of the energy. The estimated lifetime of the CREE bulb is 35,000 hours, or about 30 years!
According to CREE, there are about 20 million downlights sold every year in the U.S. and there are 500 million already installed. So that's a lot of potential energy savings.
Where You Can Get It
The CREE downlight is sold under the EcoSmart brand by Home Depot for $50. Still more expensive than most people would prefer, but if you look at it for the longer term, taking into account how long it's going to last and how much electricity it can save over its life, it start to look a lot cheaper.
Via Greentech, Home Depot
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