Jan 252015
LED bulbs are better!

How Light Bulbs Work

Our post about LED light bulbs generated a lot of interest on our Climate for Real Facebook page, and some of the questions led us to believe people wanted more information about how different kinds of light bulbs worked. The reality is that there are a lot of different light bulbs. Some are better suited for different applications than others, but some might be chosen because they are more durable, don’t produce as much heat, or don’t use as much electricity.

How Do Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Work?

Of course, individuals and businesses are being urged to switch out old light bulbs in favor of more energy efficient light bulbs. If everybody did this, the US could save billions in dollars in energy costs a year. In order to understand how energy-efficient light bulbs work, it helps to understand how all bulbs work. Even though the newer and more energy-efficient bulbs work differently, they are better at converting electricity to light instead of heat.

Incandescent Light Bulbs

The production of almost all incandescent light bulbs has stopped in the US and other countries, but they will probably still be on the market for awhile as inventory as cleared. Even though they are less efficient than other kinds of light bulbs, some people mourn their passing because they tend to produce a brighter and something that many people consider more natural light. It may be that this kind of indoor lighting is what people are used to, and that is why they are considered more natural.

By the way, halogen lights, typically found on car headlamps, are also going extinct in the US. It is just going to take longer. Halogen lights are also a type of incandescent light bulb.

How do incandescent light bulbs work? Electricity passes through a metal filament wire and create a glow.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs

The first attempt to replace incandescent bulbs was with CFLs, or compact fluorescent lights. They really weren’t as well accepted as the government hoped because they failed to last as long as promised and don’t produce the kind of light people are used to. Apparently, warm bulbs are closer to incandescent. They may use 20 to 30 percent less power for the same light as incandescent bulbs.

How do fluorescent light bulbs work? Fluorescent bulbs produce light because an arc of electricity passes between the bulb’s cathodes and excited mercury or other gasses to create radiant energy. Radiant energy gets converted to visible light by the bulb’s phosphor coating.

High-Intensity Discharge, or HID Light Bulbs

Sometimes these bulbs are also called xenon bulbs. They produce more light with less power, and they are also supposed to stay a lot cooler to the touch. They are supposed to be much more durable than regular bulbs as well. The argument against them is the light isn’t pleasing for indoor applications, and they are usually used for outdoor lighting or vehicle headlamps.

How do HID light bulbs work? These bulbs work by passing an arc of electricity through gas, usually xenon, between cathodes. There is no filament, so they don’t tend to “burn out” like old-fashioned bulbs.

LED Light Bulbs, or Light Emitting Diodes

LED bulbs are better!

LED vs. CFL vs. Incandescent vs. HID

These are the most efficient kind of light bulb, and they are also advertised as the most durable. They are used for indoor applications, but it helps to do some research to try to find the type of LED bulb that produces the kind of light that is favorable for a room.

How do LED light bulbs work? They actually work by passing energy into a chemical “chip” that converts electricity into light.

If we left any light bulbs off in this list of how light bulbs work, let us know!


American Lighting Association: http://www.americanlightingassoc.com/Lighting-Fundamentals/Light-Sources-Light-Bulbs.aspx

Myths about Incandescent Bulbs: http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA628.html



Dec 202014
LED bulbs are better!

Why Are LED Light Bulbs Better?

When we say LED light bulbs are a brighter idea, we mean that they are smarter over the long run. However, LED bulbs are expensive, so consider some reasons why you’ll end up conserving energy and saving money in the long run by making the investment.

Nobody is trying to convince you to run out and replace every light bulb in your home or office with this more modern light bulb today, but there is a good case to be made that it is sensible to replace burnt out light bulbs with LED bulbs. After you finally discard your last CFL or incandescent light bulb, you are not likely to miss them.

LED Bulbs Emit Less Heat

LED bulbs are better!


With traditional incandescent bulbs, soon to be dinosaurs in the US, and with CFL bulbs, much more of the energy gets emitted as heat than light. With an LED bulb, heat gets trapped, and they actually feel cool to the touch when they’re turned on. Energy gets used more efficiently, and additional heat does not get added to the ambient temperature of a room.

LED Bulbs are Cheaper in the Long Run

Department of Energy comparison tests clearly generated that LEDs save money even when the additional cost gets considered. Consider some numbers from these DOE studies:

  • Estimated average energy costs a year: Incandescent: $4.80; CFL: $1.20; LED: $1.00
  • Lifespans: Incandescent: 1,000 hours; CFL: 10,000 hours; LED: 25,000 hours

Yes, LEDs cost considerably more than incandescent bulbs and somewhat more than CFLs. Many users of CFL bulbs found that they never really enjoyed the advertised lifespans from these newer bulbs, and that may be because they tend to overheat and malfunction. This is not a problem with cool LED lights.

Besides, an LED does not cost 25 times as much as an incandescent, but it is expected to last 25 times as long and use almost 80 percent less power. It should last at least 2.5 times longer than an CFL, and possibly much more and use about 20 percent less power. Meanwhile LEDs may cost twice as much as CFLs today, but the price is coming down as they gain popularity.

LED Bulbs Are Safe to Dispose

CFLs contain mercury, and this is a big toxic no-no to throw away in the trash. Most people don’t know this, so they do it anyway. LED bulbs are considered safe for recycling or general waste. Producing LED bulbs also has less of a carbon footprint than producing CFL bulbs.

If Everybody Switched to LED, the Planet Would Be Greener

What if everybody made the switch? Well, the planet would be greener if not brighter. If the US switched to LED lighting within the next 20 years, the EPA tells us that would result in a savings of $250 billion. If everybody changed their light bulbs by tomorrow mornings, yearly electric budgets could be reduced by $37 billion a year starting the next day.

Dec 112014
LED bulbs are better!

You know what they say, environmentalism begins at home. Indeed, a large percentage of greenhouse gasses come from the energy used by homes. If everybody just did a couple of things to reduce their own house’s carbon footprint, it would add up over time. Better yet, these 5 ways to reduce carbon footprints at home do not reduce the quality of your life and are very simple. In fact, once you try them, you might wonder why you never did them before.

1. Buy Local Food

This is pretty shocking, but WorldWatch Institute says that the average food travels 1,500 miles between its source and its market. Also, if you can buy food that is both grown locally and grown in its season, you can reduce the amount of energy needed to transport it and enjoy cheaper food prices. Besides, fresh food that is harvested in season tastes great.

2. Improve Home Insulation

This could be as simple as sealing up drafts under doors and around windows with weather stripping. Adding adequate insulation to an attic is a bit bigger of a project, but it also tends to be one of the projects that pays for itself quickly. Your house should be cheaper to heat and cool and more comfortable. You can visit the Environmental Protection Agency at EPA.gov for lots of tips on adding insulation yourself.

LED bulbs are better!


3. Change Lightbulbs to LED

Those CFL bulbs never really worked out as well as they were supposed to. At least, the promised long lifespans never really materialized for most people who used them. Add to that the fact that CFL bulbs contain mercury and shouldn’t be disposed of in regular trash, and the investment hardly seems worth it. LED bulbs cost more, but they can be disposed of in regular trash, provide very nice light, and actually do last longer.

You don’t have to buy enough for your whole house at one time, but you could make it a habit to replace burnt out bulbs with LED versions. Forbes Magazine says that the old-style incandescent bulbs are no longer being made in the US, but you may still find them on the shelves for awhile. Still, you might as well skip the line and move up to LED.

4. Ditch Disposable Water Bottles

The worst thing to do is buy imported water in disposable water bottles if you can avoid it. Not only do you have the waste from the water bottle, you have water that was transported from far away when you could have gotten it out of a tap.

Even in the US, it takes 20 billion barrels of oil to produce plastic water bottles, and there are concerns that these products leech chemicals into the water and into the environment after disposal. According to Earth Sense, Americans use an average of over 200 disposable water bottles each every year, and most of them end up in landfills, not being recycled!

The tap water quality in the US is usually high for most regions. If you don’t find yours adequate, you could install a filter or buy larger quantities of pure local water in large reusable containers. Buy reusable water bottles and wash them out. You’ll find it costs less in the long run, your water will taste just fine, and you can enjoy all sorts of quality bottles.



The WorldWatch Institute: http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6064

EPA: http://www.epa.gov/greenhomes/attic.htm

Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/trulia/2014/04/25/led-vs-cfl-which-bulb-is-best/

Earthsense: https://earthsense.wordpress.com/category/disposable-water-bottle/