Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb, patented in 1880, was the mainstay of lighting for over a century. It changed the way the world worked and lived… and destroyed a lot of sleep in the process. For the past decade, though, a quiet revolution in lighting has taken place. LEDs, light-emitting diodes, are the most efficient lights on the market, even better than CFLs, compact fluorescent lights. LEDs use up to 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 25 years. Switching to LEDs as a nation would mean we could save some $14 billion annually and cut the equivalent of emissions from seven million cars. On average, every household would save about $100 a year in electricity bills. Upfront costs tend to be higher, but that is changing as technology improves and options expand. Savings would accrue immediately.
What we can do:
- If we haven’t already, replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs, especially in our lights most used, such as in halls and kitchens.
- If we’re replacing CFLs, make sure these are recycled appropriately, because they contain traces of mercury (Home Depot, for example, will take our old CFLs).