LED bulbs offer one of the most effective and affordable ways we can save energy and money. The best LED bulbs are those that have been independently certified to meet ENERGY STAR criteria to deliver the high quality and performance consumers want and have a right to expect. The difference is so significant that today, ENERGY STAR is launching a public education effort to educate consumers about why ENERGY STAR-certified LEDs make such a difference. They’ve even produced a set of three very funny videos so you won’t be a “dim bulb” when you go light bulb shopping! (That’s Floyd, below, whose non-certified LED was so dim, he picked up the wrong detonator).
FIRST, WHY SHIFT TO LEDS?
Here’s what Helga has learned about LEDs.
Energy-efficient lighting technology is a great way to reduce pollution, help stop climate change, improve our health and help us save money. That’s especially true of bulbs that use LEDs, also known as light emitting diodes.
Reduce Air Pollution – LED bulbs help reduce air pollution, making the air healthier to breathe for kids and others who suffer from asthma, heart disease and many respiratory ailments.
Most household energy still comes from coal-burning power plants. About 12% of the energy we use at home powers our lighting, like ceiling fixtures, under-counter lights, and table and bedside lamps. An LED uses 70-90% less energy than a standard bulb, limiting the need to burn that much more coal.
Stop Climate Change – Speaking of energy, if every household replaced just one light bulb with one that has earned the ENERGY STAR, we would save enough energy to light two million homes for a whole year. We would also prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 550,000 vehicles. LEDs are a terrific solution to climate change.
Save Money – Any time we save energy, we save money. Though an LED bulb costs a little more up front, it saves a whole lot more during the life of the bulb. According to ENERGY STAR, a single LED bulb can save $80 in electricity costs over the lifetime of the product.
PLUS – LED technology is so efficient, one bulb can last as long as 22 years or 25,000 hours. That’s particularly convenient for hard-to-reach places like ceilings and outdoor fixtures.
Why Prefer ENERGY STAR- Certified LED BULBS? BETTER QUALITY, MORE SAVINGS!
Some LEDs claim to save energy but fall far short when it comes to what they actually deliver. ENERGY STAR means high quality and reliable performance, particularly in the following areas:
• Long Lasting: ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs are put through rigorous long term testing to simulate real life use and carry a minimum 3 year warranty. That’s why one LED bulb can last more than 20 years!
• Light Distribution: LED bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR will match the light distribution of the incandescent bulbs they advertise they are replacing.
• Color Quality: 6 different color metrics are used to make sure that consumers get the best color quality from the first day of purchase to after years of use.
• Dimmability: All ENERGY STAR certified bulbs must indicate on the front of the package whether or not they are dimmable. If they are, a list of compatible dimmers must be provided.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR AN LED BULB TO GET ENERGY STAR CERTIFIED?
All ENERGY STAR certified lighting products are subject to thorough testing and review before they can bear the label, including:
o Verified compliance with more than 20 separate industry standards and procedures
o Third-party testing of products off the retail shelf
o Rapid cycling of bulbs thousands of times to find early failures
o Testing to stress the products in operating environments similar to how you will use the product in your home
With 70% of U.S. light sockets still containing inefficient bulbs, the potential is huge for American consumers to find lighting options that save them energy, money and help protect the environment from climate change. LED bulbs are quickly gaining steam as the most innovative and long lasting alternative to incandescent bulbs.
WHAT DO ENERGY STAR-CERTIFIED LED BULBS COST?
ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs are experiencing dramatic changes in price. At some stores you can now buy an ENERGY STAR LED bulb for as low as $5 with in-store rebates. But remember, even if the bulb costs $10, it will save you $80 in reduced electricity costs over its lifetime.
Look for the label on the package. Here it is on the most recent LED I got.
WANT MORE INFORMATION?
ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voluntary program that has been helping businesses and individuals save money and protect our air and climate through superior energy efficiency for over 20 years.
To learn more about ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs, visit www.energystar.gov/led.
NOTE: I am a long-time advocate of energy efficiency and LED technology. I work as a consultant to help educate the public about the importance of buying ENERGY STAR-certified LED bulbs, but my expert opinion remains my own.