previous
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • The Hobbit House and More
    The Hobbit House and More
  • Deck Design & Construction
    Deck Design & Construction
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • The Passive House Build
    The Passive House Build
  • Remodeling in Action
    Remodeling in Action
  • Shorten a Prehung Door
    Shorten a Prehung Door
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets
  • Buyer's Guide to Insulation
    Buyer's Guide to Insulation
  • Electrical Articles & Videos
    Electrical Articles & Videos
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Video: Build a curved step
    Video: Build a curved step
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • Play the Inspector Game!
    Play the Inspector Game!
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • How to Install Housewrap Solo
    How to Install Housewrap Solo
next
Pin It

Energy-Saving Lightbulbs

Incandescent bulbs are changing quickly to keep up with more-efficient, longer-lasting competitors

Shopping for lightbulbs isn't the simple task it used to be. Incandescent bulbs now compete with compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), both of which are more expensive but also more energy efficient and longer lasting. To understand the array of lightbulbs now on store shelves, architect Paul DeGroot looks at the three categories of lights in detail. Manufacturers have increased the efficiency of incandescents by adapting an old technology: the quartz-halogen light. These new-generation incandescents are about twice as expensive as older incandescents but should last longer and pay for themselves in energy savings. DeGroot acknowledges CFLs' shortcomings--high prices, slow response, harsh color, and inability to dim--but he says that the best of today's CFLs have overcome those problems. The final category, LEDs, has the most expensive bulbs, but these are also the most efficient and longest lasting. DeGroot gives detailed information on 11 specific bulbs, then includes a chart with information on 26 bulbs, including lumens, price, expected life span, and approximate payback. In a sidebar, he writes about what some erroneously believe is an impending government ban on incandescent bulbs, explaining that the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires a higher level of efficiency but does not prohibit the manufacture and sale of incandescents.

Energy-Saving Lightbulbs

Become a Fine Homebuilding Member

to view this article and over a thousand more

Learn More