Did you know that the bulbs you use at home can be directly contributing to the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

According to Noah Horowitz, the CEES director,

LED bulbs consume a quarter of the energy of incandescent bulbs, yet they are just as bright.

This fact shows why American households should shift away from incandescent bulbs, as a significant amount of power generation still relies on coal and hydro-powered stations.

According to a study dubbed Residential Energy Consumption Survey conducted in 2015 on American households, 71% used some incandescent bulbs (1).

1. Know the Difference between Lumens and Wattage

Shopping around for alternatives to incandescent bulbs like buying a solar-powered flagpole light can be quite a task if you do not know the difference between bulbs that are energy efficient and those that are not. For starters, let’s look at two basic measures used: watts and lumens.

Watts refers to the amount of electricity an electrical device uses. Therefore, bulbs that have high wattage consume more power than those with lower wattage. However, wattage does not directly affect how bright a bulb lights.

Lumen is the unit used to measure visible light from a source. Simply put, it refers to the brightness of the bulb. The general rule is that lumens increase with wattage. But with recent improvements in technology, you can get bulbs with low wattage and high lumens.

Traditional incandescent bulbs show that a typical 60W bulb will have up to 850 lumens. A typical EE 12WLED light will have 850 Lumens.

Incandescent Light Bulb

2. Consider Your Light Bulb’s Placement

Room lights can be both aesthetic and functional, especially when you know the difference between lumens vs lux. However, just as the placement of a solar attic fan on your roof affects airflow, the use of the room will determine the kind of bulbs you purchase.

If you want to light up a task room such as the kitchen, go for bright, energy-efficient LED bulbs. If the room should give off a cool, relaxed feel, consider compact fluorescent lights. These are perfect for spaces such as living rooms. If you want to light up an area to resemble natural, bright lighting, halogen bulbs are your best bet. Bathrooms should have the brightest bulbs you can get.

3. Determine Your Kelvin (Color Temperature)

Yes, a light source can be cool or warm, also known as the color temperature of light. You use Kelvins to measure the color temperature of light. Kelvins simply refer to the whiteness of the light. Low Kelvin rating means that the light will be warm and dim and vice-versa.

A low-temperature bulb gives off soft light akin to that of candlelight. It is warm and gives off ambient sunset feel. Medium temperature bulbs exude neutral white light that tends to be quite bright. High-temperature bulbs are bright, yet soft to mimic natural daylight, and can sometimes be associated with clinical spaces.

Bonus Tip: Bulb Size and Shape

When you decide to shift to energy-efficient bulbs, you will need to re-acquaint yourself with the shape and size of the right bulbs for your fixtures. For starters, the A19 and E26 are the most common shapes in the US, while E27 is standard in Europe.

The last thing you need is to buy replacement bulbs that are not compatible with your fixtures. As such, check the size and shape of the fixtures. This step will guide you in picking the right replacement for your incandescent bulbs.

Note that the size of a bulb refers to the diameter of the bulb’s base.

The base type is as crucial as the size of the bulb, and the widest part of the base determines it. The most common base types are candelabra, intermediate, medium, and twist & lock. Choose the one that best suits your needs.

Final Thoughts

The talk about phasing out incandescent bulbs has been ongoing for the last two decades, but we aren’t there yet. The government is still making progress in fully implementing the EISA law of 2007 (2). But we do not have to wait for the government to ban incandescent bulbs for us to stop using them. While LED and compact fluorescents bulbs cost a little more, they will offer significant cost savings in your power bills.

Interested in other cool energy-saving gadgets? How about considering solar panels for your home?

Looking for practical, and sustainable ways to phase-out your incandescent bulbs today? Check out our best solar gutter lights, best solar charge controllers, or our homepage for our full list of solar gear and equipment.

  1. American households use a variety of lightbulbs as CFL and LED adoption increases – Today in Energy – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Retrieved from: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=31112
  2. Summary of the Energy Independence and Security Act | Laws & Regulations | US EPA. Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-energy-independence-and-security-act