For most people, here are our lightbulb choices:
- Incandescent: makes light by passing an electric current through a tungsten filament until the filament glows. These are not very energy efficient.
- CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) and Fluorescent: an electric arc causes mercury and other gases to glow. CFL bulbs are more energy efficient than incandescents and last longer. Unfortunately, they contain mercury which makes a broken fluorescent hazardous.
- LED (Light Emitting Diodes): these make light by applying voltage to negatively charged semiconductors, which causes electrons to create light in the form of a photon. They have the longest life and lowest energy use so far.
- HID (High Intensity Discharge): an electric arc causes metallic additives to vaporize and create light. This type of bulb gives off an intense but unpleasing light, and thus is often use in street lights.
LED’s are the winner! As heard on NPR, companies out there are making LEDs more affordable and desirable to families and homes.
MOM’s switched our track lighting to LEDs in the summer of 2011, to cut our energy consumption. It amazes me that making a lightbulb change, whether in a store or home, can save so much energy!
Want to learn more? This website has more details about different lightbulbs.