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Choose ENERGY STAR certified light bulbs

Replace 1 incandescent light bulb with an ENERGY STAR certified CFL or LED bulb. The ENERGY STAR label lets you know this bulb is independently certified and has undergone extensive testing to ensure energy savings and performance promises. CFL or LED bulbs are not all the same when it comes to performance. To get the energy efficiency and performance you expect, always look for the ENERGY STAR label.


· Same brightness (lumens) with fewer watts

· Less frequent bulb replacements


An ENERGY STAR certified light bulb uses about 70 to 90 percent less energy and lasts 10-25 times longer. Most ENERGY STAR LED bulbs are "dimmable". Check the package for more information.

Lighting products that have earned the ENERGY STAR deliver exceptional features, while using less energy. Saving energy helps you save money on utility bills and protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the fight against climate change.

The Basics of LED Lighting

What are LEDs and how do they work?

LED stands for light emitting diode. LED lighting products produce light up to 90% more efficiently than incandescent light bulbs. How do they work? An electrical current passes through a microchip, which illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs and the result is visible light. To prevent performance issues, the heat LEDs produce is absorbed into a heat sink.

Lifetime of LED Lighting Products

The useful life of LED lighting products is defined differently than that of other light sources, such as incandescent or compact fluorescent lighting (CFL). LEDs typically do not “burn out” or fail. Instead, they experience ‘lumen depreciation’, wherein the brightness of the LED dims slowly over time. Unlike incandescent bulbs, LED “lifetime” is established on a prediction of when the light output decreases by 30 percent.

How are LEDs Used in Lighting

LEDs are incorporated into bulbs and fixtures for general lighting applications. Small in size, LEDs provide unique design opportunities. Some LED bulb solutions may physically resemble familiar light bulbs and better match the appearance of traditional light bulbs. Some LED light fixtures may have LEDs built in as a permanent light source. There are also hybrid approaches where a non-traditional “bulb” or replaceable light source format is used and specially designed for a unique fixture. LEDs offer a tremendous opportunity for innovation in lighting form factors and fit a wider breadth of applications than traditional lighting technologies.

LEDs and Heat

LEDs use heat sinks to absorb the heat produced by the LED and dissipate it into the surrounding environment. This keeps LEDs from overheating and burning out. Thermal management is generally the single most important factor in the successful performance of an LED over its lifetime. The higher the temperature at which the LEDs are operated, the more quickly the light will degrade, and the shorter the useful life will be.

LED products use a variety of unique heat sink designs and configurations to manage heat. Today, advancements in materials have allowed manufacturers to design LED bulbs that match the shapes and sizes of traditional incandescent bulbs. Regardless of the heat sink design, all LED products that have earned the ENERGY STAR have been tested to ensure that they properly manage the heat so that the light output is properly maintained through the end of its rated life.

How is LED lighting different than other light sources, such as incandescent and Compact Fluorescent (CFL)?

LED lighting differs from incandescent and fluorescent in several ways. When designed well, LED lighting is more efficient, versatile, and lasts longer.

LEDs are “directional” light sources, which means they emit light in a specific direction, unlike incandescent and CFL, which emit light and heat in all directions. That means LEDs are able to use light and energy more efficiently in a multitude of applications. However, it also means that sophisticated engineering is needed to produce a LED light bulb that shines light in every direction.

Common LED colors include amber, red, green, and blue. To produce white light, different color LEDs are combined or covered with a phosphor material that converts the color of the light to a familiar “white” light used in homes. Phosphor is a yellowish material that covers some LEDs. Colored LEDs are widely used as signal lights and indicator lights, like the power button on a computer.

In a CFL, an electric current flows between electrodes at each end of a tube containing gases. This reaction produces ultraviolet (UV) light and heat. The UV light is transformed into visible light when it strikes a phosphor coating on the inside of the bulb.

Incandescent bulbs produce light using electricity to heat a metal filament until it becomes “white” hot or is said to "incandesce". As a result, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat.

Why should I choose ENERGY STAR certified LED lighting products?

There are more lighting options available today than ever before. Despite that, ENERGY STAR is still the simple choice to save on your utility bills.

LED bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR are subject to very specific requirements designed to replicate the experience you are used to with a standard bulb—so they can be used for a wide variety of applications. A general purpose LED bulb that does not qualify for the ENERGY STAR may not distribute light everywhere and could prove to be a disappointment if used in a table lamp.

ENERGY STAR means high quality and performance, particularly in the following areas:

· Color Quality

. 5 different requirements for color to ensure quality up front and over time

· Light Output

. Light output minimums to ensure you get enough light

. Light distribution requirements to ensure the light goes where you need it

. Guidelines for equivalency claims to take the guess-work out of replacement

· Peace of mind

. Verified compliance with more than 20 requirements to address performance and labeling

. Long-term testing to back up lifetime claims

. Testing to stress the products in operating environments similar to how you will use the product in your home

. 3-year minimum warranty requirement

And as with all ENERGY STAR products, certified LED bulbs are subject to random testing every year to ensure they continue to meet the ENERGY STAR requirements.

For more information on how to select an ENERGY STAR certified bulb for each application in your home, view the ENERGY STAR Light Bulb Purchasing Guide

How Do CFLs Work?

CFLs produce light differently than incandescent bulbs. In an incandescent, electric current runs through a wire filament and heats the filament until it starts to glow. In a CFL, an electric current is driven through a tube containing argon and a small amount of mercury vapor. This generates invisible ultraviolet light that excites a fluorescent coating (called phosphor) on the inside of the tube, which then emits visible light.

CFLs need a little more energy when they are first turned on, but once the electricity starts moving, CFLs use about 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs. A CFL’s ballast helps "kick start" the CFL and then regulates the current once the electricity starts flowing.

This entire process typically takes 30 seconds to 3 minutes to complete, which is why CFLs take longer than other lights to become fully lit. CFLs with decorative covers like globe or reflector shapes have a unique design challenge that results in the trade off of a slower warm up time, which is why these CFLs take longer than bare spirals to reach full brightness.

Older CFLs used large and heavy magnetic ballasts that caused a buzzing noise in some bulbs. Most CFLs today — and all ENERGY STAR certified CFLs — use electronic ballasts, which do not buzz or hum.

Purchasing Tips

1. Look for the ENERGY STAR label

2. Decide how much light you need

. Remember that Lumens measure brightness, not Watts

. Learn more about brightness.

3. Check the package for the bulb’s recommended use

. New bulbs are specially designed for certain applications, let the package be your guide!

. Check out our Guide to ENERGY STAR packaging

4. Think about the mood or ambiance you want from your light

. Choose a light color from warm to cool for your needs.

. Learn more about color and mood or ambiance.

How Do I Get the Most from my CFLs?

Do the twist: Screw in your CFL by holding the ballast (the white plastic part), NOT the glass tubing.

Don’t flip too fast: You’ll maximize the lifetime savings and effectiveness of your CFLs by keeping them on for 15 minutes or more at a time.

Choose 3 for 3 : Only use bulbs labeled as three-way on three-way sockets.

Don’t dim a non-"dimmable": Only use bulbs labeled as "dimmable" on dimmer switches.

Check your controls: Most photocells, motion sensors and electric timers are not designed to work with CFLs. Always check with the manufacturer of the control for compatibility.

Give them air: CFLs are sensitive to extreme temperatures, so place your CFLs in open fixtures indoors. Using them in enclosed fixtures indoors can create a hot environment that reduces the lifetime of your bulbs. Note that covered reflectors are best used in recessed cans.

Protect them outside: Protect bulbs from the elements by placing them inside enclosed fixtures outdoors. For colder climates, look at the packaging for optimal operating temperatures.

Lighting Made Easy: Brighten our planet's future with ENERGY STAR®

Even with all the new lighting choices, saving money on your electricity bill is still simple: Look for the ENERGY STAR for energy savings. No matter the technology or the performance claims, only bulbs with the ENERGY STAR label meet strict guidelines for efficiency and performance that set them apart.

Look for the ENERGY STAR: Energy star means high quality and performance. Bulbs with the label have been independently certified and undergone extensive testing.

ENERGY STAR certified bulbs use less energy, so they cost less to operate than standard incandescent bulbs. And less energy means fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

· Use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs

· Save over $80 in energy bills

· Provide the same brightness (lumens) with less energy (watts)

· Last 15-25 times longer than incandescent bulbs

· Help protect the environment and prevent climate change

Choosing the Right Brightness & Color: Instead of watts, look for lumens to measure the brightness of the bulb. More lumens = more light

Look for the light output you need to match the brightness of your old incandescent bulbs. Watts measure the amount of electricity a bulb needs to operate. ENERGY STAR certified bulbs provide the same brightness (lumens) with less energy (watts).

ENERGY STAR bulbs are available in a wide range of colors. Light color, or appearance, matches a temperature on the Kelvin scale (K). Lower K means warmer, yellowish light, while higher K means cooler, bluer light.

ENERGY STAR certified bulbs last 15-25 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs.

· 1 9-watt LED ENERGY STAR certified light bulb. Total cost: $18

· 15 43-watt incandescent light bulbs. Total cost: $99

· 1 ENERGY STAR certified light bulb prevents 780 lbs. of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime.

Impact of ENERGY STAR: Lighting an average home can use more energy than your laundry equipment, refrigerator, and dishwasher combined.

· The average household has approximately 70 light bulbs.

· Nearly 60% of light bulb sockets in the U.S. still contain inefficient bulbs.

If every household replaced just one light bulb with one that has earned the ENERGY STAR we would save enough energy to light 3.5 million homes for a whole year and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 640,000 vehicles.

Learn more at

EPA’s ENERGY STAR program provides simple tips and information to help you save energy and money, and protect the climate.

Source: Energy Star

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