Eco Friendly Light Bulbs

Eco friendly light bulbs offer an excellent alternative to traditional bulbs.

The use of standard electric light bulbs are a major drain on energy within the household. Lighting is said to account for between 10 and 15 percent of the energy use of a household.

The Use of Light Bulbs

The traditional light bulb actually hasn't changed much over the years, and varies very little from the early light bulbs. At one time, the bringing of light into a household was a major step forward and the use of electricity to light a house was highly prized. Over the years our usage pattern of electric lighting has changed. Today it is very much taken for granted and the amount of energy used in lighting has increased significantly in recent years. Although usage of lighting has changed, the technology hasn't and the incandescent bulbs that were invented over a century ago are still commonly used today. These bulbs are very inefficient, converting only about 5 percent of the energy they receive into light.

Domestic Usage

The good news is that there is a real positive alternative to old style incandescent light bulbs. New technologies have resulted in energy saving light bulbs, known as CFL's. CFL stands for compact fluorescent lamp and these work in a similar manner to traditional fluorescent bulbs. Not only are CFL bulbs as reliable as traditional light bulbs, they are also longer lasting AND use less energy. Energy Star qualified CFL bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer, making a significant contribution to an energy efficient home. This double whammy has a positive effect on the household budget and significant savings are reported when the move to eco friendly bulbs is made - a household could save $30 over the course of every light bulb's life.

Council Usage

It is not just households that benefit from these new generation CFL light bulbs. Councils are saving money by moving to eco friendly light bulbs. Paris is famous for the lighting of the Champs-Elysee each Christmas and in 2007 is predicted to save 70 percent off the electric bill through the switch to energy efficient light bulbs. Many councils are switching their street lighting to energy efficient bulbs, giving the added benefit that the longer lasting bulbs need to be changed less often.

Types of Energy Efficient Bulbs

In the past many people have been put off by energy efficient bulbs because of their appearance. The classic design of the traditional light bulb has become an icon. The utilitarian appearance of some of the older style energy efficient bulbs put off buyers wanting these bulbs for domestic use. There is now, however, a wide range and selection of energy efficient bulbs and the traditional light bulb shape has been replicated in addition to a wide range of other styles and sizes. The new bulbs are also available with different fittings to ensure that they can be used in all lighting appliances.

Buying Eco Friendly Light Bulbs

New generation light bulbs are now becoming commonplace and are available from most retailers of old style light bulbs. There are also specialist stores who focus on energy efficient devices. Keep a look out for Energy Star products. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that helps household save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. The Energy Star label appears on products such as energy efficient light bulbs that meet stringent standards.

Energy Star requires all manufacturers of light bulbs within the program to be guaranteed for a minimum of two years.

Major Changes

It is reported by the IEA (International Energy Agency) that a global switch to efficient lighting systems would trim the world's electricity bill by nearly one-tenth.

Already some countries are moving towards phasing out incandescent bulbs. Canada and Australia are both working towards this and a number of U.S. states are considering proposals to phase out or reduce their usage of old style bulbs. In the UK, voluntary measures are being introduced by retailers who are phasing out the sale of old style bulbs.


It appears that eco friendly bulbs offer a really positive alternative and the ability to combine energy saving with money saving without the need to resort to solar or wind power is definitely worth looking into further.

Useful Resources:

  • EDF.org - The Environmental Defense website offers a searchable list of eco friendly light bulbs and makes recommendations based on individual requirements.
  • LampRecycle.org - Offers information about recycling bulbs.
  • Wikipedia.org - Information and tables about low energy light bulbs.
Eco Friendly Light Bulbs