So now that you’ve changed out all your incandescent bulbs for flourescent, get ready for LED lightbulbs which have hit a home run in light quality and savings.
Flourescents seemed to be the answer to our energy and environmental concerns. The price is right, I’ve seen them on the shelf recently for 99 cents a piece, and they’re easy enough to screw into existing lamps. The big problem is the small amount of mercury, a neurotoxin which is especially dangerous for children and fetuses. We haven’t come up with an effective way to recycle them. “The problem with the bulbs is that they’ll before they get to the landfill. They’ll break in a home or containers, or they’ll break in a dumpster or they’ll break in the trucks. Workers may be exposed to very high levels of mercury when that happens,” says John Skinner, executive director of the Solid Waste Association of North America, the trade group for the people who handle trash and recycling. Skinner says when bulbs break near homes, they can contaminate soil.
Are LED bulbs the answer? The new solid state designs will be twice as efficient as the touted flourescent bulbs and ten times as efficient as incandescent bulbs. To put it in perspective, current models can deliver 12 hours of light per day over an entire year for only 80 cents. They last ten years and NO MERCURY problem. Over the bulb’s lifetime they should provide a consumer $370 savings (per bulb) in energy costs.
One additional benefit of LED lighting is color. Solid state lights can produce a richer more full color than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. This can not only help with visibility, but has been shown to psychologically improve mood among many. I’m all for better moods!
This fall the Department of Energy (DOE) will begin certifying LED designs with its Energy Star certification.
Maybe the coolest thing (to me) about LEDs is that LED are my initials!!!