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What Are the Different Types of Environmentally Friendly Light Bulbs?

Autumn Rivers
Updated May 16, 2024
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Eco-friendly light bulbs are considered better for the environment than incandescent bulbs. They save energy, so while they tend to cost more upfront than traditional bulbs, they result in savings on utility bills every month. One of the most popular environmentally friendly light bulbs is the compact fluorescent bulb (CFL), which uses less energy and lasts much longer than incandescent bulbs. Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are also considered energy-efficient lighting, as both the lifespan and light quality are superior. A high-efficiency halogen lamp (HEHL) is another type of eco-friendly light and is often the best type to use with dimmable switches, because it saves energy when dimmed often.

Compact fluorescent bulbs use much less energy than incandescent bulbs, which means they pollute less, because fewer harmful gases are released by these bulbs. This equates to lower electricity bills for homeowners. These bulbs also last longer than traditional bulbs, so while they are more expensive upfront, homeowners usually end up buying fewer bulbs, in general. These environmentally friendly light bulbs last up to 12,000 hours, while the maximum lifespan of incandescent bulbs is closer to 3,000 hours. It should be noted, however, that CFL bulbs dim over time, are not ideal for dimmable fixtures, and make take up to 30 seconds to reach full brightness when switched on.

Other environmentally friendly light bulbs include light-emitting diode bulbs, which last even longer than compact fluorescent bulbs. They also tend to be costlier, and offer a much dimmer light than CFL bulbs. LED bulbs are typically best as task lighting in under-cabinet lights, reading lamps, etc. They also tend to fare well outside, particularly in pathway lighting and porch lights. LED bulbs come in various colors, as well as traditional white light.

Additional options for environmentally friendly light bulbs include high-efficiency halogen lamps. These are best for use in dimmable light fixtures, because they last the longest, compared to other bulbs, when dimmed. Even when they are not dimmed, they have a long lifespan, though not quite as long as CFL bulbs. High-efficiency halogen lamps do not contain mercury, which means these environmentally friendly light bulbs do not have to be carefully recycled when they are dead, as bulbs that contain mercury do. While HEHL bulbs are not the longest lasting eco-friendly light bulbs on the market, they are typically the brightest and are considered friendlier for the environment than incandescent lighting.

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Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for HomeQuestionsAnswered, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By truman12 — On May 16, 2012

One thing to keep in mind is that no matter what kind of light bulb you use, it will always be worse for the environment than using no light bulb at all. Even the most efficient light bulbs draw power that comes from dirty coal. The first step to being truly green is to look at all the things you are lighting up and figure out what you can get rid of.

Another aspect of the equation to consider is that light bulbs are industrial products that are manufactured and shipped around the world. This supply process takes huge amounts of energy. New energy efficient lights are great, but whenever you can just turn the light out.

By summing — On May 15, 2012

I have some LED lights installed under the cabinets in the kitchen. They provide some ambient lighting and light up the counters when you are trying to work.

They were recommended by the architect who designed our new kitchen. He said they would add a lot to the atmosphere and the lights would basically last forever. That was 5 years ago and we have not had to replace a single bulb. We leave the lights on almost all the time but the bulbs last forever.

By backdraft — On May 14, 2012

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are very environmentally friendly as long as they are disposed of properly. This is something that often gets overlooked. They can provide huge energy savings but they also contain mercury which is very harmful if it gets into the soil or groundwater.

In order to ensure that you are being environmentally responsible, make sure that you turn your used CFLs into a designated disposal site. They will dispose of them responsibly and you can have the peace of mind of knowing you have done right by the world.

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for HomeQuestionsAnswered, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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