Erin Doman on July 20, 2016 0 Comments The incandescent light bulb phase out began Jan. 1, 2014 under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. These traditional bulbs no longer meet energy standards and stores were required to begin phasing them out. All new bulbs being manufactured must use 25-30 percent less energy than Edison’s light bulb of the past. Right about now, you are probably feeling the effects of this phase out. As your incandescent bulbs are slowing fading out one by one, you must decide what alternative is best for you, how to switch to that higher-efficiency option and how to recycle your burnt-out lights. Reinvent Your Interior and Exterior Lighting Here CFL, Halogen or LED Lights? You have a few different replacement options: CFL, Halogen and LED. CFLs, while efficient and inexpensive, are not dimmable and contain mercury, which is a deal breaker for many people. Halogen bulbs are closest to incandescent in that they have a similar energy profile, burn out after a year and don’t produce long-term savings. An LED is a light-emitting diode that illuminates when an electrical current traveling in one direction passes through it. The advancements in LED technology have grown at a rapid pace. You no longer have to pay a fortune for LED bulbs and they now produce both warm and cool light. Light fixtures are being built exclusively with LEDs and they can be used in almost any application. Advantages of Switching to LED LED bulbs lead the way in energy efficiency, energy costs and environmental impact. In addition, LED lights contain zero mercury, are RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) compliant and the carbon dioxide emissions are lower than both CFLs and incandescent light bulbs by a long shot. There is no sensitivity to low temperatures or humidity, they turn on instantly and are super durable. Environmental Impact: While incandescent bulbs convert 10 percent of energy into light, LED lights convert 90 percent, according to The Environmental Protection Agency. Where does the rest of the energy go? It’s wasted as heat and adds stress to the atmosphere and your A/C unit. Efficiency: Another major advantage to LED lights is that they last at least a decade in many cases – five to ten times longer than other available styles of bulbs. The average lifespan ranges from 25,000-50,000 hours and depending on the application, an LED bulb can last up to 100,000 hours. Monetary Savings: Consumers no longer have to pay $30-$50 for an LED bulb. The cost has dropped considerably and now you can expect to spend between $8 and $20 depending on the type you choose. At first, you might not consider these prices to be that cheap, but you have to look at the big picture. Possible rebates, incentives and tax credits might also be available when switching to LED lights. Maintenance Savings: Lighting accounts for 20 percent of the electric bill, according to Energy Star. If you replace 20 incandescent bulbs with LEDs, your savings could surpass $3,000 in 20+ years. Take your LED’s average lifespan and compare that to 1,200 hours for incandescent and 8,000 for CFLs. Add that to the total cost of electricity used and you will find that LED lights save you quite a bit of money in the end. Begin the Migration Because the cost of LED lights has dramatically decreased, they have become affordable alternatives for the average household. Aesthetically pleasing options were once limited, but lighting manufacturers are catching on and producing gorgeous and functional pieces designed with LED integration. LED light output is called lumens. The higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb. A 450 lumen LED is the equivalent of about 40W. LED color temperatures are measured in Kelvins; the higher the K, the cooler the light. You can achieve a warm, yellowy glow with 1000K LED. The cool light of 8000K gives off a crisper feel. You might consider a higher Kelvin for your undercounter lights and a lower K for your dining room chandelier. How to Recycle Old Non-LED Bulbs From table lamps and ceiling fixtures to fan and landscape lighting, the average American household averages 40 light bulb sockets. When a bulb burns out, it’s important to your health and the environment to properly recycle it. The type of bulb you have will determine how it should be disposed. Incandescent and Halogen Bulbs: When disposing of your bulb, put it in a bag and gently place inside the garbage can. There are no recycling programs for incandescent and halogen bulbs. You can also repurpose old lightbulbs DIY style by turning them into wall art, ornaments, vases, terrariums and other craft projects. Holiday string lights should be sent to a recycling center for the reuse of wiring and cords. CFLs and Fluorescent Tubes: The FDA and EPA state that CFLs are not dangerous. However, because these types of bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, there are more stringent state regulations on recycling. But you can’t just toss a CFL into the recycle bin and be on your way. When these bulbs break, mercury is released into the air. Many states prohibit by law fluorescents from being discarded into landfills. These states include: California Washington New Hampshire Massachusetts Maine Vermont Minnesota Even if your state doesn’t mandate fluorescent lights to be recycled, it’s the right thing to do for the sake of your health and the environment. Mercury exposure can be detrimental to human health and cause adults’ speech impairment, extreme weakness and loss of coordination; it can also cause developmental problems in unborn babies. Many cities have a local drop off location through the local hazardous waste management facility. Large home improvement retailers often provide recycling services, and some bulb manufacturers sell recycling kits that allow you to mail in used bulbs. Not only are fluorescents recycled due to the dangers of mercury, but the glass and metals can be reused. Be cautious when handling the bulbs and if they break, take extra precaution in cleanup. Broken bulbs must be recycled as well. The inventors of the blue LED were awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize for their light being energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. This blue light joins red and green as the last piece of the puzzle necessary to bring LEDs to the mass market. While incandescent bulbs lit the 20th century, LED lights will continue to illuminate the 21st.