LIGHT SWITCH: People are looking for new ways to light their homes as a law soon makes incandescent light bulbs a thing of the past

Stores will soon pull the plug on selling the incandescent bulbs to make way for more energy efficient models. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires all stores to phase out selling the traditional bulbs between 2012 and 2014.

It has homeowners looking for new ways to light their homes. Debbie Boyers says, “I think the new lights are confusing.”

Julie Youngblade with JY Designs in Ankeny is busy helping clients like Boyers shed light on the new lighting options before the law takes effect in January 2012. She says, “They want 30 percent more efficient bulbs being used on the market.”

Youngblade says you have three options when it comes to energy efficiency, including compact fluorescent lights, or CFL’s. Youngblade says, “We’ve seen that push over the last several years to be purchasing those. But, there are other choices out there.”

Youngblade says some people don’t like CFL’s because the bulbs contain a small amount of mercury and have to be recycled and cleaned up properly if they break. She says cfl’s work well in certain spots of the home. She says, “If it’s an area with a kitchen or family room where the lights are on for more than 15 minutes, that’s a very good choice for that location.”

Youngblade says a new choice are halogen lights for the home. She says this option only meets the minimum energy requirements, but are similar to the bulbs you’re used to using. She says, “The light output acts like an incandescent. It’s dimable. Also, there’s no recycling issues with that bulb.”

LED’s, or light emitting diodes, are the most energy efficient. This option uses 75 percent less energy and lasts 35 to 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Youngblade says, “LED technology is still developing. It’s changing almost every 10 to 12 weeks. We’re seeing new generation LED out on the market.”

As for the cost, halogen bulbs are the cheapest at about a $1.50 a bulb. CFL’s are in the $6 range. LED’s cost $20 to $40 a light, but last the longest.

Click here for more information about CFL recycling and clean up from the EPA.

Julie Youngblade offers more energy efficient lighting advice here.

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