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Since the invention of the lightbulb over a century ago, there have been vast improvements in efficacy and longevity for modern-day lighting options. But this energy-efficient LED bulb bucks the trend — driving down your costs as you live smarter. Light-emitting diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) bulbs have revolutionized the energy-efficient lighting industry. Their development has had a profound impact on every aspect of illumination, from standard household bulbs to advanced medical equipment, televisions, cameras, and more.

CFLs are simply miniature versions of full-sized fluorescents. They screw into standard lamp sockets and give off light that looks similar to the common incandescent bulbs— not like the fluorescent lighting we associate with factories and schools.

LED (light-emitting diode) lighting is a rapidly advancing technology that has recently come down in cost to the point where it is energy efficient, high quality, and affordable for a wide range of applications.

What Are Energy Efficient Lightbulbs?

Unlike traditional light bulbs, energy-saving bulbs use substantially less electricity to achieve the same amount of brightness. Incandescent lights are very inefficient compared to LEDs. Up to 90% of their energy is wasted as heat.

Over the past few decades, energy-saving light bulbs have become a popular and efficient way to light up homes. Primarily made of halogen, they operate using a tungsten filament and allow less warm air to escape. That means lower air conditioning costs for you.

Light-Emitting Diodes

If you are looking for a simple solution to lower your energy bill, LEDs are the best choice. This product has been developed to perform at optimum standards. As said before, LEDs use about 90% less power than incandescent bulbs of comparable brightness. As a result, they do not get hot to the touch and last far longer than other bulbs.

Although LEDs may be slightly more expensive to purchase initially, they will last longer than any other type of light bulb (up to a 32-year lifespan!), making them more cost-effective in the long run.

The Materials

Aluminum gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP): yellow, orange, and red high-brightness LEDs

Aluminum gallium arsenide (AlGaAs): red and infrared LEDs

Indium gallium nitride (InGaN): blue, green, and ultraviolet high-brightness LEDs

Gallium phosphide (GaP): yellow and green LEDs

What Are The Different Colors?

Inside every semiconductor material, there are energy bands for positively charged electrons and negatively charged “holes”, as well as a bandgap where such holes exist. The separation of these bands determines the energy of the photons that are emitted by the LED.

Photon energy determines the wavelength of the emitted light, and hence its color. Different semiconductor materials with different bandgaps produce different colors of light. The precise wavelength (color) can be tuned by altering the composition of the light-emitting, or active, region.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are the fastest-growing technology for controlling light. LEDs are solid-state devices made up of mixed crystal materials from groups III and V of the periodic table. These crystals are formed into semiconductor structures that emit light and energy when forward biased by an external source.

Previously, although LEDs had been developed from red to a combination of colors (white), the range was limited by technology and practicality. However, the development of GaN technology allowed for the creation of blue-based white LEDs and made possible the color range available today.

Halogen bulbs

Halogen light bulbs were first introduced in the mid-1950s. They use far less energy and last much longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs. Because of their halogen gas content, they are approximately 3 times more efficient than incandescent bulbs.

Halogen light bulbs used a mix of inert gases to increase brightness and durability. With the introduction of LEDs, halogen bulbs lost their niche and were eventually phased out in 2016 by manufacturers.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, were the first real energy-saving light bulbs. They use 75% to 90% less energy and last 8 to 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs. You’ll probably remember them as that spiral-shaped tube bulb that had a slight (and slightly annoying) delay between turning on the switch and the light coming on. Though, they do take a while to get to optimum brightness when you first turn them on.

CFLs are known for their energy efficiency and long lifespan. They use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and will last 10 times longer. While they were once initially plagued with flaws, improvements have been made and embraced by the market. They have become a popular choice among consumers looking to save money on energy costs.

A CFL bulb generally contains an average of 5 mg of mercury (about one-fifth of that found in the average watch battery, and less than 1/100th of the mercury found in an amalgam dental filling).

You’ll find a wide variety of options in CFLs, and they’re available in different styles and shapes. Some have two tubes. Some models feature four or six tubes. Some specialty models don’t feature tubes or ballasts at all. Some CFLs feature tubes and ballasts that are permanently connected and can be replaced separately from each other. Other CFLs have circular or spiral-shaped tubes. In general, the size or total surface area of the tube determines how much light the bulb produces.

What If a CFL Breaks?

Although compact fluorescent bulbs are safer than mercury in other light bulbs, they are not completely without risk. If you break one, this is what you have to do:

  • Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
  • Use a wet rag to clean it up and put all of the pieces, and the rag, into a plastic bag.
  • Place all materials in a second sealed plastic bag.
  • Call your local recycling center to see if they accept this material. If not, and you’re located in the U.S., review the list of companies accepting CFLs by mail maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Burned-out CFLs can be dropped off at Home Depot and Ikea stores.
  • Another solution is to save spent CFLs for a community household hazardous waste collection, which would then send the bulbs to facilities capable of treating, recovering, or recycling them.
  • For more information on CFL disposal or recycling, you can contact your local municipality.

How Do I Dispose Of LEDs?

LED lights contain trace amounts of heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, and nickel, so it’s important to be safe when handling the bulbs. Handle broken bulbs as you would any hazardous waste, wearing protective gloves and a mask while cleaning up the area thoroughly.

What Bulb Is Right For You?

In the time that incandescent bulbs were the most popular lightbulb, it was fine to gauge brightness in terms of power- measured in watts. Nowadays, with LEDs and CFLs being so energy-efficient, much less power is needed for the same brightness. So instead of watts, brightness is measured in lumens. Remember to double bag any bulb fragments or cleaning equipment. Contact your local hazardous waste center for their preferred method of disposal. Many sites will simply ask you to throw the nozzle in the trash, while others will request that you take it directly to the collection site.

You can ask your local recycling center whether they have a program for recycling used light bulbs. If not, you can contact Recycle Nation to see if your local area has a recycling program that accepts light bulbs.

How Much Are They?

LEDs now offer a viable alternative to incandescent bulbs. While initially more expensive, LEDs have rapidly dropped in price and are now competitively priced in many instances. They’re much more cost-effective than normal light bulbs because they can last for years and cost very little to run.

Worth The Switch

Absolutely! LED technology is the most innovative development in lighting technology since fluorescent was first introduced. They are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes, have ultra-long life, are extremely durable, look great, and offer outstanding value for money. An LED lights up in as little as 1 nanosecond, making them the fastest light bulbs on the market. These ultra-fast lights mean cooler radiance, a brighter glow, and purer colors than you’ll find anywhere else.

Wrapping Up

In recent years, the rapid development of LED bulb technology has brought newer LED bulbs to the marketplace which are safer, longer-lasting, and more energy-efficient than today’s CFL bulbs. Today, LED bulbs are the best-in-class light bulb for performance and price. LED technology delivers better than CFL or incandescent bulbs at lower costs to operate.