Light Bulb Energy Efficiency

A guide to the energy efficiency of different types of light bulbs

How Light Bulbs Spend Money

Learning about the energy efficiency of each light bulb we use is vital for any homeowner. Perfecting the lighting theme in your home will also entail working out the energy costs for each of your lights and light fixtures. To make comparison easier, we’ve calculated the energy efficiency of each type of bulb on the market with a 75-watt control. Using price, energy efficiency, safety in disposal, endurance and availability as qualifications of points and a 1-5 rating, we explain the benefits and drawbacks of each bulb:
Outdoor Wall Lights
Light bulbs are ranked for cost effectiveness based on price, energy efficiency, ease of disposal, endurance, and availability.


Price: At $2 per bulb, the incandescent is the cheapest option.

Energy Efficiency: Based on a 13 lumens per watt energy rating, the incandescent lamp produces light with less than half of the energy it consumes on a 75-watt bulb.

Disposal: Easy to dispose of, with no dangerous chemicals in its composition.

Endurance: Lasting usually 1,000 hours or roughly about 1 year with normal use. Incandescent bulbs require constant replacement, and more energy to use.

Availability: Readily available.

RANK: 2 out of 5, with safety in disposal and availability as the largest benefits.

Tube Fluorescent

Price: Fluorescents cost about $6 per bulb, one of the cheaper bulbs on the market.

Energy Efficiency: With an energy rating of 1.7, it produces almost double the light with the energy it consumes (based on a 75-watt bulb).

Disposal: Fluorescent bulbs have to be carefully disposed of as they contain mercury in the tubes.

Endurance: They last up to 24,000 hours—more than 10 times an incandescent bulb, but flicker occasionally.

Availability: Readily available at any lighting, hardware or grocery store.

RANK:3 out of 5 for long lifetime, energy efficiency and availability.

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)

Price: Costs $5 per bulb.

Energy Efficiency: These bulbs are 30-75% more efficient than regular incandescent (50 lumens per watt) and produce 50% more light with the energy they use.

Disposal: CFLs need to be disposed of properly (as you would a tube fluorescent tube), can flicker and cannot be used with a dimmer.

Endurance: With 10 times more endurance than incandescent bulbs, a CFL only needs to be changes about once every 10 years with ideal use.

Availability: Available at lighting stores and most hardware stores.

RANK: 4 out of 5 for price, endurance, availability and energy efficiency.


Price: The most expensive light bulb there is at a mean $75 per bulb, the LED is an long-term investment for any homeowner.

Energy Efficiency: The most energy efficient, with a 13-watt LED bulb equal to a 100 watt incandescent.

Disposal: Since there is virtually no need for replacement, there are no issues with disposal.

Endurance: Almost never burn out.

Availability: Harder to find than most light bulbs, requiring specialty lighting stores or higher end hardware stores.

RANK:3.5 out of 5, with energy efficiency, endurance and disposal as its strongest merits.

Topping our study are CFLs, with basic efficiency, availability, price and endurance balancing the delicacy of disposal. With the Green movement gaining steam in these harder economic times we all have to be conscious about how much we really spend on office and home lighting.

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