Itâ€™s amazing how much energy we waste in the U.S. One example: the incandescent light bulb, which gives off 95% of its energy as heat. (The classic Hasbro toy, the Easy-Bake Oven, makes cookies using the heat of a light bulbs.) Much-touted compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs, improve on the efficiency of incandescents. Even better are LEDs, which are the topic of todayâ€™s CNNMoney.com column.
LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are very cool. Theyâ€™re efficient, long-lasting, mercury-free and they emit many hues. (See belowâ€”yes, thatâ€™s an Amish buggy using an LED flashlight.) Theyâ€™re also expensiveâ€”some LEDs in bulbs cost $70â€”but falling in price, and already practical for parking garages and traffic signals where the lights are on all the time.
Hereâ€™s how the column begins:
Everyone from Wal-Mart (Change a Light, Change the World) to Yahoo (www.18seconds.org) to the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (How Many Jews Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb?) wants you to buy compact fluorescent light bulbs to help save the planet.
CFLs, as they’re known, cost more than old-style incandescent bulbs, but they last longer, use far less electricity, save consumers’ money in the long run and reduce greenhouse gases.
All of which is well and good. But the next, next big thing in lighting – a $40 billion global business – could turn out to be the technology known as LEDs, or light emitting diodes, which are a whole lot “greener” than CFLs. The newest LEDs use even less energy than CFLs. They last for as long as a decade. And, unlike CFLs, they are mercury-free.
You can read the rest of the column here.