A bright idea: Tips to save money, energy with LED light bulbs

(BPT) - What could you do in 23 years? A lot, apparently – you could trip your way to an Oscar win like Jennifer Lawrence. Better yet, what about banking billions by 23 like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg? You could have a baby, send them to college and buy them their first (legal) libation … all before having to change a light bulb.

With the U.S. incandescent phaseout wrapping up in January 2014, there are a lot of confusing messages in the lighting aisle using unfamiliar words like “lumens” and “kelvins.” You’ve got things to do (and 23 years to do them), don’t get bogged down in technical lighting jargon.

The solution is simple, instead of getting lost in the maze of bulb options, go for the one that will make your life easier and save you money. Most LED light bulbs use approximately 85 percent less energy than their incandescent counterparts, can last for up to 23 years and brighten your home beautifully (based on Cree LED bulb 60W replacements at 9.5 watt, $0.11 per kilowatt-hour, 25,000 hour lifetime and average usage of 6 hours per day).

Go green, save green

Using less energy means spending less money, and after replacing your top five most-used light sources with LED options, you can see an average annual savings of $61 dollars. Now that’s a bright idea.

When LED light bulbs first hit the marketplace, they were ringing up at as much as $50 a bulb. For many consumers, it was too high a price to pay for light bulbs. As technology advanced in recent years, LEDs have become more affordable. This month, The Home Depot and Cree released the most cost-friendly, technologically advanced light bulb to hit the marketplace. Selling for approximately $13, this light bulb is less pricey than earlier LEDs and can pay for itself in less time.

“It’s easier now than ever before to go green and save money while doing it,” says Jeff Epstein, merchandising vice president at The Home Depot. “As technology advances in LED bulbs, the price of the light bulbs are coming down. The Cree bulb is the most advanced bulb on the market, for the best price.”

Matching the right bulb to the right room

Your blood, sweat and tears went into creating your home sweet home, and you want to show it off. The final touches on home decor mean finding the right color light to showcase a room. Color temperature is how you measure the color of the light. Incandescent light bulbs give off a warm light with a rating of 2,700 kelvins, a hue everyone has grown familiar with. However, you can achieve a similar color temperature with LED warm light bulbs that are a fraction of the cost to operate. Also an option in energy saving LEDs are bulbs with bright or daylight color temperatures for various rooms. First, think about what you use the room for. Kitchens may be best in brighter, clean daylight light. Living rooms and bedrooms are beautiful in warm lighting with a rating of 2,700 kelvins, similar to a traditional incandescent light bulb. Track lighting is ideal for LED bulbs because you don’t have to climb back up a ladder to change it for a couple decades. LEDs also come with dimmable options so you can change the light based on function or your mood and unlike other energy-efficient options, come on instantly to full brightness. Lighting label fact sheets are on most bulbs today, all in Home Depot stores, so if you want to read color temperature, also known as “Kelvins” you will find it on this label. Remember the lower the kelvins the warmer hue the bulb is. The higher the kelvins the more bright and blue hued the bulb is, best for outside places or somewhere you want bright light.

Don’t reinvent the bulb

If you’re comfortable with a traditional-looking bulb, keep it simple and buy a traditional-looking light bulb. The Cree LED Bulb, available exclusively through The Home Depot, is designed to look and feel familiar, although there’s complicated top-of-the-line technology behind the shatterproof glass.

Traditional looking bulbs also look great in all fixtures and fit in seamlessly with a variety of decor styles. After all, you want guests looking at your house, not a uniquely-designed light bulb.