A Bright Day for LED Light Bulbs
Though there’s never been a question that LED light bulbs trump incandescent bulbs in providing the same light with less energy, today the New York Times reported the results of a study that also took into account the rest of the energy-use story: creation, shipping, and recycling. The study found that LED bulbs were not only much more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs over an entire life cycle, but equally efficient as compact fluorescent bulbs.
An LED, or “light emitting diode” is powered by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material, which means it has no filament that will burn out. The price of LEDs has long restricted their most common uses to devices like digital clocks, televisions, and traffic lights.
But the price of screw-in LED bulbs is falling. What was once a $90 purchase some expect to drop to $25 or $50 within the next 12 or 25 months. LEDs still won’t be cheaper to buy than incandescent bulbs, but they will save money over time because they last longer and use less energy.
Considering that LED bulbs cut the energy used by a standard bulb by 90 percent--compared to compact fluorescent bulbs' 75 percent--the anticipated price reduction might be enough to spark some serious competition between the energy savers.
--Sarah F. Kessler