A few years ago I gave a friend a beautifully wrapped Christmas present. In the box was an LED light bulb. The friend was a strong environmentalist, yet kept her old incandescent bulbs throughout her house because she liked the amber color, even though her bulbs were actually little heaters that only produced 10% light. I was showing my friend that she had a different option.
For a while there it looked like those cold looking compact fluorescents were the main way to light our homes responsibly. But, coming on s rong has been a whole array of exciting LED (light emitting diode) bulbs. Want exposed filament? I have decorative LED’s that look like they came out of Edison’s workroom. I also have LED spotlights, “candles”, soffit lights that can shift color, and table lamps.
For clients I have specified glamorous closet rod LED’s, and LED’s that change color and flicker in time to music.
Admittedly, buying LEDs can get complicated. Want a warmer hued light? Go for 2,700 to 3,000 kelvin. If you want the equivalent of a 60 watt bulb, chose an LED A19 bulb that is only 9 watts (yes, nine watts!). Most are dimmable now, but you should check because some are not. Some will work with standard incandescent dimmers, but LED dimmers are the best fit to make sure there is no annoying flicker. As for recessed lights, while you can just screw in a bulb, it is recommended that simple screw in retrofits (bulb and rim combined) be used instead for better heat management.
Prices keep coming down…While $3.00 and more per bulb is more than the old incandescents, the LED saves money in the long run. The standard incandescent costs $4.80 per year to use while the LED costs about $1.00. The LED also can last for twenty five years, does not burn fingers, has no toxic components, can be dropped with little harm done, and reduces A.C. loads.
By simply installing LED’s in your home, it is possible to reduce your carbon footprint by 6 tons of carbon a year….plus you can have fun doing it!
Pamela Heyne is a Saint Michaels architect and writer. She was lighting consultant for Hearthstone Health and Fitness in Easton. [email protected]