Energy-efficient light bulbs use 70 to 90 percent less energy than traditional bulbs and last 10 to 25 times longer. These bulbs save energy by reducing the amount of excess heat they produce, so they save more energy in air conditioning costs.
A 15-watt compact florescent lamp produces approximately the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent lamp. Changing from a 60-watt incandescent lamp that operates for two hours each day to a 15-watt CFL reduces the annual cost of operation from $4.80 to $1.20, assuming a rate of $0.11 per kilowatt hour. Changing o a 12-watt light emitting diode further reduces the annual operating cost to $1 per year.
Most energy-efficient light bulbs cost more than incandescent ones. However, with the reduction in energy costs provides enough savings to overcome the initial expense. The longer life of the lamp also helps to overcome the initial outlay.
CFLs contain mercury and consumers should not throw them out in their household trash. However, many home improvement stores, including Lowe’s, The Home Depot and Ace Hardware offer recycling programs for these lamps. Local governments and waste disposal programs also have special programs for getting rid of mercury-containing lamps that no longer work. While LEDs do not contain mercury, the do contain lead and nickel, but 95 percent of their components are recyclable.