Environment Fight Club: Halogen Incandescents vs. CFLs vs. LEDs (Round 7)

It’s time for this month’s fight club face off! In the ring today are not two, but three contestants! The holidays are fast approaching and electricity demands are on the rise as festive lights are being plugged in to shine through the nights. Now more than ever it’s important to know exactly what we are plugging in. It’s a light bulb fight and we’ve got Halogen Incandescents versus Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) versus Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)!

One contestant that did not even make it into the running for the win is the old incandescent light bulb. These bulbs consume a lot of energy to produce light and much of the energy—approximately 90 percent—is given off as heat. Not only is that not efficient and potentially dangerous, the lost energy is money that is literally being thrown away. Out with the old and in with the new. So which of our three contenders is the best option for conserving energy? Let's explore the eco-friendly light bulbs!

According to Energy.gov, a halogen incandescent bulb “contains a capsule inside that holds gas around a filament to increase bulb efficiency.” These bulbs meet the minimum energy efficiency standard and will help you save money.

Key Points:

  • Uses 25 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb
  • Approximate bulb life of 1,000 to 3,000 hours
  • Produces bright, crisp light
  • Meets minimum energy efficiency standard

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are the curly versions of the long tube fluorescent lighting you often find in industrial spaces. A CFL can use a quarter of the amount of energy and last ten times as long as a regular incandescent bulb that emits the same amount of light. A CFL also uses about a third of the energy that a halogen incandescent uses. These bulbs come in a wide range of options from shape, size, and color. However, these bulbs contain trace amounts of mercury and should always be properly recycled.

Key Points:

  • Uses 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb
  • Lasts up to eight to ten times longer
  • Approximate bulb life of 8,000 to 10,000 hours
  • Most generate the same light output in the same color range as incandescents

LEDs are a kind of solid-state lighting, semiconductors that convert electricity to light. They are illuminated by the movement of electrons through the semiconductor material. The technology behind LED lighting is one of the most efficient and is fastest developing. Even though they are more expensive on store shelves, these bulbs are very cost effective because they only use 20 to 25 percent of the energy and last up to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs!

Key Points:

So who do you think is the winner?


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- Image Credit: Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain


-Written by: Inés de Sequera