June 5th, 2012
Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have improved dramatically and are getting even better. You can choose a light bulb that makes everything look as nature intended and still get energy savings.
The best LED bulbs can cost $10 to $70, but considering that they last for up to 25 years, they are a worthy investment.
When selecting a bulb, lighting expert Michael Hsu says considering how it will be used makes a big difference. His recommendations:
For Recessed lighting, Hsu uses the Sylvania Ultra Professional Series LED. It’s exceptionally good at highlighting colors when illuminating people, plants and furniture. It works well in track lighting ($33 to $70 at sylvania.com).
For a shaded floor lamp, the Phillips L Prize LED bulb sends light in all directions ($50 at usa.lighting.phillips.com). The GE Reveal CFL does the same and has very pleasing light (from $8 at gelighting.com).
For task lamps, which cast focused light, LED’s are a good match and don’t produce as much heat as incandescents. Quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Hsu likes the Sylvania Ultra Professional Series PAR20 ($33 at sylvania.com), because it renders beautiful colors.
For mood lighting, the GE Energy Efficient Reveal Clear halogen is about 30 percent more efficient than an incandescent, and the light quality is crisp and white. It creates a cozy pool of light ($5 at gelighting.com) and has a standard light bulb base.
The halogen, a form of incandescent, is the least efficient, but its light closely resembles that of a traditional bulb and creates ambience.