LED light bulbs are the best way to save energy, shave carbon emissions and save money

FILE PHOTO  - Compact fluorescent bulbs will save energy, though not as much as LED bulbs. Why we care

"Turn off the lights" is a mantra we have heard since childhood — and it's important. But there are other great ways to save lighting energy.

Lighting accounts for 10 percent of energy consumption in an average U.S. household. One of the quickest, easiest and least- expensive ways to cut our home's energy use is switching to LED bulbs.

Here's why LED bulbs are better:

• They use 80 percent less energy than incandescents. (Incandescent bulbs release 90 percent of their energy as heat; compact fluorescents (CFLs) release about 80 percent).

• They last longer. You would have to buy 40 incandescent bulbs to match LEDs' longevity.

• Unlike compact fluorescents, they contain no mercury.

• They attain full brightness without delay, and can be turned on and off frequently with no adverse impact.

• They cost more upfront but save money in the long term.

A standard 60-watt incandescent bulb costs roughly 50 cents, compared to $13 for a 10-watt LED bulb supplying a similar amount of illumination. But powering a lamp over 10 years with that 60-watt incandescent would cost $85.15, including the cost of the bulb, vs. $26.40 for a comparable LED, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (See for their guide to efficient and money-saving light bulbs).

To ensure quality and lifespan, only purchase brand-name products, such as GE, Philips, Osram-Sylvania, or Cree. To compare lumens and color, visit a shop that has a display of lights. Here are three in the Portland area:

• Globe Lighting, 1919 N.W. 19th Ave., Portland

• Sunlan Lighting, 3901 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland

• Pacific Lamp Wholesale, 10725 S.W. Fifth St., Beaverton

Continue to turn off lights when not in use, unless using fluorescent bulbs, which burn out more quickly when turned off and on.

Remember to save burned-out CFLs and LEDs for recycling. See Metro's Find a Recycler tool to find places to bring them:

Questions or feedback? Contact Jeanne Roy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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