LED Lighting

LED Bulbs Save Energy & Money

LEDs have been used for decades as small indicator lights and on-off buttons. They are currently skyrocketing in popularity due to dramatically lower costs and the invention of blue LEDs which, when combined with other colors, produce white light. Putting LEDs in your home has many benefits:

  • Save time: LEDs last 20+ years, so you don’t have to spend time buying and installing more bulbs
  • Save energy: Over its lifetime, each LED bulb saves 1,000 kWh of electricity compared to an incandescent light bulb. This reduces the same amount of atmospheric carbon as planting 16 trees!
  • Save money: Over its lifetime, each LED bulb will save $200 compared to an old style incandescent bulb

Four Steps to Help You See the (LED) Light

  1. Shape: LEDs come in the common A19 (classic shape), candle, globe, and flood / reflector shapes.
  2. Brightness: Search for lumens (brightness) rather than watts (energy) since modern bulbs use so much less energy than the old bulbs did. An old 100-Watt incandescent bulb can be replaced with a 15-Watt LED bulb which will yield the same 1,600 lumens of light while saving 85 watts of energy.
  3. Particulars: Read the bulb label to see if it matches your needs for dimming, motion and light sensors, fixture style, wet weather, and more. LED bulbs may need LED-compatible dimmers. Also, don’t mix two different bulb technologies (such as LED and CFL bulbs) in one fixture.
  4. Correlated Color Temperature (CCT):
    • Yellower light (2,200 – 2,700K), like that given off by incandescents, is a warmer, gentler light good for bedrooms and living spaces.
    • Bluer light (over 3,500K), like sunshine, is a cooler, brighter light that’s better for work areas (reading, kitchens, and baths). Sometimes bluer light interferes with sleep; you may need to limit your exposure to it near bedtime.
    • Note: Color Rendering Index (CRI) is different than CCT (Correlated Color Temperature, above, which is the color of the light itself). CRI measures how an object’s color appears under a given light. Look for a CRI of 80-100 to most closely match what you’re used to seeing in sunlight or under incandescent bulbs.

Recommended Actions

GET FREE LEDs (and other rebates)

  • Get a free home energy and lighting audit to receive free LED replacements for your installed bulbs. Fill out this form or call 413-279 9141. If you are ineligible for a home energy audit because you’ve already had one in the past 2 years, you can get an LED makeover from Energy New England at (888) 772-4242 or solutions@ene.org.
  • Replace your bulbs with LEDs this year. If you prefer to replace your light bulbs yourself you can take advantage of recurring specials in hardware stores. The utility companies need to spend the money they collect from ratepayers for energy efficiency programs and one way to do it is to offer specials on LEDs. If you can’t replace all of your bulbs at once, focus first on fixtures that are on for the most time per week to see the most savings.

Financial Considerations

LED bulbs are able to provide the same amount of brightness as an incandescent bulb but use a fraction of the energy. Less energy usage equals money saved. A standard 60 Watt incandescent bulb has the least expensive purchasing price compared to other types of bulbs, but only last about a year with a total 10-year cost of about $85. A 10 Watt LED bulb, providing the same lumens of 800 as a 60 Watt incandescent, can last 23 years! Over ten years, that amounts to a total cost of about $26.

Environmental Benefits

As seen in the pie chart above, lighting accounts for 12% of home CO2 emissions. Switching to LED bulbs has several environmental benefits: they are long lasting, energy efficient, reduce carbon emissions, and are free of hazardous chemicals. The fact that LEDs last many years means they do not need to be replaced as often, reducing their impact on the environment. As illustrated throughout this page, it is no secret LEDs save energy.

By switching from incandescent bulbs, you will see an 80 – 90% reduction in energy use (if one were to switch from a 50W incandescent to a 4.5W LED, for example). Less energy usage means less CO2 emissions. Lastly, LEDs do not contain mercury, which is harmful to both aquatic life and anyone who were to consume it. LED lighting’s overwhelming benefits make it the best option for lighting your home.


Q: When should I replace my bulbs?  A: For the best energy and money savings, replace your old bulbs with LEDs right away rather than waiting for them to burn out.

QWhat do I need to know about disposal?   A: CFLs must be recycled due to mercury content (more info). Your town can tell you where you can safely recycle CFLs. Some hardware stores also accept CFL bulbs. Whatever you do, please do not throw them in the trash!

Q: Mercury sounds dangerous! If CFLs contain mercury and I don’t want to pay for LEDs, should I go back to using incandescents?  A: Although fluorescent bulbs are the only light bulbs that contain mercury, paradoxically, incandescent and halogen bulbs cause more mercury pollution in our environment because they use more energy; most mercury gets into our air and water from coal-fired power plants. So, to protect our planet, switch to LEDs or keep your current CFLs, but don’t use incandescents or halogens.

Q: How about if I just turn off my lights more often?  A: It’s always a good habit to turn off the lights. But LEDs save such dramatic amounts of electricity over old-style bulbs that it’s an even better idea to replace bulbs and try to reduce your usage by switching lights off more. You’d have to be in the dark for three out of every four days to save the same amount of energy if you kept your old incandescents!

Resources / Links

More information on LEDs can be found at the following sites:

  1. Consumer Reports Bulb Buying Guide (updated each October).
  2. EPA EnergyStar: LEDs made easy
  3. EPA Guide to recycling CFL bulbs
  4. Natural Resources Defense Council: Guide to More Efficient and Money-Saving Light Bulbs
  5. Energy Federation LED Lighting information