Save money and energy with you lighting by making smart choices when buying light bulbs. Here are five tips for buying the right energy saving light bulbs.

When it comes time to change that light bulb, you can make a “green” choice—one that will save both energy and money. Here are some suggestions:

compact fluorescent energy-efficient light
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb FreeRangeStock

1) Choose LED or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Compact fluorescents use from about one quarter to one third as much energy to produce the same amount of light as a standard incandescent bulb, and they can last up to thirteen times longer. LEDs also save a great deal of electricity and last for decades.

CFL torchieres are also available to replace those energy-hogging halogen versions that gained popularity in the 1990s. For more on CFLs, see Compact Fluorescent Lighting.

2) Purchase three-way bulbs. Three-way bulbs can operate at three different wattages (for instance, 50 watts, 100 watts, and 150 watts), allowing you to choose the lowest wattage for your needs. They work on lamps outfitted with three-way sockets. Both CFL and incandescent varieties are available.

3) Choose low-wattage bulbs. Always use the lowest wattage that will meet your needs. Try out bulbs of varying brightness, measured in lumens, to find the least energy-sucking bulb for your particular lighting application.

4) Select energy-saving nightlights. Replace incandescent nightlights with plug-in electroluminescent panels, which consume a mere 3/100 watt of electricity, or the brighter mini-fluorescent varieties, which give off as much illumination as a 20-watt standard bulb. In addition, photocell nightlights sense the presence of light in a room, automatically turning on at night and off in the daytime.

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About Don Vandervort
An avid builder and remodeler, Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years, as Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort