Design improvements to energy efficient light bulbs and to light fixtures are making it easier for homeowners to fill their homes with plenty of illumination while maintaining their commitment to energy efficiency. The American Lighting Association reports lights account for 25 percent of a homeowner’s electric bill. Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, all incandescent light bulbs in the United States must meet new energy efficiency requirements established by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. Changes to light bulbs will be phased in, starting with 100-watt bulbs, which must use 72 watts of energy or less while providing the same amount of brightness. Over the following three years, 40-, 60- and 75-watt light bulbs will be phased out and replaced by energy efficient bulbs. “People have already embraced [compact fluorescent light bulbs] to the point that in 2010, more CFL bulbs were sold than traditional incandescent bulbs,” said Joseph Rey-Barreau, an architect and lighting designer in Lexington, Ky. “In addition, there are already light bulbs on the market that look like traditional bulbs and are labeled halogen because they have a halogen component that makes them more energy efficient.” Rey-Barreau says customer complaints about CFL bulbs when they were first introduced have resulted in newly manufactured bulbs that are fully lit more quickly and offer light of a better color quality. Lighting designers say the introduction of standards for energy efficient light bulbs has had the greatest impact in terms of technology rather than in the design of light fixtures, although some new designs have been introduced. Linda Gombof, a certified lighting consultant with Annapolis Lighting in Rockville, Md., says many of her customers are willing to spend a little more money on LED lighting for their kitchen cabinets because not only are they more energy efficient, but they also last longer and fix the issue of too much heat underneath the cabinets. | Read More