In the light bulb aisle, bright ideas and plenty of confusion
News from Minneapolis Star Tribune:

While shopping at Ikea last week, Liz Halsall confronted a dilemma that’s confused many shoppers the past few years: what light bulb to buy.

The incandescent bulb of Thomas Edison is phasing out of production, thanks to a 2007 federal energy ­efficiency law. And when consumers now enter the lighting aisle, they face bulbs of various shapes, technologies and price points that make comparison shopping more difficult.

On top of all that, one new type of light, called a light-emitting diode or LED, is undergoing the rapid transformation of price and capability that shoppers more often see in computers and smartphones. It will last far longer than other light bulbs, but it’s not as cheap, though some prices are now a fraction of what they were five years ago.

As she sized up all the lights at Ikea, Halsell, an interior designer from Mendota Heights, hesitated over style and price.

“I prefer incandescent,” she said. “I guess it’s because it’s what I grew up with.”

LEDs use 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than an incandescent bulb, according to Energy.gov. Replacing five of the most commonly used bulbs can save $ 75 in energy costs per year, according to the website. An average home has 50 to 80 light bulbs.

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