We've finally progressed to a safe, efficient light bulb that's generally available. It's been known for years that the Light Emiting Diode (LED) bulbs were the most efficient, but it's taken a while to create them so they can provide more than a couple of watts of light.
Incandescent bulbs use large amounts of energy in resources, manufacture and use; 90% of their energy use is from the heat they generate. Incandescents use all this energy and they only last about six months.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL's) have their own problems. We've started using them in place of incandescents because they use less resources, and they last about 8X longer than incandescent light bulbs. Unfortunately they also contain small (very small) amounts of mercury requiring them to be disposed of as hazardous waste. There is also concern about CFL's because they're causing allergic reactions in a small percentage of the population. The uncovered spiral versions appear to be the most problematic. Individuals with lupus seem to be particularly sensitive.
LED's have none of these problems. Then there's their longevity. At 8 hours of use a day one bulb can last as long as 34 years! Another interesting feature is that they don't tend to attract bugs like others do because of their color spectrum.
LED's are actually not bulbs at all, but little semi-conductors. They never actually "burn out", but will gradually lose their lumen production in their later years.
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