Bright idea, eh?

A lot of us self-styled “greenies” started our journey to tread lighter on the planet with a simple switch: replacing our incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs). In an age where planned obsolescence is a marketing strategy, it’s nice to know that some of the bulbs I screwed in more than 20 years ago are still lighting up rooms in my house.

Lighting can make up to 10% of all the electricity used in your house; upgrading your lighting fixtures remains the single easiest way to cut your power bill. Canada made the switch easier by phasing out 75W and 100W bulbs last year and has now banned 40W and 60W bulbs. Incandescents are no longer allowed to be manufactured or imported into the country as of January 1, 2015.

Incandescent

If you’re still clamouring for incandescents, the party is over. And for good reason. Today’s CFL and LED bulbs can do everything incandescents ever did; they also cost less and use far less energy. The average LED has a lifespan of 50,000 hours or more, compared to only 1,200 hours for an incandescent and 8,000 hours for a CFL.

Energy efficient lighting has come a long way. There are coloured LEDs, ones that provide bright light, soft light, blue light, LEDs for specific task lighting (such as in track or pot lights); whatever your lighting needs or wants, an energy efficient bulb awaits you.

Many cities in Canada have already benefitted from switching their street, traffic and facility lights to LEDs. In some jurisdictions, legislation required that LED technology be used for all roadway lighting, such as is the case for Nova Scotia. Halifax, its largest city, replaced its 70, 100, 150 and 250W high-pressure sodium fixtures with 48, 72 and 96W LED full cut-off fixtures and is saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in electricity costs.

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