Right Light Guides

Find Energy Efficient Lights

There's an efficient LED bulb for every fixture and room, at every brightness, and in every color! Find out how to choose the right one for you.

STEP 1 - Decide How Much Light You Need

Focus on Brightness. Different amounts of light are needed for different uses. Instead of thinking about light bulbs based solely on the amount of energy they use, focus on their brightness level.

Lumen is the measurement of brightness. Higher lumen bulbs produce brighter light.

Watt (W) is the measure of power consumption. Lower wattage bulbs can lower your electric bills.

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If you like your bulb’s current brightness, choose an LED with similar lumens to reduce your energy use. You may also consider a bulb that is less bright to save more. 

Note: Lumen output listed on packages may vary. Light bulbs listing anywhere from 800 to 860 lumens are similarly bright, for instance.

STEP 2 - Decide What Color Light You Want

Choose Light Appearance. You’ll be pleased with your new bulb by choosing a light appearance that you like. All of these colors are available for LEDs, and at most brightness levels.

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Note: Choose warm or soft white (2700-3000 K) to match the color of incandescent bulbs.

STEP 3 - Think About Costs and Benefits

Compare Types of Light Bulbs. You can think about product, replacement, and energy costs over 20 years for different bulb types. Why 20 years? Because LEDs can last that long. Many incandescent bulbs have been phased out, and CFLs are becoming less popular. The pros and cons below will help you pick a bulb that is right for you, and so will the Right Light App at the bottom.

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Note: Cost comparison is based on a 20-year life and takes into account power consumption, hours of use per day, residential electric cost, bulb cost, and replacement cost.

Buying High-Quality Bulbs. The Lighting Facts label on all bulb packaging clearly shows light appearance and brightness. The label also includes the ENERGY STAR® logo when a bulb meets the required certification levels for high efficiency, performance, and reliability.

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STEP 4 - Get Rebates

Get utility rebates. Contact your electric utility to learn about lighting rebates. Find your electric utility.

LED linear tube lights are an emerging energy-efficient technology. Use this guide to learn more about them.

Fluorescent lighting is everywhere.

Fluorescent lighting is universal. Look up, and you’ll likely find these familiar tubes lining the ceilings of many buildings. Linear fluorescent lamps (LFLs) have largely reached their maximum energy-saving potential, and they also require recycling.

LED lighting is a new alternative.

LED lighting is rapidly evolving and providing an alternative to LFLs. Building owners and facility managers are adopting LED lighting for its long life span, energy efficiency, and controllability.

How do you compare products?

Thinking about LED street lighting? Here are some resources to get started!

During our February CERT Conference back in 2013 several regions expressed interest in LED Street Lighting. Since that time interest has only grown and there are many local governments starting to move forward with projects – including a few CERT Seed Grant Recipients.

To help ourselves better respond to questions about LED street lighting we began to sift through recent reports to tease out answers to the most common questions we were hearing. Rather than keep that to ourselves, we decided we’d be better off sharing that information with all of you. Here goes!

The first question we were often asked was, “Is there funding for LED Street Lighting Retrofits?” The short answer is, maybe. The longer answer is that some utilities in Minnesota have LED Street Lighting rebates. Your best bet would be to talk directly with your local utility about what rebates they have to support this sort of retrofit. Some local units of government could also bundle a street lighting upgrade into a larger energy efficiency infrastructure improvement project through the State’s Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (or “GESP” for short).

Based on the studies that have been published, and anecdotal reports, one thing to keep in mind though is the savings related information. A MN DOT study, described further below, pointed out that the majority of the savings from installed LEDs are really on the maintenance end (or rather, avoided maintenance) rather than energy savings. This is also what we’ve heard from cities that have started to look at their options. Now, this should still be a great selling point – saving labor is probably as important as anything else – but it does mean that looking at energy savings figures alone will not likely sell the project.


LED holiday lights

Are you still stringing the same old incandescent decorative lights for the holidays?

For many Minnesotans, the house, porch, shrubs and trees are donned with holiday lights. Depending on one’s holiday lighting enthusiasm, a home can save between $10 to $250 each holiday season by switching to LED holiday lighting.

This is because, according to the Department of Energy, LED holiday lights save up to 90% of the energy used by traditional incandescent holiday lights. LEDs are also safer, sturdier, longer lasting, and easier to install.

Fill your stocking with energy savings: For every old holiday lighting string recycled and replaced with more efficient LEDholiday lighting, 19 kilowatt-hours of electricity are saved over the course of the holiday season. This is the same amount of energy as a common CFL household light bulb would use if left on for 24 hours a day for 2 months straight!

ENERGY STAR is the way to go: When shopping for new holiday lights, look for the ENERGY STAR® label to ensure that the product meets strict federal energy efficiency guidelines. ENERGYSTAR-qualified lighting, as well as appliances and electronics, use less energy than their older, inefficient counterparts. ENERGYSTAR-qualified LED decorative lights are an economical choice because they use 75 percent less power than conventional lights and they can last up to 10 times longer.

Other advantages of LEDs include:

  • Safe. LEDs are cool to the touch, reducing the risk of fire.
  • Durable. LEDs do not have moving parts, filaments or glass, so they are much more resilient and shock-resistant than other light strings.
  • Wide range of choices. LEDs are available in a variety of colors, shapes and lengths.
  • Up-to-date features. LEDs offer the latest features and functions such as dimming and color shifting.

Learn more: