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Shopping Guide For The New Lights

Are you puzzled by what you see on the store shelves in the lighting department? As new energy-efficiency standards for light bulbs take effect this year, you’ll see fewer traditional round incandescent bulbs and more curly compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).

Now there’s a third style that could be right for you. Long-lasting LED (light emitting diode) technology could help you use less energy and save money over time. However, some poor-quality LED products are turning up in the marketplace. Here’s how to make sure you get what you pay for.

Look for the U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR logo for guaranteed color quality over time, steady light output over the lifetime, high efficiency, and a warranty.

You can also look for an LED Lighting Facts label. The label will help you compare products with a quick summary of performance in these five areas:

Lumens: The higher the number, the more light is emitted.

Lumens per watt (lm/W): The higher the number, the more efficient the product.

Watts: The lower the wattage, the less energy is used.

Correlated Color Temperature (CCT): Cool white light is usually better for visual tasks. Warm white light is usually better for living spaces because it casts a warmer light on skin and clothing. Color temperatures of 2,700 to 3,600 K are recommended for most general indoor and task lighting.

Color Rendering Index (CRI): The higher the number, the truer the appearance of the light. Incandescent lighting is 100 on the CRI.

—National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

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