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Switching bulbs makes a ­multipliable difference

The way you light your home can have a big impact on the environment and your energy bills. Indeed, widespread use of light-emitting diode — LED — lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States, according to government findings.
    The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 required the gradual phaseout of the old familiar incandescent light bulbs, which convert only 14 percent of their energy input to useful output.
    The ideal replacement is LEDs, which use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. As the price of the technology has declined, LEDs, especially ENERGY STAR-rated products, can help you significantly reduce the cost of lighting your home.
    Replace incandescents with LED bulbs everywhere you can. They are the superior technology. You can even buy LED decorative holiday lighting.
    Shop carefully, however. Lifetime and lumens (light output) are fairly constant (for a given wattage); the variables to watch for are price and color temperature, or the hue of the light source. Typically color temperatures range from warm white to cool white to daylight, with the hue changing from yellowish to blue. In some uses, you won’t care about color temperature. In others, you will have to experiment to see what works best for you.
    While you switch bulbs at home, community efforts are helping to make sweeping change and brighten lives. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Change the World Tour is a national program to motivate consumers to purchase ENERGY STAR-certified LED bulbs that bring energy-efficient lighting to communities in need.
    The movement toward more energy-efficient light sources is also global; most countries are going this way.
    Actions you choose may feel small, but on a collective scale, greening your home is the first step to greening your community and the larger world.