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Best Lighting Products

Best Rated Lighting Products

Buying Guide: The Issues

Lighting products consume significant amounts of energy and can be responsible for emissions of mercury to the environment. From a lifecycle perspective, the primary environmental impacts of lighting products include:

  • Emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants from the power plants that generate electricity.
  • Mercury pollution, either from inclusion in some types of bulbs or from coal-fired power plants.

Buying Guide: What to look for

  • The most energy efficient lighting products for residential use are Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), followed by T-5 and T-8 Fluorescent Tubes and Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs).
  • For a given application, find the product that will meet your lighting needs while consuming the lowest wattage value. Efficient lamps have a high efficacy value, measured in Lumens/Watt.
  • Opt for CFLs or Fluorescent Tubes with low mercury levels (less than 2 mg).
  • Buy certified products - ENERGY STAR rated LEDs and CFLs.

Buying Guide: What to avoid

  • The least efficient lighting products include Halogen and Incandescent bulbs, as well as T-12 Fluorescent Tubes. Many of these bulb types are going to be removed from the market in the next two years because they are so inefficient.
  • Avoid CFLs or Fluorescent Tubes with high mercury levels (more than 4 mg).

Rating Lighting Products

Overview

Environment scores are assigned to lighting products by combining product-level environmental indicators (weighted at 75%) with company-level environmental indicators (weighted at 25%). Product-level scores incorporate the most significant aspects of the overall life cycle impacts of a product, but company-level scores are included to address product-level data gaps.

Product-level scores for this category are based on indicators of

  • Energy use and efficacy as measured by Lumens/Watt
  • Toxic waste impacts, specifically the mercury footprint of a product and its associated energy consumption
  • Solid waste impacts, as measured by the rated life of each lighting product
  • Certifications of efficiency or production process

Health scores are not assigned to lighting products, because this category does not typically result in significant human exposure to potentially harmful ingredients at the consumer level. Some lighting products contain mercury, which can lead to human exposure if lamps are broken. In these cases, follow the U.S. EPA's advice on cleanup of broken CFLs and fluorescent lights.

Social scores are based on company-level research. Product-level data on social performance are
generally unavailable for this category of products, so GoodGuide relies on company-level social
scores to characterize the performance of a product on this dimension.