Following One Community’s commitment to upholding the Highest Good, we aim to provide an open source and freely available blueprint for ecologically-sustainable and holistic development. To do so, One Community aims to provide directly applicable information about the most sustainable options for everyday materials and systems like lightbulbs, insulation, flooring, paints, adhesives, toilets, shower heads, etc. This page is about our most current research to determine the most sustainable and healthy lighting options and also the best light bulb companies.
This page is a collection of our initial research and will evolve with our experience. It contains the following sections:
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The ideal sustainable light bulb would not contain materials that are derived from the earth’s crust, no components that are persistent in nature, and a sustainable production process. For the most sustainable scenario, the electricity powering the lightbulb should also be derived from renewable energy sources.
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Brianna Olsen: Sustainability Researcher
Elizabeth Kahn: Environmental Consultant
Yuran Qin: Web Designer
Every time someone is looking to buy new light bulbs or replace new ones, sustainability should be the top priority. By conducting independent research to identify the best companies, brands and products, One Community aims to identify and purchase only the best and most sustainable option. This will save money, resources, and reduce our environmental impact.
In this section we discuss our research into the most sustainable light bulbs and light bulb companies, different types of bulbs, how to choose the most sustainable light bulb, and more. We discuss this with the following sections:
There are three types of bulbs available to the consumer: Incandescent Bulbs, Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs), and Light-emitting Diodes (LEDs). Below, we discuss and compare all three.
Incandescent bulbs waste a lot of energy because they create light by generating heat, which is around 90% of their output. The unwanted heat also causes customers to increase their use of air conditioning, which contributes to an increase in wasted energy and overall electricity usage. This in turn increases greenhouse gas emissions.
When CFLs first hit the market in the 1980s, they were too bulky and expensive to be a viable option for consumers, but manufacturers have made a lot of improvements since then. The products of today are around $1.74 a bulb in a four-pack, use about 75% less energy than traditional bulbs, and last roughly 10 times as long (about 10,000 hours).
CFLs don’t brighten as quickly, however, so you may not want to use this gradual light in places where you need immediate visibility. These types of bulbs also don’t work as well as outdoor lighting in cold climates (as CFLs don’t work well in cold temperatures). CFLs also contain small amounts of mercury, so they do need to be disposed of properly.
LEDs are the newest type of light bulbs and are considered the most energy-efficient bulbs on the market today. They use less energy than CFLs and last longer. They can last up to 50,000 hours. Unlike CFLs, LEDs brighten instantly and can withstand cold temperatures. Using LED bulbs can reduce your electricity consumption by up to 80% each year. On the other hand, LEDs do tend to be more expensive than CFLs.
The graphic here on the right explains why LED lights are typically considered the most sustainable option.
Here is a general comparison of the three different types of bulbs. Watts and lumens will vary though based on the product.
This YouTube video is a basic guide on how to purchase the best type of lightbulbs. It is useful to gain a general picture.
As you can see, all bulbs are not created equal. The light emitted can also vary, and reading a lightbulb label can tell you what to expect. More specifically, the color of a lightbulb is indicated through “warmth.” Warmer light would be around 2500 Kelvin while whiter lights (like bright daylight) are indicated by values such as 5,000K.
The shape and size of the lightbulb also makes a difference.. Here’s what all the letter indicators represent on bulb packaging:
Here’s a guide on how to read a lightbulb label accurately and what each part of the label means.
To indicate more efficient bulbs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy utilize the Energy Star label to identify products that meet an established set of energy-efficient criteria.
LED lights can affect the nervous system. This happens because night-time exposure to bright LEDs (which are rich in blue light) alter the body’s natural clock because they mimic daylight. Different people are sensitive to this at different levels. The flickering of LED lights can also lead to headaches, eyestrains, and even epileptic seizures in some people.
On a very positive note, LED lights are well regulated and do not contain toxic chemicals. In fact, LED lights can actually be beneficial as they do not contain mercury, emit little or no UV, and do not generate electric or magnetic fields that can damage human health.
Ways to minimize risks from the blue light and flickering include:
Concerns for the human nervous system from CFLs include the presence of neurotoxic mercury inside the CFL bulb, the various types of radiation emitted, and the relatively high amount of blue light. The high color (colder/bluer) temperature of fluorescent light stimulates the non-visual pathways from the eye to parts of the brain that regulate important things such as biorhythms, stress hormones, emotions, arousal levels, and muscle tension. People that suffer from traumatic brain injuries also report intolerance to fluorescent light, which means CFLs are even worse for them.
Each company was benchmarked looking at five different categories of sustainability. These consisted of: (1) if there was a sustainability presence on their website (2) if there was a current sustainability report on their website or available to the public (3) what are their sustainability goals (4) what are their sustainability initiatives and (5) what partnerships/collaborations do they have with other organizations.
Here is a spreadsheet of their ranking in each category:
Using the sustainability ranking process described above, Megaman, Ledvance, Philips, and Energizer satisfied all 5 indices. To further differentiate them, we assessed their Sustainability Initiatives and Sustainability partnerships. First, Megaman came out on top because of their extensive sustainability report and many partnerships with organizations such as the WWF Earth Hour and WWF Walk for Nature. Their internal “Design for Environment” means they are constantly trying to innovate and make their products more eco-friendly. Ledvance was another brand with an excellent sustainability report and they are also part of initiatives such as The Responsible Minerals Initiative but they did not have as many as Megaman. Philips came in third place, having many different sustainability reports but did not have as many sustainability partnerships as the other two. Energizer did not have as much information about specific sustainability initiatives on their website so there was much less information to work with, so it only came in fourth. Finally, TCP came in last, having no sustainability report or sustainability section on their website, but having products that all met ENERGY STAR standards.
Although there are more sustainable lightbulb brands out there, many of them had limited information on their website regarding sustainability. Although some brands were featured in different articles, on their actual website, there was little to no information, which meant they did not make this ranking since it takes into account the presence of a sustainability report/sustainability section.There were also other brands that were regarded as sustainable but didn’t have their own website since they sold their products to Home Depot, Walmart or other retailers instead. Regardless, we’d advise you to explore other sustainable lightbulb companies too. Use the information provided here as a benchmark/starting point. Even as companies evolve and change, the best of what’s here should be the minimum a person should accept.
MORE RESEARCH IS NEEDED FOR THIS SECTION…
Thanks to its cutting-edge technology, the MEGAMAN® LED Classic is able to emit light at an unobstructed and panoramic angle, creating a well lit and cozy space. This was ranked in first place because it’s one of the most basic, universal sustainable options from the number one ranked sustainable brand. It is an A+ on the Energy Star Label, which also adds to its placement.
This bulb offers low energy consumption, easy replacement of classic lamps thanks to its compact design, and instant 100% light (no warm-up time). It is good for a diversity of applications, including domestic applications, general illumination, and outdoor use. All of these put this lightbulb in second place. Not only does it have low energy consumption, it is applicable in many different situations.
Familiar shapes you know and love. This lightbulb uses around 80% less energy than traditional lightbulbs and last ten times longer, which is why it comes in third place. Philips the brand was not as sustainable as Ledvance and Megaman, which is why this product comes in this place.
The Energizer Connect Smart A19 LED Multi-White & Multi-Color RGB Lightbulb offers over 16 million color options. Control this bulb straight from your smartphone or tablet using the free Energizer Connect app on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Use the grouping function to control multiple bulbs simultaneously or create schedules to have the bulbs turn on or off at specific times. This device utilizes your current WiFi network, so there is no need to install extra wires or hubs. Our Smart LED Bulb is equivalent to a 60W using only 10W. All of these useful features put it in fourth place as there is not as much of an emphasis on sustainability as the three above. However, it does have many unique, interesting features that make it stand out from its competition.
LED A19s are perfect for general lighting applications and our advanced factory techniques and rigorous testing ensure each lamp is perfect from day one. This lightbulb is ranked last because it comes from the least sustainable brand, but it is energy efficient and generates very low heat, which makes it very sustainable product.
The University of Saskatchewan produced a great general guide for energy saving practices. From that guide, here is a list of actions you can take to enhance the sustainability of the lightbulbs you purchase:
Here are any other resources we’ve found (or that have been shared with us) and we think may be helpful:
When choosing the best sustainable lightbulb for your home, we’d advise that you buy LED lights since they are more energy-efficient and last longer, making them more environmentally-friendly than incandescent and CFL bulbs. We included guides on how to choose the best lightbulbs and how to read a lightbulb label. Besides picking a sustainable lightbulb, we also thought it was important to know some basic energy-saving practices and lightning accessories.
After an assessment of various sustainable lightbulb brands, we identified the five best brands and ranked them accordingly based on their sustainability goal/initiatives. We concluded that Megaman was the best company in terms of sustainability and highlighted some of their best products. We also highlighted the other 4 companies (Osram, Ledvance, Philips, and Energizer) and some of their best products.
If you want a more specific guide on how to select the most suitable lightbulb for Megaman, we’d suggest you check out this guide provided by Megaman.
Q: What lightbulb options are there?
A: The three most common types are LED lights, CFLs, and incandescent bulbs.
Q: Out of all three lighting options listed above, which one should I choose?
A: We recommend LED lights.
Q: Why are LED lights more energy efficient?
A: They require much less wattage than CFLs and incandescent bulbs. They also last longer and are much more durable.
Q: What determines if a lightbulb brand is sustainable or not?
A: Each company was benchmarked looking at five different categories of sustainability. These consisted of:
Q: What is the most sustainable lightbulb brand?
A: Megaman has been concluded to be the most sustainable lightbulb brand because of its commitment to sustainable manufacturing and transparency.
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