I’m in favor of the new energy efficient light bulbs mandated by U.S. law. Incandescents are inefficient with a short life-span and burn hot to the touch. Compact Florescents (CFs) solve some of this by being more efficient and having a longer lifespan but are a touch more expensive.
Same goes with LED bulbs, they’re significantly more efficient and last for decades (or over 5 years continuously) but are definitely more expensive than CF or incandescent light bulbs. Now that LEDs are brighter with a wider angle of illumination, they’re probably the future of lighting as we know it. Cool to the touch (no fire hazard) and with a high light quality, they are revolutionizing the home lighting landscape.
Ikea is selling the LED bulbs in Europe now for pretty cheap. A 400 lumen lamp (45 watts) sells for 10€ (less than $13) and 25 watt replacement bulbs sell for 7€ (less than $9). As far as efficiency, the 45 watt bulb consumes 8 watts. This also means that your appliances that have lower wattage limits can take higher watt-equivalent LEDs resulting in more/brighter light (e.g. putting in a 16 watt LED into a 45 watt appliance yields the brightness of a 90 watt bulb).In the U.S., Ikea stopped selling incandescents in January due to the legal mandate to phase them out. Its bulbs now are energy efficient halogens, CF, and several lamps that use LEDs.
As competition increases, prices will start to fall. Already Philips has cut the cost of it’s 60 watt equivalent bulbs by $15 to $25. In India, 60 watt equivalent bulbs are going for less than $15 whereas in the U.S. they go for $24.