MGE Energy Lab: LED Bulbs

Energy-efficient LED bulbs vary by color to serve different purposes in your home.

Don't be confused when purchasing LED lightbulbs. Look for ENERGY STAR® bulbs with a color temperature scale on the packaging to help guide your buying decisions.

LED lightbulbs save money and have come down in price. These energy-efficient bulbs are widely available from multiple retailers. Yet, some people pause in the store aisles wondering which brand to purchase and what color to choose.

Don't hesitate and wonder—we have easy answers!

MGE recommends that you purchase ENERGY STAR-certified bulbs to get the best assurance for quality and energy savings. If we all work to be more energy efficient, we can reduce overall and peak energy use. Reducing our community's peak energy use is an objective under MGE's Energy 2030 framework. By reducing peak, we can reduce long-term costs for all of us.

LEDs explained

An LED is a microchip that emits light. LEDs can produce different colors. This light color is measured on a temperature scale referred to as Kelvin (K). Lower K numbers mean the light appears more yellow; higher K numbers mean the light is whiter or bluer.

As for choosing the right color, consider your own preferences and where you plan to use the bulb.

Look at the LED bulb's packaging. The lighting facts label will detail the color temperature scale:

2200K to 3000K. Softer, warmer white light

2200K to 3000K: Softer, warmer white light. Good for living areas as this tends to replicate the standard color of incandescent bulbs.

3500K to 4100K. Neutral, cool white light

3500K to 4100K: Neutral, cool white light. Good for kitchens and work spaces.

5000K to 6500K. Daylight, pure white light

5000K to 6500K: Daylight, pure white light. Good for task lighting or reading.

Take your time to pick the right color temperature because quality LEDs come with an estimated life of 35,000 to 50,000 hours. In contrast, a typical incandescent bulb will last about 1,000 hours.

And, to save even more money, look for Focus on Energy's Instant Discounts stickers on select LED bulbs to get an in-store discount. (No rebates or coupons are needed, but incentives may change or be discontinued.) Visit for details.

Do you have old lightbulbs to recycle? Check out Go Green, Recycle Old to find out where you can dispose of them.

published: 02-01-2017