How much is too much to pay for energy-efficient light bulbs?

Energy-conscious consumers appear willing to shell out more money for more expensive LED and CFL bulbs, as long as they last longer and are energy efficient. Would consumers be willing to pay $50 for one light bulb, though?

Last week, The Washington Post reported that Philips will soon begin offering an LED bulb that runs on 10 watts, lasts longer than traditional bulbs and emits brighter colors. Although consumers may scoff at the $50 price tag, Philips is on the right track when it comes to lighting solutions.

"I don't want to say it's exorbitant, but if a customer is only looking at the price, they could come to that conclusion," Home Depot senior official Brad Paulsen told The Washington Post. "This is a Cadillac product and that's why you have a premium on it."

LED bulbs are appealing to consumers because they last about 20 times longer than the average incandescent bulb – 100,000 hours compared with 5,000 hours. The primary reason for this difference is that most of an incandescent bulb's energy – about 80 percent –  is lost as heat energy. An LED light is much more energy efficient, in that it only loses 20 percent of its energy to heat. This may also make bulbs safer, as they are not nearly as hot.

Although LED and CFL bulbs do have higher up-front costs, their extended lifetimes, relative to incandescent bulbs, provide long-term financial benefits to consumers. Users of these energy-efficient bulbs also do not have to worry about regularly purchasing and changing light bulbs.

Upgrading lighting is one of the easiest ways for a consumer to begin unlocking the basics of energy-efficient homes. To learn about addition strategies to cut utility bills, homeowners should contact a Washington, D.C. home inspection provider to conduct an energy audit in their residences.