From the start, LED bulbs offered amazing energy savings over incandescents. A 6- to 10-watt LED (depending on the lamp's efficacy) will put out 800 lumens - the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb. Plus, LEDs offered unbelievable life - in the range of 25,000 to 50,000 hours (compared to about 10,000 hours for a typical CFL or just 1,000 or an incandescent). GE and Cree offer 10-year warranties on some LEDs.

But there were drawbacks. At first very few LED bulbs came in warm hues, although that has changed. Warm 2700K LED replacement bulbs have become common. But few have lost their odd, space-age look, which we learn from Aaron Birkland in Green Building Advisor was an aesthetic developed in part to accommodate the large heat sinks needed to conduct heat away from the heat-sensitive diode, and in part to distribute the light in a reasonable pattern.

However, Aaron recently found a new breed of LED replacement:  "LED filament" bulbs, which look almost exactly like incandescents yet retain the long lifespan (in the 25,000- to 50,000-hour range) and offer energy savings efficiencies near 120 lm/W.

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