Now that you’ve got your guerrilla gardening and backyard bug-identifying iPhone apps squared away, perhaps it’s high time that you get your butt indoors and finally get around to switching out those energy-draining incandescent light bulbs. But where in the world do you begin?
Meet Light Bulb Finder, a free app for iPhones and Androids that's geared towards folks who may be savvy when it comes to mobile gadgetry but have been left bewildered by the recent flood of energy-efficient light bulb options. Developed by Wisconsin-based Eco Hatchery, Light Bulb Finder recently picked up the “best over all” prize in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Apps for the Environment Challenge.
From watching a detailed video demo (I'm a BlackBerry guy so I can't try it out myself), the app itself seems pretty nifty and offers a much more graceful alternative to pulling out your hair in the lighting aisle at The Home Depot. First, you enter your zip code so that the app can pull up your local electric rates (or manually enter it based on your most recent electric bill).
Next, you enter a bunch of information about the bulb that you’re looking to replace: its style, wattage, the fixture and base types, features, quantity, the estimated hours used, and its location in your home. Based on that information, the app pulls up the details (cost, annual CO2 reduction and energy savings, payback on investment time, etc) and an image of a recommended replacement bulb. From there, you can choose to not replace your old bulb or add the recommended bulb to a comprehensive shopping list to take with you when you set out to make the purchase. Or, you can buy the bulb(s) directly though the app for home delivery. For more details, check out the video demo embedded below.
Sounds like a bright idea to me. Anyone out there given Light Bulb Finder a spin?
Video screenshot: LightBulbFinder/Youtube

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

How many apps does it take to change a light bulb?
... as it turns out, just one. Eco Hatchery's free Light Bulb Finder app for iPhones and Androids makes the sometimes daunting process of replacing an energy-dr