With the Republican National Convention currently under way in Tampa, I thought it would be appropriate to check in with a favorite dread-inducing topic amongst certain members of the GOP (or at least with this delightful speaker at the 2008 RNC): energy-efficient light bulbs.

According to a recent study released by Consumer Reports, of the 90 percent of Americans who have made the switch from inefficient incandescent lights bulbs to energy- and money-saving CFLs and LEDs, a majority — 75 percent, to be precise — have opted to purchase the former despite the fact that Consumer Reports-recommended LEDs offer superior light quality, efficiency and boast decades-long life spans. Plus, LEDs are mercury-free, don’t require time to warm up, and are often omni-directional.

Not surprisingly, CFLs are more popular with consumers because they boast significantly cheaper price tags than LEDs. Twenty-three percent of consumers surveyed singled out their price as an issue. This may change, however, as prices for LEDs continue to fall. In just the last year, LED prices have decreased by 20 percent while it’s anticipated that the price of standard 60-watt replacement LEDs will fall another $10 over the next two to three years.

For the report, Consumer Reports tested a total of 744 energy-efficient 60-watt equivalent light bulbs including LEDs costing between $25 and $60 and "fine, inexpensive" CFLs from companies such as GE, Feit and Sylvania costing between $1.25 and $18. Testers found that the top $25 LED of the bunch could potentially save consumers a whopping $130 in energy costs over the course of 23 years. The average 60-watt equivalent CFL bulb offered a not-too-shabby savings of $60.

In terms of the best-performing LEDs, Consumer Reports singled out the EcoSmart A19 ($26) and the Philips AmbientLED ($25).

The report is currently available on the Consumer Reports website and will appear in the October issue of the magazine. And in addition to singling out the best and the brightest LEDs and CFLs, the consumer watchdog group has also identified four "light bulb letdowns"— dim bulbs, weird light color, unflattering light, and early burnout — along with suggestions on how to prevent them.

Related light bulb story on MNN: CFL vs. incandescent: Battle of the bulbs

Via [Consumer Reports], [L.A. Times]

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

Study: CFLs outshine LEDs in terms of consumer popularity
Although LED light bulbs live longer and boast greater efficiency than CFLs, a majority of energy-conscious consumers opt for the latter.