Next-Generation Halogen
The halogen bulb—basically an incandescent infused with halogen gas—has long been a popular alternative to traditional bulbs. Halogens burn twice as long, use 10 percent less energy, and produce a clean, bright-white light. But they still burn hot and, like their predecessors, waste a lot of their energy on needless Btus.

GE, Philips, and Sylvania are all rolling out new halogen bulbs that are more efficient than their previous offerings and, on average, last about three times as long as incandescents. GE's Reveal bulbs last around 2,250 hours and cost $4 to $5; Philips's Halogena Energy Saver bulbs last 3,000 hours and cost about $5 a pop; and Sylvania's Capsylite A-Line halogens last up to 3,500 hours and cost $7 to $9.

Even the standard incandescent is headed for a makeover. "We are going to work continually on more energy-efficient incandescents," says Sylvania's Jennifer Dolan. The company just came out with the E-Logic bulb, which uses slightly less energy and lasts 50 percent longer than a standard incandescent. One-third smaller than a regular bulb, it comes packaged four to a box. (Eco-bonus: The packages are made of recycled paperboard.) Within a couple of years, GE promises an incandescent that will be nearly as energy-efficient as its CFLs.

"A lot of people still like incandescents," says Freeman. "It's simply another consumer choice." So no matter which type of illumination you prefer, at least in terms of energy efficiency it's clear that bulb manufacturers are beginning to see the light.

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