Halogen bulbs, which have been on the market for years, are incandescents with a pressurized capsule containing a tungsten filament and a small quantity of halogen gas. The technology allows the filament to emit more light per watt burned, resulting in about 25 percent less energy use during the bulb's life. Today you can find screw-in halogen bulbs that work with your existing fixtures; the packaging might read "incandescent that uses halogen technology." One example is Philips's EcoVantage bulb, which uses only 72 watts of energy to burn just as bright as a 100-watt incandescent.
And if you're still not wild about your options for efficient bulbs, you can probably wait things out a bit while your incandescents still work. "The technology's only getting better. Manufacturers are working hard on improvements," says Arnold.
Pictured: Homeowner Joe Titlow reviews fixture options with lighting designer Susan Arnold.