Looking for those last minute, inexpensive and romantic holiday gifts? Well, two out of three ain’t bad with the new crop of LED bulbs. You can help make a dent in the 15% of U.S. residential electrical usage that is used for lighting. Prices have declined so quickly on LED bulbs that they are no longer a novelty. Without a doubt, replacing the incandescent bulbs in your home or business is the most cost effective way to reduce your energy costs.

In year’s past LEDs were also limited to standard screw-in bulbs. Now LED bulbs are available for virtually every light fixture. Moreover, LED bulbs come in color temperatures (soft white, daylight, etc.) that match incandescents. Plus, many of the newer LEDs can be used with dimmers (although sometimes not at the lowest setting).

Not only are LEDs more efficient, but they also have a much longer lifespan than incandescents and fluorescent bulbs. But the concept of planned obsolescence has kicked in with LEDs; I’ve noticed that the lifespan of LED bulbs has declined from 22 years to 11 years — but still much longer than the typical 1-3 year lifespan of incandescents.

This combination of long life, lower costs, good color temperature, dimming and bulbs for every fixture make LEDs the light source of choice for just about every application. Except for the hazards of climbing a chair or ladder to replace your bulbs, there is almost no reason to delay changing out your incandescents for LEDs. For more about our transition to LED lighting, please Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World.