On the Energy Star website, I see the claim:

ENERGY STAR Qualified LED Lighting:

  • Reduces energy costs — uses at least 75% less energy than incandescent lighting, saving on operating expenses.

After a cursory search for lightbulbs on Home Depot's website, I see this Energy Star lightbulb, which is a "100W" bulb using 15.5W and produces 1700 lumens (106 lm/w), and I see this non-Energy Star lightbulb, which is a "100W" bulb that uses 14W and produces 1521 lumens (108 lm/w). So at the very least, it doesn't seem like Energy Star lighting would reduce energy costs compared to non-Energy Star lighting.

Are there any actual energy efficiency or environmental friendliness benefits to using Energy Star lightbulbs, or is it just a marketing campaign? (Ignore convenience, warranty, durability, etc.)

  • 6
    Energy-Star is just a US government program of certifying energy usage of "energy saving" devices. The difference between the two lightbulbs may simply be that one manufacturer submitted the design for certification and the other didn't. On the other hand, you are trusting the second manufacturer not to lie on the specs of the non-certified design.
    – DoxyLover
    Jan 12 '17 at 6:20

The first problem here is the "100W" claim, which you here treat as the reference standard from which to compare. Actually, it's the most dubious claim of the bunch, and has never been reliable. I suspect it's a common mistake for people to fixate on the "100W" number since it's a unit they're familiar with, and that's why manufacturers toss it on the box. It's time to get familiar with lumens. Seriously.

I went ahead and edited into your question their claimed lumens in italics. You can now see how different they are, in fact. Even the prices fall more in line once you are looking at lumens per dollar.

Now that you see lm/w numbers, you can see where Energy Star doesn't mean a whole lot when everything blows the doors off the mandated efficiency numbers, even no-name house-brands that took a ride on a slow boat.

The bigger issue is life-cycle quality. A lot of consumers have market blindness. If it's marketed aggressively at their favorite discount big-box, people perceive them as quality simply because they are plentiful. Nothing could be farther than the truth.

A big factor is losing brightness over time. The raw LED emitter business is dominated by 5 or 6 large companies who aggressively cross-license the technologies to make LEDs last a long time. More on that in this SE answer. It's about who makes the internal LED emitter chips, and less whose name is on the consumer product. (though obviously a Cree lamp will have Cree emitters, a Philips lamp Philips emitters etc.) You can look for blogs and Youtubes where electronics geeks do teardowns of the various brands.

The other factor is the quality of the electronic driver circuit - and cost is everything here. When the driver fails, the LED goes dark entirely. Well-marketed products are built to a price point - and that means cutting corners in the driver, where failures will not emerge for 1-5 years, after the warranty has run. And people get hoodwinked by what's probably a house brand "Euri" (did not check the Japanese meaning, clearly).

  • Power factor, colour temperature, product marketing, and radio interference are also covered. Jul 28 '17 at 8:24

ENERGY STAR is a label that shows that the LED bulb is certified for energy efficiency. LED technology has proven to be the most energy-efficient so far compared to other lighting technologies. However, not every manufacturer adheres to the principles of light production. There will be less quality in saving power. ENERGY STAR branded LEDs make consumers more reassuring to buy.

  • 1
    Your last sentence is incorrect. Energy Star is not a brand, it doesn't brand LEDs.
    – Chenmunka
    Jul 28 '17 at 10:15

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