How Many Apps Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb? Just One...

With 'Light Bulb Finder', the dream of CFLs in every socket is no longer a filament of your imagination.

9-watt, 12-watt, or 40 watt bulb? This choice has never been easier thanks to Light Bulb Finder. (Photo: EcoHatchery)
Sal holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.

Setting: the light bulb aisle at Home Depot.

Who: You, the average American light bulb consumer.

What: Deciding in a few seconds which of the countless similar-looking and eco-friendly-titled packages of light bulbs to purchase on a last minute Saturday morning shopping spree when you’ve got three kids pulling at your sweatpants demanding to know how long it is until we get to go to Chuck E Cheese for lunch like you promised, Mommy?

If you’ve experienced this hellish scene and lived to regret your no doubt uninformed light bulb acquisition, we’ve got the app for you: the Light Bulb Finder, from Wisconsin-based Eco-Hatchery.

The app uses E.P.A. data on energy-saving light bulbs to help consumers make the switch to more efficient incandescent bulbs. Enter your ZIP code, and the app will calculate your savings based on local electric rates.

In November, the app—which is for both iPhones and Androids devices—won the “best over all” prize in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Apps for the Environment Challenge.

The app couldn’t be easier to use.

Three steps, that's it:

1) Click through to set the specs—size, shape, watts—of your current bulb.

2) This directs you to the type of bulb you should be using.

3) A prompt then tells you how much money it will likely save you and how much good it will do to the environment.

Developers say it'll cut the average annual electricity bill by more than $120 and cut CO2 impact by 1,360 lbs.

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