Are High-CRI Bulbs Energy Efficient?


lights on blue background

We all want our homes to be filled with beautiful, vibrant colors. But when it comes to lighting, there’s a hidden factor called CRI that might make us worry about our energy bills. 

Because we love quality light at Livewire, many of our lighting clients have asked us about the energy efficiency of CRI light bulbs. We believe in transparency and empowering our customers with knowledge. So, we wrote this blog to dig into the truth and see how CRI and energy efficiency are connected.

What is Color Rendering Index or CRI?

Think of sunlight as the ultimate expert on colors, with a perfect CRI of 100. Now, imagine a dim, dull bulb – that’s low CRI, where colors don’t look as good. CRI measures how accurately a light source shows colors compared to natural sunlight, on a scale from 0 to 100. The higher the CRI, the better things look under that light.

CRI itself doesn’t directly affect how much energy a bulb uses. It’s only about color accuracy, not energy consumption, hence its full name Color Rendering Index. So, having a high-CRI bulb doesn’t necessarily mean it uses a lot of energy.

CRI explained. Natural vs artificial light

What factors affect energy efficiency in light bulbs?

When it comes to energy efficiency, these are the key factors to consider:

  1. Lumens: This measures brightness, not color. A brighter bulb, regardless of CRI, will use more energy.
  2. Technology: LED bulbs are the best for saving energy, and they come in high-CRI options that are much better than old incandescent bulbs when it comes to energy efficiency.
  3. Wattage: This tells you how much power a bulb uses. While it’s related to brightness, it’s not the whole story. Newer LED bulbs can be just as bright with less power, which increases their energy efficiency.


Can You Get Both Color Accuracy and Energy Efficiency?

Absolutely! Here’s the good news about CRI and energy efficiency:

  1. Many high-CRI LEDs are very energy-efficient. Look for bulbs labeled “Energy Star” or compare lumens-per-watt ratings to find the best options.
  2. Technology keeps improving. New LED designs offer even better CRI while still being super energy efficient. Keep an eye out for new products or reach out to the lighting experts at Livewire for the latest developments.
  3. Smart lighting can help too. By dimming lights and using timers, you can control energy efficiency use without sacrificing color accuracy.

By using a combination of smart automation and high-tech LED lights, you can enjoy vibrant beautiful natural colors in your home while still lowering your monthly energy bills. 


light bulbs

In Conclusion: 

When considering high-CRI lighting you don’t need to worry about losing energy efficiency. High CRI doesn’t mean high energy use. Look for energy efficient LED bulbs and compare lumens-per-watt ratings. Consider adding smart lighting to give you extra control over energy efficiency in your home. You can enjoy vibrant colors with high-CRI lighting without worrying about your energy bills.

Ready to upgrade your home’s old can or recessed lighting? Livewire can help!


Some of the areas we serve include:

Short Pump
New Kent
Glen Allen
Colonial Heights
Charles City

Livewire serves customers all throughout Central Virginia. If you don’t see your city or town listed here, please contact us to find out if we can accommodate your needs.

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