As the common household incandescent bulb marches towards extinction (they'll be completely phased out in the U.S. by 2014), the "battle of the bulb" heats up with CFLs, LEDs and a new, long-lasting contender, the ESL bulb, vying to take its place and usher in a new era of energy-efficient lighting.

As the common household incandescent bulb marches towards extinction (they'll be completely phased out in the U.S. by 2014), the "battle of the bulb" heats up with CFLs, LEDs and a new, long-lasting contender, the ESL bulb, vying to take its place and usher in a new era of energy-efficient lighting.

GE just announced the release of the Energy Smart LED, a new omni-directional, 9-watt bulb designed to replace the common 40-watt incandescent bulb used in bedside and table lamps. According to GE, the life of the Energy Smart LED is 25,000 hours or 22.8 years (based on three hour per day usage) and offers a 77 percent energy savings when compared to 40-watt incandescent bulbs. It's also the first A-Line LED bulb to receive an EnergyStar rating.

The price? Brace yourself: The Energy Smart LED sells for $50. It's admittedly a daunting price to pay for a single light bulb that will live in (and perhaps outlive) your bedside lamp, but when you do the math the dramatic cost becomes easier to swallow. With an estimated yearly cost of $1.08 versus $4.82 for a 40-watt incandescent (based on $.11 per kilowatt hour), a single Energy Smart LED can save homeowners $85 over the lifetime of the bulb.

Learn more about this innovative 40-watt substitute at GE's Energy Smart LED mini-site, www.gelighting.com/na/energysmartLED/home.html, where you can also purchase the bulb now. Or, wait until January when the Energy Smart LED hits retail shelves.

Matt Hickman writes about the best ways to go green at home on this blog: www.mnn.com/featured-blogs/greenhome.