Happy New Year!  2012 has long been anticipated as the end of the Mayan calendar and the beginning The New Age of Light Bulbs.  As of yesterday, 100-watt light bulbs must be at least 25% more efficient their packages must explain their brightness, annual operating costsm, and expected life span.  75-watt bulbs will face the same standards next January, and 40- and 60-watt bulbs will fall into line in 2014.

While hoarders stock up on incandescent bulbs (because who doesn't want a lifetime supply of bulbs that waste 90% of their energy as heat instead of light?), the rest of us are standing in the hardware store trying to make sense of watts, lumens, light appearance, annual operating cost, and expected life span.

There's wealth of information about the Energy Star options, but we're partial to Light Bulb Finder, the free mobile app that won Best Overall App in EPA's Apps for the Environment contest.

Select the kind of light fixture and the bulb you're replacing, and Light Bulb Finder will recommend a replacement bulb, calculate your annual savings in both dollars and carbon dioxide, and send you a printable shopping list - and give you the option to buy your new efficient bulbs right then and there.

Sure, you could stand in the aisle at Home Depot and figure it out, but isn't it more efficient to get some help?