Best sparkling wines for your New Year’s Eve party

Best sparkling wines for your New Year’s Eve party

A New Year’s celebration is even more festive with a glass of delicious sparkling wine in hand. Whether it is a big name French Champagne or a delectable and affordable Cava from Spain, choose your bubbly based on your taste and your budget. Fortunately, as we’ve confirmed in our tests, quality sparklers come at a range of price points. (Check our reviews of sparkling wines, including sparkling rosés.)

Shopping for sparkling wine can be a bit daunting—at the … (read more)

The five brightest ideas from this year’s Lightfair

The five brightest ideas from this year’s Lightfair

Lightfair in Philadelphia this week bills itself as the world’s largest commercial and architectural lighting trade show. But for the Consumer Reports staffers who test and report on energy-saving lightbulbs, Lightfair is our geeky go-to for the latest in lighting. As competition for the growing LED market heats up, manufacturers are promising lightbulbs that do more and cost less. Here are five developments from the show that turned us on.

Cree: Warm light at the right price
Consumers want … (read more)

Key remodeling index shows most activity in seven years

Key remodeling index shows most activity in seven years

An important indicator of remodeling robustness jumped five points this past quarter climbing back to 2005 levels, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The Remodeling Market Index hit 50 meaning that more contractors are reporting higher activity than lower, compared to three months ago. The activity was particularly strong in owner-occupied homes indicating that homeowners are regaining confidence in the value of their houses.

“The strength of the RMI, especially in owner-occupied properties, shows that homeowners are investing … (read more)

50 years ago inventor of the LED knew it had a bright future

50 years ago inventor of the LED knew it had a bright future

All this talk about LEDs replacing incandescent lightbulbs isn’t new. Just ask the man who invented the first practical semiconductor LED 50 years ago. Even then he predicted that LEDs would someday replace incandescents because they turn most of the electricity they use into light. Thomas Edison’s invention has had a very long run, but his incandescent lightbulb converts only 10 percent of its electricity into light, releasing the rest as heat.

Working as … (read more)