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Efficient Lighting

Compact Fluorescent Lamps
Halogen Bulbs
Measuring Light Output and Usage
Comparison of Typical Bulbs

All of us are familiar with the standard incandescent light bulb that is used in most light fixtures today. Most people are also familiar with 4-foot and 8-foot linear fluorescent lights that are common in schools and offices. However, several types of energy-efficient bulbs are gaining in popularity; most of these have been around for years and are standard throughout Europe.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps
Compact fluorescent lamps use roughly 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 10 times as long. They have a high purchase price (typically $15 each), but the energy savings are substantially more than this. A 23-watt compact fluorescent lamp used in place of a 90-watt incandescent bulb will produce the same amount of light and save 670 kWh over its lifetime. This amounts to roughly $58 in electricity savings at average national prices from the purchase of a $15 bulb. Compact fluorescents should not be confused with older styles of fluorescent lighting which had a tendency to buzz or flicker; compact fluorescent lights have largely overcome these problems. Unfortunately, compact fluorescent bulbs may not fit in all fixtures because they are usually a little larger than a standard incandescent bulb. However, adapters are available that enable compact fluorescent lamps to fit in most fixtures, and new fixtures designed specifically for these bulbs are also on the market.

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EnergyMiser, or Supersaver bulbs are incandescents that use 5% to 13% less electricity than ordinary light bulbs with only a very minimal reduction in light output. They cost slightly more, but are economical on a lifetime basis. Donít confuse these with Longlife bulbs, which can last up to twice as long, but are less efficient than standard bulbs. Longlife bulbs are generally recommended in locations where it is difficult to replace bulbs.

Halogen Bulbs
Halogen bulbs are more efficient than standard incandescent bulbs and last three to four times as long. Replacing incandescent track and spot lighting is the best application for halogen bulbs; you can use a lower wattage bulb and get the same general effect as with larger wattage incandescents. This also holds true for outside flood lights. However, be wary of high wattage halogen lamps, sometimes in the 300 to 500 watt range. These produce a tremendous amount of light but consume an equally large amount of energy. You should also be aware that there are serious safety concerns over very popular halogen torchiere-style floor lamps. These fixtures generate intense heat and can cause fires if placed too close to flammable materials.

Measuring Light Output and Usage
Most people readily associate the term wattage with lights, but mistakenly assume it is a measure of the amount of light produced. Wattage is actually a measure of the energy usage of the bulb. The light output of a bulb is measured in lumens. A bulb with a lower wattage can actually have a much higher lumen output. Lighting packaging today must indicate the lumens produced by a bulb.

Improving the efficiency of a bulb requires using less energy (watts) for a given level of light output (lumens). A common measure of the efficiency of a bulb, termed efficacy, is lumens divided by watts. The cost-effectiveness of a bulb also takes into account its cost and life. A comparison of typical bulbs appears below. Be aware that these are representative only; there are variances among specific bulbs, and other factors, including light fixtures, bulb placement, and age of bulb, will effect actual light output.

Comparison of typical bulbs

Standard Incand. Long life Energy Miser Halogen Compact Fluor.
1,000 hours 2,500 hours 1,000 hours 3,000 hours 10,000 hours
watts (lumens) watts (lumens) watts (lumens) watts (lumens) watts (lumens)
25 (220) 4 (230)
40 (480) 34 (410) 42 (665) 7 (400)
60 (880) 52 (720) 52 (800) 52 (885) 13 (800)
75 (1200) 67 (940) 67 (1130) 72 (1200) 18 (1175)
100 (1750) 90 (1260) 90 (1620) 100 (1740) 27 (1675)
150 (2850) 135 (2580) 32 (1950)
flood: 75 (760) 45 (700) 18 (800)

Notice, for example, that a 52-watt Energy Miser bulb uses about 13% less energy than its 60-watt incandescent counterpart, but in turn produces over 90% of the light. A comparable long life bulb, however, while lasting 2.5 times as long, will only produce about 82% of the light of the incandescent. On the other hand, a 13-watt Compact Fluorescent produces the same light as the 52-watt Energy Miser but uses only 25% of the energy and lasts 10 times as long. Even given its higher cost, such a bulb would cost approximately $28 dollars over its life vs. $72.50 for an incandescent (using a cost per kWh of 10 cents).

Effective May 1995, all bulb manufacturers had to re-label their products under Federal Trade Commission consumer protection regulation. The new labels must provide the light output (measured in lumens), the amount of energy used (watts); and the lifetime (hours). If positioning affects a compact fluorescentís light output by more than 5% (see discussion below) that must be disclosed.

Light quality is measured in Color Rendering Index (CRI) and Correlated Color Temperature (CCT). CCT, which is measured on the Kelvin (deg.K) temperature scale, provides an indication of how the light will look. Cooler lights (those with more blue) are those with higher temperatures; a CCT higher than 2,800 typically indicates a cooler light and will look whiter than a standard incandescent. Bulbs with CCTís below 2800 will appear more red in nature.

CRI is a measure of how objects will look under the light. It is roughly a comparison of the light source with natural light, with a CRI of 100 the equivalent of natural light. CRI for a standard incandescent will be in the range of 85 to 95. Older fluorescents will typically have a CRI in the 60ís.


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