Are you confused about lighting options for your home? You’re not alone. The number of light bulbs hitting the marketplace today is overwhelming. While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “Lighting Facts” labels promise to take the mystery out of comparing one light bulb to another, there’s still remains the question of what distinguishes one type of light bulb from another.
American inventor Thomas Edison would be amazed at today’s lighting options. No longer is it easy to find a replacement bulb that’s both energy efficient and easy on the wallet. But, help is on its way. Energy Star has a ratings system to help consumers identify qualified CFLs that are both energy saving and cost effective. FTC’s new labels should help consumers weed through more promising light bulb options.
Ready to buy that replacement bulb? Looking for energy efficient light bulbs that won’t break the bank? Before you go shopping, it’s important to understand the technology and the options before you. Check out these ABCs of Lighting: A Primer on Energy Saving Light Bulbs Today. Sure to get your home and garden lighting on track.
Incandescent Light Bulbs. This light bulb is characterized as an electric light source that generates light by heating a filament made of wound metal wire to high temperature which emits light. The filament is enclosed in glass and filled with inert gas. The light bulb gets its power from electric current. Heat is lost in the process. Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out in the United States and around the world, replaced by other light bulbs and technologies that emit light in a cooler, more cost-efficient way.
Halogen Lamps. A halogen lamp is a type of incandescent lamp with a tungsten filament that’s contained within an inert gas and a small amount of halogen, such as iodine or bromine. When the halogen gas connects with the tungsten filament, it produces a chemical reaction that helps to emit light. This halogen cycle offers a cleaner technology than, say, incandescent light bulbs, and as a result increases the life of the halogen bulb. But, halogen lamps get hotter than incandescent and may cause a safety hazard for homeowners.
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs). These light bulbs emit the same amount of light as traditional incandescent light bulbs but use less power. They also last longer than traditional lighting. CFLs have come a long way in mimicking the soft light emitted by traditional light bulbs. CFLs are produced to fit into most lightening fixtures as a reasonable, energy saving alternative to incandescent. Energy Star ratings help homeowners identify qualified CFLs that are both economically and energy efficient. But, CFLs cost more and contain mercury, posing a safety hazard for homeowners.
Long Lasting LEDs. Cities and towns across the United States are replacing energy draining lights with long lasting LEDs. While the commercial applications of LEDs continue to show great promise, it’s likely that the long lasting LED will find its way into American homes and become another cost efficient, long lasting and energy saving lighting alternative in the future.
Lamp Section, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
Federal Trade Commission
International Association of Lighting Management Companies