Posted By Carolyn on May 18, 2013
New laws mean fewer incandescent bulbs.
Ever wonder how to pick the right LED or Compact Florescent light bulb? Here’s an article from Builder Magazine that de-codes all of the new vocabulary in lighting…
A New Age for Light – by Builder Online
With a government edict providing the push, household light bulbs as we’ve known them are rapidly becoming historical curiosities. Their replacements not only use less energy and last longer but also let us manipulate light in an entirely different way.
For starters, think lumens, not just watts. Wattage is a measure of how much electricity a bulb uses, and that’s what got conventional incandescents into trouble in the first place. They used too much electricity for too little light—roughly 90 percent of the power they consumed went into heat, not light.
Lumens is the amount of visible light a bulb produces, and that, rather than wattage, is the new metric for specifying brightness. An old-style 100-watt incandescent, for example, produces about 1600 lumens—and that’s what to look for on packaging when you buy a replacement.
What’s forcing widespread changes in lighting is the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Although it didn’t ban conventional incandescents, it did toughen energy efficiency standards. Some types of old bulbs are exempt from the new requirements, but the law leaves three alternate technologies for most residential lighting: halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). All three of them are more efficient than old-style bulbs while lasting up to 50 times longer.
Less Power, More Light
All three new alternatives are more efficient, or, in industry talk, have a higher efficacy than conventional incandescents. According to DOE figures, for example, to get the same amount of light as a conventional 60-watt incandescent (about 800 lumens), you can use a 43-watt halogen incandescent, a 15-watt CFL, or a 12-watt LED. Annual energy costs for that bulb—based on two hours of use per day and energy costs of 11 cents per kilowatt hour—drop accordingly, from $4.80 for the standard incandescent to $3.50, $1.20, and $1, respectively.
There are two other factors that go into choosing a light source: color temperature and color rendering. Conventional incandescents cast a relatively warm light, roughly 2700 degrees Kelvin. Higher color temperatures mean cooler, whiter light.
If you want colors to appear exactly as they would under an incandescent light source, look for a color rendering index of 100.
Halogens, CFLs Most Affordable
LEDs: The Future of Light
Working With Digitized Light
Discover the future of lighting by reading the entire article.