What Is Good For Eco-friendly Lighting: LED or CFLs
Buying lights seems simple, but the work is more complicated than you think. You must choose the right type of light fixture based mainly on cost and energy efficiency. The two most talked about types are CFLs and LEDs. Both types have existed for decades, but recently, these lights are becoming more popular and commonplace. Lower prices have made it easier for people to buy LED lights, but CFLs are still being bought by many consumers. Before you decide to buy CFLs or LEDs, know the benefits of working with each type of light.
The light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs seem ready to take over the incandescent and compact fluorescent light (CFL) counterparts. Even so, there is still some more distance before the lights become completely affordable and versatile. You may have already known about LEDs for a long time. See these lights in a wide range of applications, such as TV screens, digital watches, tablets and traffic lights. The costs of semiconductor materials are not cheap, but the prices have fallen recently, so there are opportunities for advancements in eco-friendly lighting.
The high initial costs of LED lights seem like a turn off for many consumers. However, they do not consider how these costs become amortized over the years through energy savings. When you use LED lights, you reduce electricity usage and save more money than if you used incandescent and fluorescent lights.
There is an easy way to calculate the savings and make comparisons. Determine the total number of hours you plan to use the light. Then, count the total number of non-LED bulbs you plan to replace. Count the number of watts in each of these bulbs. LED lights are measured with units called lumen. You can convert watts into lumens to make estimates of the power limits. Next, look on your electric bill to see the amount of money you spend for each kilowatt hour. Take these simple steps to know the savings that you get from using LED and non-LED lights.
Extensive energy efficient technology
The energy efficiency for LED lighting is significantly greater than it is for incandescent and fluorescent lighting. LED lights do not have mercury, toxins or filaments that burn away. Install a few LED fixtures that last for decades longer than CFL and incandescent lights.
Also, LEDs do not emit excessive heat that gets wasted easily. After a few hours of use, touch the LED light without getting burned because it needs little electricity to work. Therefore, there are no fire hazards to worry about. You can place the bulbs next to curtains and other flammable items without problems.
Using LED lights is known to protect the environment. Electricity is a crucial resource that takes significant energy and effort to create, so it must be conserved as much as possible. To satisfy all of the world’s energy needs, there are countless power plants that are being put into constant use. Without conservation, many of these resources will be wasted like being thrown into the garbage.
LED lighting is environmentally friendly because it is extremely durable. Use one LED light fixture for as long as you live without making a replacement. However, for every single LED light you use, go through 10 to 60 incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. You waste money, too, if you buy these many fixtures over the years. This pileup adds to unnecessary waste in the landfill.
In the past, LED lights were not very bright. To fix this problem, LED manufacturers concentrate the light by placing clusters of small bulbs in one casing. Even so, many of these LED bulbs do not emit the same amount of sufficient light as 35-watt incandescent bulbs.
Anyone wanting to know the brightness levels of LED lights should check the lumens. The lumens are units that measure the intensity of light. The number of lumens usually varies from 50 to 1200 for a standard light. Check the amounts of lumens and watts if you want quality brightness to your lights.
Reduced operating costs
Since LED lights will most likely take the place of CFL and incandescent lights, manufacturers are determined to increase the levels of brightness. Earth LED is one company that is leading the way with ZetaLux and EvoLux light bulbs that contain numerous LEDs in one casing. The ZetaLux costs about $49.99 and emits light that is similar to a 60-watt incandescent bulb. It lasts for at least 50,000 hours at a small price of $2 for annual operation costs. The EvoLuxlight has power similar to a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a cost of $80 per fixture.
Large selections in offline and online stores
Light manufacturers are creating all kinds of designs for LEDs in the hopes that more products lead to more purchases and lower costs. Until then, these LED lights are commonly found in hardware and department stores. There are many different hardware stores and online shops that provide more lighting choices than you can imagine.
Versatile incorporations into sign designs
Find LEDs almost everywhere from batteries to TVs to signs. Building owners need emergency LED signs that stay illuminated at all times. That is where LED lights increase in versatility and importance. These signs are useless in dark buildings, so lights are incorporated into the designs of the words and images. The typical emergency light runs on electric and battery power. Whenever you look at LED exit signs, know that these devices are probably lit by the energy-efficient and long-lasting power of LEDs.
Incandescent lights are becoming less and less known to consumers. In 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act was created to ensure that all light fixtures have a 30 percent increased level of energy efficiency. Anyone can continue buying incandescent bulbs, but the more popular thing is to buy the more energy efficient versions.
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are compact, energy efficient and long lasting. Even though incandescent bulbs have been working for hundreds of years, now is the time to make a switch.
There are very good reasons why incandescent bulbs are being phased out quickly. Most of the energy created from incandescent bulbs is heat and not light. Therefore, the average bulb consumes a lot of energy and emits excessive heat, making it very inefficient. As halogen and incandescent lights work, the surfaces get very hot and untouchable. These extreme heat emissions are likely to cause fire hazards.
Also, the average incandescent fixture lasts for nearly 2,000 hours compared to 8,000 hours for fluorescent lights. Any smart consumer prefers products that last longer, emit less heat and consume less energy. So, know more about the benefits of buying fluorescent lights.
High energy efficiency
In addition to the long lifespan, CFLs are significantly more energy efficient than incandescent lights. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) predicts that if every American home replaced incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones, it would be the same as taking 800,000 cars off the road.
Reducing pollution is a significant task that is needed to promote good energy efficiency. When you use fewer incandescent bulbs, you prevent manufacturers from building power plants to make the bulbs. Fewer toxins and chemicals are emitted into the air and water on a regular basis. Every day that products are being made, there are severe risks of toxic contamination. Like an environmentalist, you prevent trees and land from being cleared out to make room for nuclear plants.
In addition to saving large amounts of energy, compact fluorescent lights outlast incandescent ones. Fluorescent lights last 15,000 hours on average, which is 15 times more than incandescent ones. Recent advancements in lighting technology have even improved the way that CFL bulbs emit light. These bulbs are known to emit a soft white light that is not too dim and not too bright.
When used with a dimmable fixture, the brightness levels of CFL lights are easy to control. Most incandescent lights are compatible with most dimmers out there, but CFLs work differently, so choose your dimmer carefully. Choose a product that is made specifically for your type of CFL light. Look for a list that matches the right dimmer with the right bulb.
The costs of CFLs have become significantly more affordable since the introductions in the 1980s. At first, the fluorescent lights cost more than incandescent ones, but the savings add up over many months and years. Continue to receive long-term savings on your lighting units.
Mercury contamination is not an issue
Everyone always mentions the small amount of mercury contained in the average CFL bulb. However, this amount is not a big issue when you consider the lack of significant risks. The reality is that CFLs consume far less energy than incandescent lights, so they require fewer replacements and contribute to less mercury contamination.
It actually takes more mercury to create incandescent. That is because more energy is needed to manufacture incandescent bulbs, which requires the burning of fuel that releases mercury into the environment. Once people start using incandescent lights, they continue to consume large amounts of energy.
Also, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has tried to reduce the mercury content found in fluorescent lights. For light users who are still concerned, there are precautions they can take to dispose of the bulbs safely. That is why there are tips provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that help people with proper disposal and cleanups. For instance, CFLs should be placed in double bags to prevent breakage. The bulbs should be recycled by the original manufacturer or a responsible retailer. You can always find a nearby recycling bin that accepts fluorescent lights. The main tip is to avoid throwing your fluorescent lights directly into the trash. The bulbs could break and release toxins into the air more easily.
Wide range of models
For people tired of the same, old, globe-shaped light bulbs, there are many CFL models available. Modern CFLs are manufactured to suit a wide range of tastes and styles. Choose from products made of varying shapes, lengths and widths.
Choose the desired number of tubes, whether it is one, four or six for each fixture. You can buy special models that contain individual tubes and ballasts. Buy ones with the ballasts inside so you do not change the parts. Also, choose the size, shape and appearance of the tubes. As for the shape, choose products that form circles or spirals. The size of the tube relates to the amount of light generated.
There are many CFL models made with standard-sized sockets for simple installation. The standard lamp is made of a normal, dome shape. The spiral lamp is a very popular design that looks more unique than the regular round shape. The globe lamp is rounder than the standard lamp for a bolder look. Find this style in dressing rooms and fancy bathrooms. The triple tube lamp is made of three U-shaped tubes that generate large amounts of lighting. For track and recessing lighting, use a flood lamp that is used for rooms and outdoor areas. The candelabra lamp has a tornado or egg shape that is made for fancy fixtures like chandeliers.
Color is another factor that buyers want to know about. CFL lights are made in a large variety of designs along with colors. The colors vary from cool white to warm yellow. Some lights are enclosed in coverings that filter and diffuse the light. You want to select the right color for your CFL fixture in order to create the right tone and atmosphere for a room.
Know the product that works for eco-friendly lighting
Different light fixtures are made with different needs in mind, so you will find different benefits attached. You must understand these differences before making any significant purchase. For the most part, know that incandescent lights are being phased out and replaced by CFL and LED lighting products. You cannot use traditional lights and expect to save energy and money. Make the change by comparing the numerous pros and cons of the CFL and LEDs available on the market.
Jessica Max is professional adviser for LED & Emergency Lights, Jessica has also completed fellowship at New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships. She has also written several articles about emergency lights and fire safety tips.