Light bulbs have come a long way, including the old clunky energy efficient ones of just a year
or two ago.
Here are some of the updates that have taken place in the industry, how much energy they
use, and how to buy them.
Everyone is familiar with tungsten filament incandescent or GLS bulbs.
They were invented over 100 years ago and have been a mainstay in UK homes ever since.
Only about 5 per cent of the electricity used is converted into light.
The rest is converted to heat.
The bulbs don’t last very long because the filament gradually evaporates until it breaks,
killing the bulb.
But, newer technology promises to extend the life of the incandescent and improve its
Researchers at MIT in the U.S. have found a way to extend the life of traditional bulbs and
dramatically improve efficiency by using special materials that are plentiful and non-toxic.
So far, efficiencies equalling some fluorescent and LED bulbs are being achieved.
In some experiments, researchers have figured out how to improve efficiency by 40 per cent,
which would make it more efficient than even the best LED.
Halogen bulbs also use traditional filament technology, but they run at higher temperatures
which make them more efficient than traditional bulbs.
Most of the time, these bulbs are used for outdoor lighting, such as flood lamps.
Because halogens are very bright for their size, you can save money by buying a lower wattage
than you otherwise would.
CFLs are compact fluorescent bulbs.
They have become the new standard in lighting technology because they’re reliable and can
be mass produced.
And, many energy companies support their use in the home.
Read one popular energy company’s take on the matter to learn more.
CFLs aren’t without their drawbacks, however.
For some, they can be another toxic burden in the home because the bulbs contain mercury vapour.
When the light is on, the mercury in the bulb vaporizes.
If the bulb breaks or is damaged, this vapour can escape.
And, unless the bulb is cleaned up immediately, and the room is ventilated, the bulbs can release up
to a milligram of mercury into the area (a toxic dose).
LEDs are the newest players on the market.
They are simple solid state electronic devices that let electricity flow through them in one direction.
The result is a small amount of light.
Bulbs that are used at home in residential spaces contain a large number of LEDs so that a bright
enough light can be emitted from the bulb, making it function as a light bulb.
Early designs weren’t very reliable or bright, and consumers had trouble getting light bulbs that
with a light output that equalled a 40w conventional bulb.
Today, LED bulbs can replace 75w and even 100w bulbs.
LEDs are still expensive, but the cost is coming down, and they’re expected to pay for themselves
several times over before they need to be replaced.
About the Author
Jayden Mitchell has been involved in construction all his working life. More recently he has become interested in all aspects of creating an eco friendly home. He blogs on this topic and more for property, green/eco and personal finance sites.
Have you replaced your incandescent bulbs with energy-saving bulbs?
What kinds of bulbs do you use?
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