Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Final
by Christophe Muyunga Tshiuma on Aug 22, 2022
The Most Important Factors in Choosing New Light Bulbs for Homeowners in 2022
Domestic electric lights have been on the market for over a century. For decades, nobody questioned their effectiveness. However, environmental and cost concerns have contributed to a technological shift in home lighting. Therefore, when users consider replacing lightbulbs, they should consider the strengths and weaknesses of each type of light bulb.
Power Consumption and Light Determine Efficiency
Modern light bulbs are rated in watts and lumens. Watts are the amount of electricity that a bulb consumes, while lumens are the amount of light they emit. The number of lumens per watt is one way to measure the energy efficiency of a light bulb and is often used as a selling point for high-efficiency bulbs.
Old-Fashioned Bulbs Are Still Popular but Inefficient
For most consumers, incandescent bulbs are traditional or "regular" light bulbs. They operate by conducting electricity through a tungsten filament. The filament heats up and glows, dispersing heat and light.
The average incandescent bulb has the following characteristics –
- 60 watts
- 750 lumens
- 5 lumens per watt
- 1,000-hour lifespan
The warm, soft white light of incandescent bulbs is desirable in a domestic setting. It is a familiar glow that has been on the market for over a century. In addition, the low upfront cost, ease of use, and non-toxic components explain why it has been popular for so many years.
Unfortunately, incandescent bulbs are inefficient. Only 5% of the energy they consume produces light; the rest is emitted as heat. Furthermore, the 1,000-hour lifespan requires frequent replacement, offsetting the low up-front cost. Finally, incandescent bulbs are fragile, further increasing the number of replacements.
Halogen Incandescent Bulbs Make Some Improvements
Halogen incandescent bulbs wrap the tungsten filament in a glass envelope and fill the area between the outer glass shell and envelope with halogen gas. The halogen brightens the light, increasing efficiency over regular incandescent bulbs to 18.5 lumens per watt – a 25% savings on electricity. Unfortunately, although halogen lights are cheaper than other high-efficiency models, they still release 90% of their energy as heat and suffer from the same short lifespan as traditional bulbs.
Compact Fluorescent Lights Are Efficient with Some Drawbacks
Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) are small glass tubes filled with mercury and other gasses. Electricity passes through the gasses, causing them to emit UV light, which reacts with a fluorescent coating to change into a large amount of visible light. However, some people feel that CFLs produce light that is too cool and harsh.
The following stats make CFLs an attractive alternative –
- 13 watts
- 900 lumens
- 69 lumens per watt
- 10,000-hour lifespan
CFLs are 75% more energy-efficient than traditional bulbs and have ten times the lifespan. In addition, they emit much less heat and have little to no effect on cooling costs. Finally, although CFLs are more expensive than incandescents, they recoup their initial expenditure after a few months and are less costly than other high-efficiency options. These qualities make them popular high-efficiency replacements.
CFLs have several drawbacks. Mercury is highly toxic, and CFLs are difficult to dispose of and present a health hazard if they break. Furthermore, their lifespan shortens when people turn them on and off frequently. They don't work well with dimmers, and they take time to warm up, not reaching their full luminosity for a while.
LED Bulbs Are Highly Efficient with the Largest Upfront Cost
Light-emitting diodes (LED) pass electricity through a semiconductor called a diode. The diode reacts with the electrons and emits photons - light. LEDs are different from other light bulbs because they do not rely on heating up a medium to generate light.
The performance measurements of LEDs are –
- 7 watts
- 800 lumens
- 5 lumens per watt
- 25,000-hour lifespan
LEDs are the most efficient bulbs commonly available for domestic use. In addition, they require no toxic materials in construction and emit almost no heat. Moreover, since consumers must replace them so infrequently, they lower carbon emissions substantially. Finally, many models emit different colors and are adjustable, allowing consumers to choose the type of light they want, soft or harsh.
There are few, if any, drawbacks of LEDs. For example, they have the highest initial cost of all major bulb types, and they can be complicated to use, especially as part of a smart home technology suite. Over time, cheaper models may malfunction and start to flicker, dim, or change color.
CFLs and LEDs Are Phasing Out Incandescent Bulbs
Each type of domestic lightbulb has its advantages and disadvantages. However, energy-efficient models are becoming more popular as a cost-effective alternative to the long-familiar incandescent light bulb. Their lifespan, efficiency, and reliability will undoubtedly continue to phase out legacy bulbs.