START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

CFL vs. LED: What’s the Best Lightbulb Type?

  • 1 of 2
CFL vs. LED: What’s the Best Lightbulb Type?

By Carl Seville (a green building consultant who works with Atlanta electricians) for Networx

Unless there is some big action by conservatives to repeal Bush administration legislation that requires more efficient lighting, many old incandescent bulbs (or lamps) will become unavailable over the next few years. This will leave most of us having to look for alternative products to light our homes, the most common being Compact Fluorescent Lamps, a.k.a. CFLs, and Light Emitting Diodes, a.k.a. LEDs.† Somebody seriously dislikes something about both of these newer lamps, often resorting to stocking up a lifetime supply of incandescent lamps to avoid using CFLs and LEDs. But those are some short-sighted people who are prejudiced against new technology because of bad experiences, rumor, fear, or a combination of all three.

CFLs had a reasonably deserved poor reputation early in their development. They flickered, the color of the light wasnít good, they took a while to get to full power, and they couldnít dim. On top of that, there is a tiny amount of mercury in them, so there are some safety issues when they break, but trust me, you donít need a HazMat team to clean up the mess. Things in the CFL world have changed. High quality, reasonably priced lamps are available that have excellent light color and quality, donít flicker, donít need time to warm up, and are dimmable in standard fixtures. And as a benefit, they donít put out 90 percent of their energy as heat like incandescent lamps, which leads my friend, Architect Michael Klement to describe them as heaters with light as a by product.† This means that you donít pay so much extra to air condition your house in the summer when the lights are on. Look for ENERGY STAR rated CFLs, and check for the new FTC lighting facts label that tells you the efficiency and color of the lamp.† If youíre looking for something that resembles incandescent lamps, buy CFLs with a color temperature of about 2700 degrees Kelvin.† Donít worry about what it means, just know that it is a nice, warm, familiar colored light.† Oh, and the light will use about 75 percent less energy and last about 10 times longer than the old style lamp.

So, just when some of us were becoming a little more comfortable with CFLs, we now have to thing about buying LEDs instead. LEDs are electronic, solid state lighting, and weíve been looking at it for years in our clock radios, microwaves, and other equipment.† The technology has advanced far enough to provide interior lighting, although it is still evolving and not all lamps are quite ready for prime time.† People like the fact that LEDs donít have any mercury in them, so there is no fear of difficult cleanup (and they generally don’t break like a regular bulb anyway).† They last a really long time, an estimated 30,000 - 50,000 hours, compared to about 10,000 for CFLs and about 1,000 for incandescents. They are, however more expensive, although prices are coming down. LED efficiency is similar to CFLs, and getting better all the time. In terms of light quality, LEDs are getting pretty close to CFLs and incandescents but it may take some effort to find something you like the look of.

  • 1 of 2

Read more: Conservation, Crafts & Design, Eco-friendly tips, Green, Green Home Decor, Home, Household Hints, Materials & Architecture, Technology, , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Selections from Networx

Networx.com empowers people to make educated, economical and Earth-friendly renovation and home repair choices. We are a community of homeowners, renters and contractors who are committed to sharing home improvement expertise and experience.

98 comments

+ add your own
12:04AM PST on Dec 20, 2013

Now that I got your attention -- the answer is not the kind of light bulb that you use -- the answer is to USE SOLAR-WIND-TIDAL-WAVE -- in ways that do not hurt mankind and the earth.


At least let's let -- people have a choice -- about what kind of light bulb they use !
After reading more comments -- it sounds like people need the choice !

12:00AM PST on Dec 20, 2013

Now that I got your attention -- the answer is not the kind of light bulb that you use -- the answer is to USE SOLAR-WIND-TIDAL-WAVE -- in ways that do not hurt mankind and the earth.


At least let's let -- people have a choice -- about what kind of light bulb they use !
After reading more comments -- it sounds like people need the choice !

Yes a minute amount of mercury in CFL's.

NO mercury in LED lights.

Thank you for the article ! Sorry for the mix-up.

Please what is in LED Lights -- that mankind may know -- what we are getting into?
1.) What are the material and the chemicles?
2.) How does the process work to form light ?
3.) What effect on people's eyes will LED light have?
4.) Do people truly have the anwers yet ?

At least let's let -- people have a choice -- about what kind of light bulb they use !
After reading more comments -- it sounds like people need the choice !

Still nothing like a good incandescent light bulb !

11:26PM PST on Dec 19, 2013

We must have a rule for every thing -- including what light bulb you may use -- ridiculous!

I still like Incadescent -- because it gives off heat --as June T mentioned.
I do not like the feeling of the LED bulb -- on my eyes and on me -- because that is not what I grew up with.

It could be that people need the kind of bulb that they -- like !

11:22PM PST on Dec 19, 2013

I agree with the thouht that: There is no reason to tell people -- what kind of bulb to use.

10:42PM PST on Dec 19, 2013

Yes a minute amount of mercury in CFL's.

NO mercury in LED lights.

Thank you for the article ! Sorry for the mix-up.

Please what is in LED Lights -- that mankind may know -- what we are getting into?
1.) What are the material and the chemicles?
2.) How does the process work to form light ?
3.) What effect on people's eyes will LED light have?
4.) Do people truly have the anwers yet ?

5:50PM PDT on Jul 20, 2012

I always look for full-spectrum lighting. Anything new in that area?

1:42PM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

Thanks, I enjoyed the article and the other comments, as well... =)

8:44AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

As this article states, CFLs are a better solution, both economically and environmentally, than incandescent bulbs, which ultimately result in greater mercury exposure than CFLs, because they consume more power and require more power generation. Since mercury is a byproduct of burning coal, coal-fired power plants are a larger source of mercury pollution than the mercury content in the CFLs. Although CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury, with a proven packaging configuration and proper disposal, CFLs can be used effectively without releasing harmful mercury vapor.
While a variety of containers are marketed for transportation of fluorescent lamps and CFLs, many don't provide sufficient protection against mercury vapor emitted from broken lamps. Using a proven packaging design is vital to ensuring the safety of people who handle these lamps, as well as maintaining their green benefits. Read about a recent study that tested several packaging configurations here: http://vaporlok.blogspot.com/2010/05/layers-of-protection-packaging-used.html If a bulb breaks, consumers can learn more about clean-up procedures here: http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup-detailed.html

3:37AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

LED technology has been around for years, a little research was required to make it viable at a reasonable cost for lighting purposes.
I think big industry made a fortune taking us through CFL first.

2:33PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

Thanks for the informative article. I have been using CFL's for years but I have alway's been concerned about the possibility of breakage. Glad to know that LED's are coming down on prices.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Petition signed, they still taste good even if they don't look pretty.

I used to drive out of town to buy eggs from a local farmer. One day the eggs stopped tasting good. …

What a beautiful little girl. Hope she finds her forever home soon. God bless ALL of the wonderful…

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.