In order to help their customers better understand the cost benefits of switching to energy-efficient alternatives, Internet lighting retailer, 1000Bulbs.com, has created their own Energy Savings Calculator to accompany all compact fluorescent and LED lamps on their website. Earlier this year, the last phase-out of general service incandescent bulbs enforced by the Energy and Independence Security Act of 2007 took effect. Due to these incandescent bulbs no longer being produced by manufacturers, the demand for energy-efficient lighting that meets EISA standards is growing rapidly.
Jun 21, 13
If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter (if you don’t then you definitely should), you’ll know that we wanted to hear your lighting questions. Well, you talked and we listened. Below, you’ll find a few questions that we picked and answered.
“What’s the safest and easiest way to install driveway lighting?” – Kelli Erholm
We sell hundreds of items to accent your driveway, from rope lights, to landscape bullets, even pathway lights. Want to add a little peace of mind with security lights? We sell those, too. How about adding a touch of sophistication and safety to the steps leading up to your house? Check out our step lights. Even though we provide an extensive amount of bulbs and fixtures at the best prices around, we do not install those bulbs or fixtures. For the safest and easiest way to install driveway lighting, seek the services of a lighting professional.
“Why does it take the energy efficient bulbs so long to get to their maximum lighting potential?” – Penny Jo Eishen Luna
Great question here, Penny. The answer is not such an easy one and is quite technical, actually. Let me first start by saying that LED (light emitting diode) bulbs have virtually no start up time, and the warm up time you speak of primarily exists within the realm of compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. So why does it take CFLs so long to warm up? The short answer: it takes time for the electrical current to heat up the cathodes (filament) to their full brightness. It should be noted, however, that not all CFLs take a frustratingly long time to heat up. Take this 14-watt CFL bulb from TCP for example. This bulb features “insta brite” technology, which brings the bulb to its full brightness, well, instantly.
“Still looking for a cost-effective replacement (hopefully LED) for the 4-foot fluorescent ceiling fixtures.” – Daniel Meyer
Not really a question, but still interesting nonetheless. Well, Daniel, we will carry Plusrite LED replacement tubes to replace the 4-foot fluorescents you were asking about and expect these to arrive sometime in July. However, these aren’t meant for residential use and are recommended for professional installation only, as these bulbs can be dangerous if installed improperly and present challenges such as shunted vs. unshunted tombstones and ballast compatibility. Also, these lamps are directional and aim the light downward, so these are not direct replacements for some standard fluorescent fixtures. However, LED technology is progressing on a daily basis, so it shouldn’t be too long before there’s a residential LED tube.
“How can we realistically compare the color and brightness of CFLs in real world examples?” – Bobby Gwiazdzinski
Well, Bobby, the question you’re asking has to do mainly with color temperature and lumens, both of which are explained in detail in an earlier blog post. However, you would compare different CFLs by these qualities in two ways. First, color temperature. Bulbs with a color temperature of 2700K have a warm white color to them, similar to that of standard incandescents, while bulbs with a higher color temperature have a whiter light, like daylight. Secondly, lumens. The higher the lumen output of a bulb, the brighter the bulb. So as far as comparing is concerned, that’s really a matter of opinion. Find a few bulbs that you want to try, test them out, and see which you like best. If you’re using a 60-watt incandescent, check out this 13-watt CFL.
“How can you tell what kind of light output you get from a fluorescent bulb?” – Assunta Sue Nigro Galeno
Excellent question here, Assunta. If you’re talking about lumens, consider looking into purchasing this light meter. The light meter allows you to test the intensity of light coming from a bulb, which will help you determine if you have too much light or not enough. Now, this particular meter is used to measure the intensity of light coming from grow light reflectors, but it’ll still work for your purposes.
We thank you for submitting your questions. We enjoyed reading all of them and responding to them. If you have any more lighting questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on our Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus accounts!
Apr 26, 13
Do you know what percentage of homes in America utilize energy-efficient bulbs? How is one of America’s largest cities keeping tabs on its energy use? For the answers to these questions and interesting lighting news, read on!
More U.S. Households Using LEDs and CFLs
According to recent data by E Source, the energy efficiency trend is gaining a lot of ground here in the U.S., as more and more households are using compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or light emitting diodes (LED). E Source reports that 87% of households use at least one CFL or LED, while 77% use three or more. What factors decide who uses which type of bulbs and how many of these bulbs are used in households? E Source uncovered some interesting findings. For example:
• The percentage of households using multiple LEDs or CFLs goes up as annual income increases.
• Homeowners are more likely to use multiple LEDs and CFLs than renters.
• Older adults are more likely to use multiple CFLs, while younger adults lean more towards LEDs
Rachel Cooper, research manager at E Source, raises interesting speculation: “These findings lead us to wonder, ‘What would saturation levels look like if these energy-efficient bulbs-particularly LEDs-were more affordable?’”
Philips’ LED Bulb Could Replace Fluorescent Bulbs
LED technology is rapidly advancing, quickly changing the face of energy efficiency by offering longer life hours and considerably reduced electricity usage. LEDs first replaced CFLs, and now they’re replacing… fluorescent bulbs? That’s right. Philips has announced a prototype LED that could save the U.S. billions of dollars annually by replacing fluorescent bulbs. This new bulb only consumes 5 watts of energy, but produces a whopping 200 lumen per watt, far superior to the 100 lumen per watt fluorescents can produce. Philips estimates that with the new LED, the U.S. would save an astounding $12 billion a year while preventing the release of 60 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Philips said it plans to deliver commercial and industrial versions of the bulb to the market by 2015, with consumer products quickly following.
UCLA Publishes Electricity Usage Map
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has created an innovative way for Los Angeles to monitor how it uses electricity, block by block, allowing the city’s planners and Department of Water and Power to develop more finely tuned programs aimed at high energy users or low-income neighborhoods to improve energy efficiency. The map uses census and land use information to show how income levels affect electricity use and the differences between electricity usage of single family, multi-family, and commercial buildings. The map can even give usage projections for high heat days.
Conroe ISD Receives $15,000 to Upgrade Lighting
Conroe Independent School District (CISD), located in Conroe, TX (near Houston) has been recognized by Entergy Texas, Inc. for participating in their SCORE program and rewarded CISD with a $15,000 check to upgrade the district’s lighting. The goal of the SCORE program is to provide energy performance benchmarking, technical assistance, and cash incentives to help schools save energy and money. The $15,000 prize will go a long way for the district’s lighting upgrade, with CISD saving more than $28,000 in annual energy costs, the equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of 30 homes for a year
How many energy efficient bulbs do you have in your home? Tell us in the comments below, or on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus!
Ready for barbecues and pool parties, but don’t know how to distinguish your yard for your guests? Here are five outdoor lighting ideas to get you prepped and ready for your summertime fun.
Entertain with a Starry Night
Patio Light Strings
Make every night a starry night with commercial duty patio light strings! With a variety of light strings in different lengths, colors, and socket sizes, the design possibilities are endless. Fasten them to wood beams on your porch or string them across your backyard. Use colored S14 bulbs to give your yard a colorful glow or keep it simple with clear white A15 bulbs for a peaceful, star-like sky. For a DIY project, attach paper lanterns to your patio light strings to give your yard that additional touch of drama.
Add an Electrifying Look
LED Tape Light
Don’t limit yourself to a standard light bulb! Flexible and easy to use, LED tape light has become a popular addition to many homes, accenting windows, door frames, and stairways. It features an adhesive backing for easy installation and comes in a variety of colors, lengths, voltages, and outputs. For use outdoors, make sure it has an IP65 rating. Line the outer edge of pools, windows, and wooden beams to give your backyard an electrifying look!
Light Up Your Landscape
MR16 Landscape Lighting
Are you the person with incredible landscaping, lawn sculptures, and garden statues? Light your landscape with MR16 bulbs! The bulbs come in a myriad of color temperatures, beam angles, and wattages to ensure you get the right effect on your yard. Use warm white bulbs with a 3000K color temperature or less to showcase your statues, and bulbs with a color temperature of 4000K or higher to highlight your elegant lawn sculptures. For added appeal, try colored MR16 bulbs to enhance the look of your lawn ornaments.
Made of wax, these flameless candles have a realistic look, but feature LED bulbs as their light source, removing any possible risks if the candles fall over due to wind or other causes. As a safe alternative around kids and pets, the battery operated candles create a warm atmosphere, perfect for a nighttime aura. Use them as an accent for a patio table or place them around outdoor bar for a warm ambiance. For a unique DIY project, place them in mason jars and hang them in different areas around the yard.
Enjoy Your Picnic
Insect Inn Ultra II
Don’t want pests buzzing around your family barbecue? From yellow incandescent and CFL bulbs to insect control systems, there are many products to reduce the appearance of pests during your time outdoors. The Paraclipse control systems eliminate flies, mosquitos, and other pests by attracting them with a special ultraviolet lighting and trapping them in a sticky, auto advancing cartridge system, allowing you to fully enjoy your time outdoors. For convenience, try the Insect Inn Ultra, a decorative wall mount unit that stays out of the way of you and your guests.
What are some of your favorite outdoor lighting ideas? Let us know in the comments or send us a message on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus!
Jan 18, 13
Reflector bulbs are more than just floodlights and spotlights. Like any light bulb, they come in shapes and technologies to fit any application. Two cases in point are the PAR and the MR16. These common bulbs, whether halogen, CFL, or LED, are highly specified, containing engineered surfaces that control the beam of light to an angle so precise it takes seven different classifications just to explain their possible uses!
Very Narrow Spot (VNSP)
The very narrow spot is just like it sounds. At 7 degrees or less for an MR16 or 15 degrees or less for a PAR lamp, this reflector casts an intense, focused beam without a square inch of wasted light. Bulbs with a VNSP beam angle are often used to highlight a small statue or figure on display in a museum or in a jewelry store to make diamonds “pop.”
Narrow Spot (NSP)
Photo by RBerteig (flickr)
Like the very narrow spot, the narrow spot is most popular in commercial applications. At 8 to 15 degrees for an MR16 or 16 to 30 degrees for a PAR lamp, the reflector casts a beam slightly less focused than a VNSP. Look for bulbs with an NSP beam angle in retail settings highlighting a special or sale item or in landscape bullets illuminating a sign or garden feature.
The spot, though primarily used in commercial applications, also shows up in homes from time to time. At 16 to 22 degrees for an MR16 or 31 to 60 degrees for a PAR lamp, the reflector casts a medium-sized beam. Bulbs with an SP beam angle are used in stores to highlight a special or sale area or outdoors to illuminate an architectural feature.
Narrow Flood (NFL)
Photo by ell brown (flickr)
Businesses and homeowners alike find uses for the narrow flood. At 23 to 32 degrees for an MR16 or 61 to 90 degrees for a PAR lamp, this reflector casts a medium-wide beam. Stores use an NFL beam angle to highlight a display table, while homes might use this bulb in recessed eyeball lights to illuminate a painting over a fireplace mantle.
This true “floodlight” has wide variety of applications. At 36 to 45 degrees for an MR16 or 91 to 120 degrees for a PAR lamp, the reflector casts a wide beam. Bulbs with an FL beam angle can be seen in everything from pendant lights in coffee shops to recessed lights in living rooms.
Wide Flood (WFL)
Need a lot of light? There are worse options than the wide flood. At 46 to 59 degrees for an MR16 or 121 to 160 degrees for a PAR lamp, the wide flood has a dispersed beam to cover a large area. Bulbs with a WFL beam angle are common in many general illumination applications from motion-sensing lights above garage doors to recessed cans in auditoriums and movie theaters.
Very Wide Flood (VWFL)
Photo by mccun934 (flickr)
The very wide flood finds its way into specialty applications, more often than not. At over 60 degrees for an MR16 or over 160 degrees for a PAR lamp, this reflector casts an extremely wide beam. Bulbs with a VWFL beam angle are used to illuminate without highlighting any particular object or area. They’re good options for outdoor flood lighting and low-ceiling recessed lights.
Keep in mind these designations vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some brands, like Ushio, throw them out altogether for their simpler system of “narrow,” “medium,” and “wide.” Also note that just because a bulb may have a commercial application, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it in your home. Use reflectors to make your walls a canvas for your lighting ideas, and be sure to share those ideas with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest!