Going Green for Spring
Using Bulbs that Use Less Electricity
By using light bulbs that use less electricity, you are reducing the amount of energy you use in a given day. And the options for bulbs that are more energy efficient continue to grow. Recent legislation in California banned the sale of 100W incandescent light bulbs. The main reason for this was the energy wasted with incandescent bulbs. Over 90% of the energy the bulbs use is heat waste, not light. Less than 10% went to creating the visible light. This is a very inefficient use of energy. To fill in the gap created by the loss of these bulbs, manufacturers are offering a number of options.
One popular, and affordable option, is CFL bulbs, or compact fluorescent light bulbs. These are miniature versions of the large fixtures you see in many commercial applications. Manufacturers designed these bulbs to work in the same sockets and fixtures that the traditional incandescent bulbs did. They offer the same amount of lights that incandescent bulbs do at a much lower amount of energy. The typical CFL bulb uses 20-33% of the energy that an incandescent bulb does to produce the same amount of light. By using bulbs that use less electricity, you are making an impact.
A growing alternative to incandescent bulbs is solid-state lighting. Most people see this in the form of LED lighting, or light emitting diodes. Most diodes are very small, so a lamp using them must have multiple diodes. But, the amount of lighting coming from a typical LED fixture requires only a fraction of the power an incandescent does. And they are significantly lower than what a CFL bulb requires as well. The biggest obstacle to the use of LED type lighting right now is cost due to the newer technology. The available bulbs are quite expensive; however utilizing a few bulbs that use less electricity can keep costs balanced.
Another alternative in the commercial space are high-intensity discharge lamps. These lamps work by passing electricity through gas and metal salts encased in a vacuum tube. They come in a variety of types including mercury vapor, sodium vapor, and xenon lamps. These lamps are quite efficient and offer a wide range of light wavelengths. The biggest obstacle to this lamp is that they require a ballast to maintain the electrical arc that makes the light glow. You can see that going green for spring is not difficult when using light bulbs that use less electricity.