Have you ever stopped to think about how a standard incandescent light bulb works? When a light is turned on, the electric current heats the light bulb filament thus causing it to glow. Only about 10% of the energy that is released takes the form of visible light. The rest of the energy emitted is heat. Based on this, it would seem to make more sense to use incandescent lighting to heat your home rather than illuminate it!
The energy efficient alternative to incandescent is compact fluorescent lighting. Compact fluorescent light bulbs operate in the same way as regular fluorescent lighting. CFLs are simply small fluorescent tubes bent into compact shapes. Because they are compact and available with standard screw-in bases, CFLs can easily fit in a wide variety of lamps and fixtures.
The benefits of using compact fluorescent light bulbs include:
- Longer life - most CFLs have an average rated life of 10,000 hours. Based on using a compact fluorescent four hours a day, you won't have to change your light bulb for six years or more. Likewise, you won't have to buy any light bulbs for six years.
- More efficient lighting - compact fluorescents produce more visible light using less watts of energy; they are usually 70% more efficient.
- Lower electricity bills - compact fluorescents more than pay for themselves over their lifetime. Although the initial investment will probably be more than incandescent, CFLs will actually save you money in the long run.
- Environmental savings - because less electricity is being used, natural resources are conserved and carbon dioxide emissions are reduced.
You may be concerned about the quality of light that CFLs emit. Thanks to recent developments in technology, the harsh cool light that many of us associate with fluorescent lighting has been replaced with a warmer light that closely matches incandescent. Furthermore, there have been improvements in the color rendering of fluorescent lighting. This means that the colors of objects will appear the same whether they are placed under fluorescent lighting or incandescent lighting.
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