The light bulb world seems to change daily, and the common comment we hear from customers is “Why is the government taking away my light bulbs? I can’t see anything with these new bulbs!” The reality of the situation is that the government is making energy “rules” for light bulbs. The good news is that technology is on our side making bulbs comply with the new rules, while giving us great light. While compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs are much better in life, energy consumption, and light output.
It used to be that the brightness of a bulb was a direct correlation to the wattage, but now the brightness of a bulb is measured in lumens, which is the measure of total light emitted from the light source. This change was necessary because a 10 watt LED bulb is now comparable to a 60 watt incandescent at 800+ lumens.
At left is a Lighting Facts label that can be seen on most bulb packaging today. This specific label is from a 13 watt CFL, and at 870 lumens, it is comparable to a 60 watt incandescent. The Energy Star logo shown on a Lighting Facts label indicates that the CFL or LED bulb meets the Energy Star requirements for efficiency, lifetime, and quality. The life of the bulb is measured in a lab setting, and it shows that 50% of the bulbs tested lasted more than the life given, and 50% of them burned out before the estimated life. The color temperature, or Light Appearance, is measured in Kelvins and depicts the color of light that the bulb will emit. The chart below helps make sense of the different color temperatures and how we see them.
One of the hardest things for consumers to understand right now is the initial cost of energy efficient bulbs, particularly LED bulbs. One must really weigh all of the benefits of LED: life, energy consumption, heat, and light output. If you are looking to do some number crunching on the subjects of CFL and LED, the following are two energy calculators that help you determine what you can save in a year’s time in your home or business:
Or you can let us do the number crunching for you! Talk to any of the lighting specialists in our showroom, and we can help you determine which bulbs are best for your application.