Compact fluorescents boast many improvements over standard incandescent light bulbs, and they have now become the industry standard. Fluorescents, and more specifically compact fluorescents, use spiral glass chambers filled with gas and ballasts. Typically these bulbs use about a third or less of the energy that an incandescent uses -- a 23 watt CFL can produce about 100 watts of light and runs much cooler while turned on. The bulbs also come in variety of shapes and sizes, and some even come mercury-free.
The greatest hiccup to the CFL's popularity has been issues related to color and warm up time. However, technological improvements have given way to CFLs that emit a much more pleasing color, ranging from daylight to cool whites. Moreover, the new technology driving the starters allows the bulbs to instantaneously reach between 50-60% power at "on", and reach 100% within a minute. Currently the biggest obstruction to complete adoption of CFLs is the fact that they are hard to dim, or rather, that the bulbs or systems that can dim are slightly more expensive than the standard ones.
When it comes to energy efficiency, the easiest way to start cutting down your monthly bill is through your home’s lighting. By making simple changes to the types of bulbs you’re using, you can be more eco-friendly while saving yourself a pretty penny. Due to all the changes the green lighting industry has undergone in just the last few years, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with all the options that are available. But fear not – if you’re looking for some insight into the wealth of green lighting alternatives available today, this handy guide will give you the basic foundation you need to upgrade your bulbs and reap the financial and environmental benefits of energy-efficient lighting!
SOME IMPORTANT LIGHTING TERMS
Watt: This unit measures the power that is needed for a certain application – for instance you need 100 watts to run a 100 watt light bulb. Technically, this is defined as the amount of Joules per second.
Volts: A unit of measure that expresses how many electrons flow through a given circuit. For example, if you compare this concept to the water in pipes, it is equal to the water pressure, or more specifically, how fast or slow the water is flowing. Generally speaking, the US standard for homes is 110 Volts but in Europe it is 220 volts.
Lumens: These units are used to measure the power of light that is perceived by the human eye. These measurements are intended to gauge the varying sensitivity of the human eye to different wavelengths of light,
Kelvin: This unit is used to measure temperature. In relation to lighting it is the most important number to look at to determine the color of fluorescents and LEDs. The lower the Kelvin temperature the warmer the color of the light, and the higher the temperature the more blue and cool the light is.