The future of lighting: Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
Household lighting typically accounts for 10% of your electric bill. While this might not seem like a big number, consider this: if your electric bill is $80 a month, you're paying about $96 a year for just the lighting in your home! Changing your light bulbs can significantly reduce your long-term energy costs.
Traditional incandescent bulbs convert most of their energy into heat instead of light, wasting electricy on unnecessary warmth. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) on the other hand, convert most of their energy into what you want most: light. Both CFLs and LEDs are also designed to last years longer than the average incandescent bulb, reducing both energy and replacement costs.
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLS) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have risen in popularity in recent years due to their longevity and energy-efficient design. These bright, compact lights are designed to reduce your energy consumption without sacrificing light or productivity. In fact, manufacturers have created CFLs that are designed to fit into your exiting light fixtures, easing the transition from traditional incandescent bulbs to more energy-efficient alternatives. But what are CFLs and LEDs? And how do they work?
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are created by taking a traditional fluorescent tube and bending it into a compact design that fits easily into ordinary incandescent fixtures. In general, CFLs use up to 75% less electricity than conventional light bulbs while still producing a comparable amount of light. For example, a compact fluorescent bulb that uses 27 watts of electricity has the same light output as a 100 watt incandescent bulb.
Unlike typical fluorescent lights, however, compact fluorescent lights do not flicker. Furthermore, CFLs produce the same, if not better, quality light as conventional incandescent bulbs. This means you get brighter, sharper light for much less energy.
CFLs also last much longer than incandescent lights, meaning you won't need to replace them as often as ordinary bulbs. In general, for every ten incandescent light bulbs you replace, you would only need to replace one CFL. Not only does this save money, it also reduces your waste.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
While Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have been around for decades in household appliances, computers and clocks, they've only recently gained popularity as energy-efficient alternatives to incandescent bulbs.
LEDs are tiny lights produced by moving electrons in a semiconductor. There is no burning gas or filaments so LEDs are more durable and produce little to no heat. Their small size also makes LEDs extraordinarily resistant to weather and can even be waterproofed for more extreme conditions.
A single LED is rather small, but improvements in technology have allowed for the combination of bunches of LEDs together to create consumer products ranging from powerful flashlights to Christmas lights and lamps. Large groups of LEDs have been used to replace traffic lights and brake lights in cars. Since they are designed to last for many years, these unique lights almost never need to be replaced and can withstand more extreme conditions than ordinary bulbs.
Just like compact fluorescent lights, LEDs are also incredibly energy efficient and use only a fraction of the energy needed to power a single incandescent bulb. In fact, LEDs use 1/50 of the energy of a standard bulb and last 10 times longer than their CFL alternatives. A typical LED bulb can last up to 15 years without needing to be changed! They are not as versatile in traditional light fixtures, however, and are generally more expensive than compact fluorescents.