One of the most common ways by which homes are encouraged to save on energy consumption is by making the shift to energy efficient light bulbs. All houses use light, and while it is estimated that a large number of households worldwide are still making use of the older incandescent light bulbs, the move is gradually being heard for a shift to the more modern and energy efficient light bulbs. But with the growth and continued innovations and developments in this industry, there are now different types of what are touted to be “energy saving” light bulbs, using various acronyms, names and jargon that not everyone may understand.
In this article, we take a closer look at the different types of energy efficient light bulbs currently available on the market, and how they work. To be able to get a good understanding of the different types of light bulbs below, we also need to have a thorough grasp of two crucial concepts: Lumens, which indicates the brightness of any light source, and wattage, which indicates the amount of electricity to power a light bulb for it to be operational.
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs or CFLs
CFLs originated from the Geissler tube that was first developed by Heinrich Geissler in the 19th century. To generate light, they would extract the air from a long glass tube while an electrical current coursed through it. Later on, phosphors were introduced that utilized ultraviolet light, which made the light coming from the tubes whiter than those that came from traditional light sources. The result was a more energy efficient light source.
CFLs were not always so popular with the consuming public because of their prohibitive cost. Nowadays, however, CFLs are widely available and made more affordable. One of the most recognizable CFLs these days is the CFL bulb that is comprised of a long tube or tubes twisted or bent around in the shape of a traditional light bulb, the smaller version of the older, full-sized fluorescents. Despite its often-diminutive size, this little CFL bulb packs quite a punch, which you will recognize when you turn on the light and an entire room is flooded with its strong, white light.
Some of the advantages of CFLs is that it consumes at least 75 less energy than older incandescent bulbs, and can also last up to 10 times longer. On the other hand, you do need to dispose of old CFL bulbs carefully because they contain small amounts of mercury that may potentially be toxic.
Light-Emitting Diode or LED Light Bulbs
LED lights were an offshoot from the development of red, yellow and green diodes by Nick Holonyak, Jr. In 2009, these LED light bulbs were the winner of a competition launched by the Energy Department for energy efficient light bulbs. Philips Lighting North America’s LED light bulb was awarded the first prize. Since then, LED lights have entered the marketplace worldwide, and are popular because of its adaptability to different types of environments and fixture designs.
A diode, upon which LED lights to work, is a two-terminal device that allows the flow of current, generating light in only one direction. This is opposed to more traditional light bulbs which produce both heat and light that spread out in every direction. The use of diodes is comparatively more energy efficient, and LED bulbs also have a longer lifespan. And it’s most notable redeeming factor, when compared to CFLs, is that LED light bulbs do not contain any hazardous or toxic substances that make disposing of them such a concern.
LED bulbs have a longer life span compared to both CFL and Halogen Incandescent bulbs, not to mention also consuming less wattage of electricity. While they are also considerably more expensive, the savings in electricity consumption and the long life of LED bulbs equals overall savings for the consumer.
Incandescent Halogen Light Bulbs
These are our traditional light bulbs, and while they are comparatively cheaper, they do still consume more energy than their more modern counterparts.
Of course, these days, even Incandescent Halogen Light Bulbs are attempting to increase their energy efficiency by the increasing availability of incandescent bulbs that operate on lower wattage, now as low as 29 watts. And compared to CFLs, there is no difficulty in disposing of this type of light bulbs. Their lower prices must be a factor for a great number of consumers, which is why a large number of household still make use of this type of light bulb.
Still, even low watt Incandescent Halogen Bulbs are not as efficient as LED bulbs. This is because Halogen Light bulbs work by producing both heat and light, and a good portion of the energy it consumes is lost to heat.