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Last modified: 2021-05-27 | Approximate reading time 3 mins
Light has an amazing impact on any room. Although natural light is the ideal form, once the sun sets we must rely on light from bulbs. This is especially true in Canada where about half the year the sun is setting early and leaving our evenings dark.
Typically, we have used incandescent light bulbs, the most common and least expensive type. Although basic, this type of bulb gives off warm light which can give a room a very inviting quality. But they’re very inefficient and lose nearly 90% of their energy as heat. So, they often contribute to the room being hotter. Combine this with the fact that they last on average for one year and this makes incandescent light bulbs less appealing overall.
When deciding on the bulb itself, there are two parameters to measure the bulb against, which are lumens and watts. "Lumens" refers to how much light is produced by the bulb, therefore the higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb. Watts, on the other hand, refers to the amount of energy the bulb uses, so the lower the wattage the more you’ll save on electricity. Remember these benchmarks as they can save you a headache since you will be able to match the lumens and wattage correctly to your lighting needs.
Halogen bulbs while a variation of the standard incandescent bulb, offer the most similar effects of natural light. These bulbs help to make a space feel more open while colours appear sharper under halogen light. Halogen bulbs are known to be somewhat more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, using roughly 30% less energy. As a result, halogens are also more expensive and tend to burn at a higher temperature. One important thing to remember is that handling halogen bulbs with bare hands can leave residue that can make the bulb warm too quickly, so it is best to install them with latex gloves on.
Compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs, are a significant jump in lighting technology as compared to incandescent options. One of the main reasons is because CFLs consume roughly a quarter of the energy and are 4 to 6 times more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. Thus, CFLs last up to 10 times longer than their outmoded counterparts. CFLs are also much quieter when comparing the hum of incandescent or traditional fluorescent tubes. These types of bulbs do however contain traces of mercury, a harmful substance. Therefore, it is especially important to be careful when handling CFLs during installation and during disposal. One of the most significant benefits of CFLs is that they can be recycled once they’ve burned out.
Light emitting diode or LED is quite different than the others mentioned. This type of bulb is by far the most efficient, saving up to 80% of annual energy costs as compared to incandescent bulbs, while also converting nearly 90% of its energy into light. Simply put, they last a lot longer. This does come at a steeper price point, however, as each bulb can be a few dollars more than CFLs. Also, any heat produced is absorbed, unlike incandescent bulbs which can raise the temperature of a room. The major downside to LED bulbs is that they’re not optimized to light up whole rooms, rather they’re better for task lighting.
While incandescent light bulbs are the simplest way to go for cost, halogens, CLFs, and LEDs are certainly worth considering for what they bring to a space. It is worth noting that their technological updates make up for an increased price point per bulb but when measured out over the lifespan of each bulb, this cost is negligible. Now the same intensity of light can be produced with lower wattage thanks to the developments made with these technologies. Regardless of your tastes and the ambiance you’re going for, there is a lightbulb style for you.
Author: David Ben-Zaken
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