Ever since Thomas Edison refined the light bulb to a practical incandescent blub; the world has been illuminated. But illumination comes at a cost, both financially and environmentally. In most houses, lights are carelessly left on when they are not needed and this is a waste of valuable resources. Reminding everyone to turn off the light when they leave the room is important but often forgotten.
Energy efficient light bulbs can help reduce this waste. Compact Florescent lights (CFL’s) are the most common energy efficient replacement for standard incandescent bulbs. Replacing your existing bulb with a CFL is simple and easy as they fit into most existing lighting fixtures.
Edward Hammer invented the CFL in 1976, but the $25 million cost involved in building the factories capable to produce these bulbs meant that the invention was shelved. It was not until 1995 that the Compact Florescent Light was available commercially in China as an energy efficient light bulb.
If every home in America replaced just one of their existing incandescent blubs with an energy efficient light blub it would reduce the same amount of emissions produced by one million cars.
It is also important to note that replacing an incandescent blub with a compact florescent blub requires less wattage. Most packaging will tell you the pertinent information; but here are the facts.
For a 40-watt incandescent use a 9 or 12 CFL, for a 60-watt incandescent use a 13-18 CFL and for a 75-watt incandescent use a 19-24 CFL.
Not only is the energy-use of a CFL far less that an incandescent, the life span is also 8-15 times greater. You can rely on anywhere between 6,000 to 15,000 hours of light from a CFL, whereas incandescent lights have an expectancy of just 750-1000 hours.
Mercury is the essential element that increases the energy efficiency of a compact florescent light bulb, but only a minuscule amount is used and the huge energy savings outweigh this one drawback.
In recent years, the most energy efficient light has been the Light Emitting Diode (LED). These energy efficient light bulbs use a third of the wattage of a CLF and contain no mercury. Their life span is also far superior. You can expect 100,000 hours from an LED. Therefore there is rarely any need to replace them. LED’s are the leading light in solar technology because of the minimal drain they take from resources. In RV and marine activities, replacing your lights with LED’s can save valuable energy and LED’s are even being used to power streetlights and office spaces. The advantage of LED’s is that they run from Direct Current (DC) and it is this precise current that solar energy absorbs, minimizing the need for additional units to transform the current to alternating current (AC), which is the common type of electricity.
But if you are looking for light emission per watt, the CFL is still the best option. They also are designed to work with DC and AC, making them popular in the solar community and the consumer-conscious world.