Types of Efficient Light Bulbs

There are several types of efficient lighting that come in a range of shapes, types, and colours – there’s one for nearly every lighting application.

Whatever you choose, it’s important to get the right light bulb for the job – the right shape, size, functionality, light qualities, colour and brightness.

These are the main types of efficient lighting currently available in New Zealand:

New generation halogens

New generation halogens use around 30% less electricity than an old-style incandescent light bulb and can last twice as long.

They look just like old-style bulbs and can be used in all the same places, including traditional fittings, dimmers and sensors.

These are the bulbs for task lighting where good colour definition or visual clarity is required – such as make-up application, hobby work or reading. They work well for accenting too.

IRC halogen spotlights

Used as a replacement for traditional 12 volt halogen bulbs, IRC halogen bulbs use 30% less energy and can last up to two and a half times longer. These bulbs can be used with dimmers, sensors and any other type of electronic switches.

It is worth noting that halogen bulbs come in different sizes, and are available in 12 and 230 volt versions but efficient IRC halogens are only available in 12 volt models. Generally the size and types of pins on the back of the bulb vary by the size and voltage of the bulb, but to be safe it is a good idea to take an old bulb into the shop when you buy a replacement.

These are the bulbs for task lighting where good colour definition or visual clarity is required – such as make-up application, hobby work or reading. They work well for accenting too.

Halogen bulbs have built in reflectors and are available in a range of beam angles from narrow spotlights, to wider angle models. Try to match the beam angle to the to the size of object or area being lit in your home.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)

CFLs are the most well-known type of efficient light bulb.

A good CFL uses around 75% less electricity than a traditional incandescent bulb, and lasts from six to fifteen times longer (check the box for the expected life of a CFL).

They are good for general household and mood lighting, and can be used in place of a standard light bulb in many situations. However, don’t use them in dimmers, sensors or recessed lighting unless the box specifically says.

CFLs come in a range of shapes and sizes, including one similar to a standard light bulb. They also come in different colours – “warm white” is close to the colour of a standard light bulb, whereas cooler whites tend to have a blue tint and are best for specific task lighting like in a workshop etc.

Selecting the best – look for ENERGY STARĀ®

If you want a top-quality CFL with performance you can rely on, look out for ENERGY STAR-qualified bulbs.

ENERGY STAR is the internationally-recognised, independent mark of energy efficiency. Qualified CFLs:

  • shine 15% brighter than non ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs of the same wattage
  • last at least 8000 hours, and
  • are backed by a two-year warranty.

Find out which CFLs are ENERGY STAR-qualified.

Learn more about ENERGY STAR.

Straight/circular fluorescent tubes

These use the same technology as CFLs so they are also very long lasting and efficient.

They are available in large number of different sizes, so it is a good idea to take the old tube to the shop when you need a new one.

Like CFLs, fluorescent tubes are often available in different colours (sometimes called the temperature of the bulb) from warm white that has more yellow/orange to it through to cold white which is quite blue. Warmer whites work best for general purpose uses, where are cooler white are better for task that require clearer lighting, like workshops etc.

Light emitting diode (LED) light

These are efficient and can last up to 50 years – though they’re relatively expensive to buy. They’re good for guidance and effects – strip-lighing in hallways, step lighting and outdoors.

The LED bulbs that have lots of smaller LED’s clustered together (like the one in the picture above) are a lot less bright (but also a lot cheaper) than bulbs that use high powered (3 – 5 Watt) LED chips. For anything other than decorative purposes, choose high powered LED’s.

It also pay to remember that higher powered LED’s, like some halogens, are focused light sources, so you need to know whether you need a narrow or wide beam for your lighting needs.

Original Scource:http://www.energywise.govt.nz

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