Monday, October 18, 2010

#1 The wha about light bulbs...

It's pretty common knowledge that traditional incandescent light bulbs are being phased out because of their poor energy use...I think it's common knowledge, right?  These lights are being banned throughout the world, Ireland being the first to ban them on March 1, 2009.  The EU has a scheduled ban taking place much to the chagrin of some Europeans, who are claiming it's some kind of "light bulb" socialism and they're stocking up on these outdated energy burning bulbs.

So what should the common average joe know about light bulbs so they can make the best purchase for their family and for the environment?

One option is a compact flourescent bulb, or CFL for short.  I personally find these bulbs abrasive to my poor sensitive eyes, however under a lamp shade, they're not so bad.  Each bulb costs considerably more then your traditional light bulb, however they last much longer.  There are some things you should know.  Turning them on and off frequently can shorten the life of the bulb.  The Energy Star program suggests you leave the light on a minimum of 15 minutes when you turn it on.  Another concern about these bulbs is the mercury content.  The amount of mercury is minimal (way less then our old fashioned thermometers), however these bulbs need to be disposed of properly, and precautions need to be taken to prevent them from breaking in your home.  If you use these bulbs, and don't know of a recycling center, you can look that up here at Earth 911 or here.

The last concern with fluorescent lights is something called "Short Wave Ultraviolet Light".  Each bulb releases a tiny bit of this damaging light, which is the same cancer causing light that comes from the sun.  Light bulb technology is getting better every day, and those with the brains are working hard to fix this problem.  It's way better then it used to be.  Look for plastic coated bulbs (like the kind Ikea sell) if you're concerned.

Another option for light bulbs is the Light Emitting Diode, commonly known as the LED light. These have been around a long time.  They light up the numbers in your alarm clock, microwave, and even watches.  There's a lot of complicated stuff on diodes and how these lights work, but I won't get into that.  What you should know is they are the most energy efficient of the bulbs I've discussed today.  They don't contain mercury, or UV light.  They don't burn out, but fade over time, and can last 35,000-50,000 hours.  To use these bulbs as regular light fixtures in the house is a little cutting edge, and may be more common in the next decade or so.

So what kind of light bulb are you using?


1. Lights Out
2. Gettin Around the EU Ban
3. The end of the lightbulb as we know it
4. How an LED Works
5. Why LED?

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