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Safe and Sustainable Lighting

Incandescent Lightbulbs

 

How Do They Work?

  • When electric currents move through a tungsten wire, the tungsten wire heats up and produces light.

 

Making a Sustainable Choice

  • Only about 8% of the energy they use creates visible light.
  • The rest of the energy is wasted as heat!

 

Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs)

 

How Do They Work?

  • When electricity passes through a gas-filled glass tube, a special coating inside the tube produces light.

 

Making a Sustainable Choice

  • About 21% of the energy they use creates visible light.
  • Most of our energy comes from coal-fired power plants that put mercury into the environment.
  • Even though CFLs contain a tiny bit of mercury, they reduce the overall amount of mercury that goes into the environment by using less energy.

 

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

 

How Do They Work?

  • Electricity passes through semiconductors to make light
  • New white-light LEDs work in your home just like incandescent bulbs and CFLs

 

Making a Sustainable Choice

  • About 20-30% of the energy they use creates visible light.
  • LED technology is changing rapidly. Check the stores often for new products as they hit the shelves!

 

When Thinking of Lighting Costs, Consider...

 

  • Initial cost: How much will the bulb cost when you first buy it?
  • Lifespan: How often will you have to replace the bulb?
  • Energy use: How much energy does the bulb use?

 

Table 1. Light Source Comparison

  Incandescents CFLs LEDs
Initial Cost Low Medium High
Lifespan About 1,000 hours About 10,000 hours About 20,000 hours!
Energy Use High Low Very Low
  • To make certain that you are purchasing a quality product, choose bulbs with the Energy Star® logo.
  • Be sure to purchase bulbs from a reputable manufacturer.
  • For best results, choose white-light LEDs.

 

What the Package Can Tell You...

How much Power does the bulb use?

  • Power usage is measured in watts.
  • The greater the wattage, the more power used.

 

How bright is the light?

  • Brightness is measured in lumens.
  • The larger the number, the more lumens, the brighter the light.

 

How long does the bulb last?

  • Average lifespan is measured in hours.

 

All of these things can tell you how much the lighting really costs!

 

Choose the bulb that is right for you!

  • People with limited sight abilities need lighting that can help prevent falls and improve daily activities.
  • Any bulb can enhance safety and security when used the right way.

 

Gina Peek, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Extension Specialist

Housing & Consumer Issues

 

Jan Johnston, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Extension Specialist

Gerontology

 

Paulette Hebert, Ph.D.

Professor and Chris Salmon Professor

Design, Housing & Merchandising

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