Red Light, Green Light
May 17th, 2009

Red Light, Green Light

Compact Fluorescent

LED Lamp

With an M.S. in Illumination Engineering, I can’t help but get excited about advancements in lighting.  Since Edison created the first commerically practical lamp in 1879, the world has been illuminated by the incandescent bulb.  Although they are inexpensive and reliable, their time as our major light source is nearing an end.  The light source has two major problems:  it uses a significant amount of electricity and generates a significant amount of heat.  In fact, the light you are seeing is created by heating up a tungsten filament up to 3000°C!  That heat generated must now be offset by your HVAC system.  The new ‘buzz word’ in lighting is the Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL).  I will never forget seeing my first Compact Fluourescent (CFL) at a CU-Boulder reatreat in 1993.  It was the prototype of the new Greenfluorescent revolution.  Although the CFL is significantly more energy efficient, has a longer lamp life and a lower operating temperature, it is still fatally flawed.  First, the standard model off the shelf cannot be dimmed.  It requires a more costly, electronic ballast in order to be dimmed.  Second, the CFL is a disposable nightmare due to the Mercury contained inside the bulb.  Well, have no fear, the lighting future is upon us with the introduction of LED lamps for residential and commerical use.  LED‘s, or Light Emitting Diodes, have a bulb life of 60,ooo hours (6 times that of a CFL and 40 times that of incandescent) and use 70% less energy than a CFL (see Light Bulb Comparison Spreadsheet)!  Although these light sources are currently expensive, they can save you up to $674 a year by replacing your incandescent bulbs ($.23/kWh assumed in study).  In fact, when compared side-by-side with CFL’s, they pay for themselves in less than a year.  LED’s are the wave of the future and are truly the Green alternative when it comes to lighting!  Check them out today at EcoLEDs and reduce your carbon footprint.