29 novembre 2008

Save energy, use CFL bulbs

I discovered today that also light bulbs are still improving their efficiency. Mind you, the classic light bulb is the most inefficient thing you have in your home, as it is basically the same of a couple of centuries ago. It has an efficiency of about 10%, which means that you throw away 9 watt out of 10 you buy.

Now they are releasing CFL, Compact FLuorescent Lamp, and LEDs (Light emittion diodes), which have a high efficiency of about 4-6 times a traditional light bulb. This is because they use different principles to make light and they even have a longer lasting life span.

You have seen LEDs on every electronic home appliances starting from your televisor and ranging to your computer. Leds are those stuff used to make the small light indicator that tells you when your appliance is in stand by or running. They are one of the reason why there are campaigns to teach you to completely shut off your home appliance when you are not using them. A LED looks like this:
A classic evolution of leds is for advertising. Remember the giant ads you see on the highways that are giving you directions regarding traffics or works you will encounter? Well, those are made of a matrix with a lot of LEDs. The advantage is that if some LEDs get burnt you can still That's the main reason that makes LEDs so interesting and growing in the market. One of the modern employment of LEDs is for car lights. If you burn a LED you don't lose the whole car light, and the cost to replace a LED is much more lower than the one of a traditional light bulb.
Audi's A6 rear light, made of LEDs.

For home applications you can now use CFL light bulbs. They are like the common bulbs in shape, but instead of heating a filament with electricity (thus make it emits light radiations) they heat the gas in the bulb, making atoms hit the coating of the inner bulb, turning it white.
CFL bulbs cost more than regular bulbs, but you save 4-6 times of electricity and they last longer.

Be careful:
- if you use a dimmer, choose CFL bulmb specially designed to be used with dimmers
- don't use them for continous switching applications, they would last less
- if you need them in special positions, check on the box for any indications or limitations of that very model
- don't break the bulb as it contains small amount of mercury. Don't put them in your home garbage. If they get burnt in an incinerator they would produce highly toxic fumes.

Want to know more? Read the Environmental Defense Fund pages!

3 commenti:

  1. Anonimo8:22 PM

    The CFL bulbs I bought and installed in my house have all stopped working in less than a year. I am very disapointed with them and have replaced them with incondescent bulbs again since they last longer, cost less, and don't contain toxic substances.

  2. I understand your disappointment and I thank you for your feedback. I haven't yet tried them myself because I cannot find them in any store near where I live and I don't think a light bulb is solid enough to be shipped.

  3. LED light bulbs could very well be the next best thing in lighting. The technology is making inroads in every market, with an LED bulb for any application. LEDs have a long list of advantages over incandescent and CFL lighting. A common complaint about compact fluorescents is the ramp-up time to full brightness. Instant-on CFLs provide light instantly, but still require time to reach full brightness. LED light bulbs provide full illumination from the moment they’re turned on. It reminds me of how compact fluorescent technology slowly dominated incandescent technology. There is a similar roadblock, as well; LEDs have outlandish high prices.


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