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Lighting: A New Path

Traditional incandescent light bulbs are being cycled out, starting in 2012 — are you ready?
by Whitney Richardson

CFL BulbIt’s no secret that the world is continually going greener. But how much greener — and how soon? The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, signed into effect in December 2007, included several energy-efficient compliance metrics, such as increasing light bulb efficiency by 25 percent and effectively phasing out traditional incandescent bulbs between 2012 and 2014. An update in 2009 placed additional stipulations on the affected bulbs.

The incandescent bulb, or A bulb (or what Bulbrite President Cathy Choi refers to as “your grandma’s light bulb”), has been a common household staple for years, the 60-watt incandescent bulb being the most popular. Such bulbs produce light through heated tungsten filaments, which give off light but also use up more electricity than necessary because of the heat they create. Because of this inefficiency, incandescent bulbs are being replaced in favor of other technologies, such as halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which use a fraction of the electricity that an incandescent bulb consumes.

To help ease the transition, Bulbrite has released its Halogen A19 as an option to preserve the light output of an incandescent bulb and provide energy-efficient cost savings in the process. “We used the halogen technology to meet energy-efficiency requirements but not give up on the aesthetic,” Choi explains. “The goal was to give consumers an option of light outsource. Not everyone wants a CFL as a nightstand light bulb.”

To determine how best to phase out your incandescent bulbs, check out the following tips:

Educate yourself.
Terms such as CFL, LEDs, kilowatts per hour and lumens per watt can be confusing if you don’t know what they mean. In researching your lighting options, make sure you’re aware of what you will be getting from each product — i.e., how much energy will be consumed compared to your current setup, how much the cost of each product compares to energy saved and overall utility bill savings, and how much light each product will put out — by checking out individual measurements and their relationship to the bulbs you currently use, rather just looking for something energy efficient.

Select bulbs based on application.
Although CFL and LED bulbs provide the greatest cost savings in terms of your utility bill, they may not emit the right light for your intended lighting application. For example, neither CFLs nor LEDs serve as strong dimmers compared to halogen bulbs. Halogen bulbs also produce a softer light more comparable to that of a standard bulb, which may be preferred in areas such as a living room or bedroom; on the other hand, the lumen output of a CFL may not be as distracting in, say, a laundry room setting.

Start looking now.
2014, when the last traditional bulb will be phased out, may sound like a distant date in the future, but the time can pass by a lot more quickly than you think. Although you don’t have to go out and restock right away, by educating yourself now and researching your options, you’ll be better prepared to shop for the right product by the time the panic of that deadline sets in. “By the time this is all said and done, by 2015, we won’t be sad about seeing the grandma bulb go,” Choi notes.

Published in Country's Best Cabins
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