DIY Green Energy For Homes

Energy Efficient vs. Regular Light Bulbs

Have you ever wondered what the real difference between energy efficient and regular light bulbs are?

The choice of energy efficient home lighting systems is a sure way to reduce your domestic energy consumption.

The debate still rages in some quarters over the savings that can be made and the environmental benefits of new technology.

Let's look at some of the facts.

The average household commits over 10% of energy consumption to lighting.

Advances in bulb design have given potential power savings of 50-75% before better controls and conservation techniques are considered. The incandescent bulb was very cheap and gave instant light when turned on and to many of us had a certain pleasing look to it.

The early commercial versions of CFL'S [compact fluorescent light bulbs] offered much more efficient energy consumption. There are verifiable claims of 70% reductions in power needs but at a cost. They were, and are utilitarian in design and gave less wattage while they lit up, concerning some when they were used in areas needing good lighting for security.

The benefit to the environment of cfl's is therefore apparent when reductions can be made in the demand for electricity. The much publicized downside of these bulbs is their containment of mercury and the disposal of this toxic metal.

Recycling is the best option and now many retailers offer collection points for this to be done.

The very real threat of pollution to water and air may be overstated but even small bulbs contain several milligrams of this toxic substance.

One of the major benefits of cfl's is their long life and this has increased from early levels of 6-8 times incandescent to up to 12 times from the latest designs. In essence this is less than one tenth of the packaging required for retail sale and distribution.

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Major energy savings here in the cardboard boxes required and plastic shell cases that are needed to wrap them for display. For the consumer the lower use of energy can mean savings of up to $30 over the life of a bulb. The cfl's produce about 75% less heat energy, reducing the need for home cooling.

They are also claimed to be safer to operate with this reduced heat output particularly in recessed lighting situations.

One of the less beneficial features is the limits on dimming that can be used with the cfl bulb. Dimmers can save considerable amounts of energy when a direct light is not required. Where you have torchiere fittings with halogen lamps there are compact fluorescent torchieres that use less than 30% of their halogen equivalent.

They also do not get as hot as the halogen equivalent.

The rapid improvement in cfl technology has seen a recent test conducted by Popular Mechanic showing that as well as benefits to the wallet and the environment they can also produce better light.

The savings you can make a year in the average household of 45 bulbs are enough to give these bulbs the thumbs up from the energy conscious. $180 plus per year is a significant boost to the household budget.

The latest technology is LED light bulbs used for years in watches and cell phones to display information. This has been a costly option, relying on expensive semiconductor technology and not suited to larger applications.

The maximum output is around 35 watts which is scarcely enough for reading but the plus side is the low yearly cost to run. At about $2, a life of around 50,00 hours and no filaments to burn out or toxic substances to make them work.

Watch this space as availability increases demand and production costs drop with greater demand. On Balance cfl's are the light for the immediate future as long as recycling is an option!

If you'd like to take things one step further and get using renewable forms of energy, take a look at the following site to build your own solar panels:

Have a great day.