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Lighting, not dull
It’s an interesting question isn’t it? Lighting is such a huge part of our lives that we don’t really notice. This maybe because nothing much has changed in the 213 years since the first incandescent light bulb was made, nothing much until the last 20 years.
There are now a choice of light bulbs to consider Standard Incandescent, Halogen, CFL & LED.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention and this may explain why the the stages between standard incandescent and LED have been so disappointing. The standard incandescent light but has been doing a perfectly good job for years so why change it? The basic reason is energy prices. They keep going up and people are less and less able to afford them. So we have a need for a more energy efficient light bulb and finally we have a contender.
I could have been a contender…
The interim period between Standard Incandescent and LED has been filled by two relatively poor forms of technology.
Firstly the CFL. Compact-Fluorescent tubes have been used in school halls and dental surgeries for years very effectively. They should have stayed there. Lighting manufacturers decided that the technology would go nicely in people’s houses and so started to develop domestic bulbs. The curly-wurly lamp hanging out of your Nan’s light fitting is a CFL. At one stage the government were giving them away free of charge. Remember how when digital cameras first appeared they were complete rubbish in terms of the results they produced compared to traditional methods? Well hello CFL! Cold light, migraine-inducing flicker, taking forever to warm up and actually produce any light. Sound familiar? you’ve been CFL’d
Secondly the Halogen light arrived. What a nasty piece of kit. Sure, the light output is great, a nice warm colour and very bright but at what price? Well don’t dare to install a new Halogen bulb with your bare hands of the oils in your fingers may react with the surface of the glass and cause the bulb to blow upon switch-on. Also, the heat output is immense. At one stage Halogen GU-10 bulbs were sold with heat hoods to try and limit the possibility them burning your house down. Touch a halogen bulb within 5 minutes of turning it off and you’re likely to loose several layers of skin. You get the picture
LED lighting feels like what lighting should always have been. Low energy with good light output and low heat output. Yes, at the the moment LED bulbs cost more that a standard bulb but prices are coming down and quality is going up. Longevity is also positive with some manufacturers quoting up to 50,000 hours.
The table below gives an interesting comparison between lighting technologies:
You can now achieve the same light output from an 8w LED and you did from a 40w Incandescent bulb. You’re using a lot less power (and therefore spending less money on energy) to achieve the same result. Progress. The savings will increase as the technology improves and prices come down but it already makes sense to switch those GU10 Halogen bulbs to LED.
Should you care about LED lighting? Yes
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