by Harriet Bond
(San Francisco, CA, USA)
For most homes in the developed countries, lighting alone accounts for 9% of the total national energy requirement. For other parts of the world, it is far more than that. Thus, using cost-efficient lights can be a real life-saver, or should we say, energy-saver.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs are made to be very efficient; it uses 66% less energy than the conventional light bulbs. Just by changing from the incandescent to the CFLs could already reduce electrical consumption to 7%.
When compared to the regular light bulbs, CFLs give the same amount of luminescence for less power and while it has a higher purchase price than the incandescent, CFLs have longer lifespan (approximately 12 times than the incandescent light bulbs, about 11,000 hours), enough to save $US30 in electrical costs during the bulbs lifetime.
A US published article claimed that if a household changes 30 fixtures in their home, investing $90, the money saved in the span of five years could be anywhere from $500 to $1,500 depending on the areas electrical costs. For commercial buildings and other bigger establishments, the savings are even greater.
An average CFL at 75 watts could save $22 dollars in direct energy savings per year. If that is multiplied by the number of light bulbs in a building, and include the cost of labor that could be saved from changing light bulbs, the savings could rise exponentially.
True, there is a capital investment of about $2 USD per fixture; however that could be recovered in a month from money saved.
Other manufacturers of CFLs also apply titanium dioxide coating. This is because titanium dioxide is claimed to neutralize bacteria, odors and molds. Still many manufacturers of CFLs apply a luminous coating to the bulb for the purpose of luminescence after the CFL is turned off.
The idea behind is that a little light could still remain, even for a short while, in cases of power failure and accidents.
Because Carbon Fluorescent lamps do not emit as much heat as the incandescent light bulbs, there is also less work for air conditioners in cooling up the space.
Surely there must be a downside.
If this could be called a downside, CFLs behave differently from the ordinary incandescent bulbs. For one, it takes longer to attain its full brightness depending on the temperature. The colder the climate is, the longer it will take for the bulb to give off full brightness.
CFL also gives off the brightest light during its first use and begins to dull gradually, giving off less light as it nears the end of its life; a CFLs is expected to reduce its brightness by 20% from its original brightness on first installation. But that is just about it.
Saving energy, in almost all conceivable phases of production, is in focus today. The fuel that is currently in use, as we are all aware, is non renewable.
This is why even in the field of lighting, continuous research is being done to further reduce the coefficient of energy that has to be saved.
Solid state lighting, for example, is widely used in traffic lights; although for now, using this technology to be an energy saving method for domestic consumption is still being developed as the current cost is still high.
For now, saving energy through the CFLs remains to spell a definite advantage compared with incandescent light bulbs.