June 02, 13
Energy Efficient Fluorescent Lighting – Fluorescent Versus Incandescent Lighting
- Energy Efficient Fluorescent Lighting – Fluorescent Versus Incandescent Lighting
In commercial and industrial applications something as simple as light fixtures can save you thousands of dollars every year because better energy efficiency means lower electricity bills. Using energy efficient fluorescent lighting rather than incandescent bulbs can make a huge difference in the amount of money you have to pay for utilities every month.
Many years ago we only had one choice when it came to lighting and that was the incandescent light bulb. This type of light bulb has a glass bulb with a very thin piece of wire inside called a filament. The inside of the bulb is filled with an inert gas because if there were oxygen inside the bulb the filament would burn out very quickly. The way an incandescent light bulb creates light is to run electricity through the filament. This makes the filament very hot to the point where it glows and gives off light. Unfortunately, incandescent bulbs are far better at generating heat than they are at giving off light.
Incandescent bulbs come in different wattages and as you increase the wattage you increase the energy efficiency of the bulb. A 40 Watt incandescent bulb gives off 12.6 lm of light per watt. A 60 watt bulb will give you 14.5 lm of light per watt, and a 100 Watt lightbulb gives off 17.5 lm of light per watt. Unfortunately, even with a 100 Watt lightbulb, more than 97% of the electricity running through the filament is lost as heat.
Energy Efficient Fluorescent Lighting
Even a good incandescent light bulb uses less than 3% of the electricity that runs through it to create light, the rest is lost as heat. Fluorescent lamps are far more efficient and they are able to convert up to 28% of the electricity that passes through them into visible light. Energy efficient fluorescent lighting can also give off 75% less heat than equivalent incandescent lighting.
Energy efficiency has improved a great deal over the years and in just the last decade the improvements have been substantial. In 2010 the Department of Energy released a study saying that lighting across all sectors has become more energy efficient since their study began in 2001. The report says that the residential sector has seen some improvement but because most households still use incandescent bulbs the energy efficiency hasn’t improved as much as it has in the commercial sector.
In the commercial sector, which is responsible for about half of all lighting energy consumption, energy efficiency has improved not by switching to a different type of light fixture but by simply using more energy efficient fluorescent lighting. Many commercial buildings were using fluorescent lighting already but they were using older, T12 fluorescent bulbs and have since switched to smaller diameter T8 and T5 lamps.
For businesses, switching out old light bulbs for newer ones can save a lot of money and the savings can add up quickly. By switching to more energy efficient fluorescent lighting a business can recoup the cost of retrofitting their light fixtures fairly quickly. And in addition to being more energy efficient, T8 lamps provide brighter, better quality light than the older T12 lamps.