A brief history of energy saving light bulb
It is well known that energy saving light bulbs have got a bad reputation. When they first came onto the market around the year 2000 they were very ugly in appearance and although they did save energy they were not very bright. If you turned one on it would start off very dim and then after about 5 minutes reach an acceptable brightness, but it would take a full 20 minutes for them to reach their maximum light output. Also they were not cheap costing something around A�10 each for a standard compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) which meant that the energy saving equation was not too good either. Here I will provide a brief overview of the main types including the LED bulb to assist potential buyers.
The compact fluorescent lamp- CFL
The CFL was the first real energy saving light bulb which in essence is just a compact version of the standard fluorescent tube that is housed in a multitude of work environments including garages and commercial kitchens. It has an in built ballast and driver so can be used as a direct replacement for the conventional incandescent light bulb and does give good savings of around 80% in electricity costs when compared to the conventional light bulb. These CFL's are now well priced at around A�1 and do come in either a spiral design of a globe design for improved aesthetics. The downside of these CFL's is that they can be quite ugly and the standard bulbs are not dimmable, although you can buy dimmable CFL's but they do cost about 4 times as much.
The Halogen Bulb
The halogen bulb has been a favourite in cars for any years giving a very bright light which is bluish in colour. The halogen bulb has now been developed as a like for like replacement for the traditional filament light bulb and does in fact save 30% in electricity. Whilst recognising that this is not a massive saving t should be recognised that the halogen bulb does have some favourable features. Firstly it can be dimmed using a conventional dimmer switch and secondly it is compact in proportions making it quite an elegant solution for many lighting fixtures. The only real downside is that they get really hot!
The LED Bulb
The LED bulb is the ultimate in energy saving light bulbs. It is highly efficient which means that you can realise a massive 88% saving in your electricity costs. Additionally it comes on instantly which means that you get immediate illumination when you walk into a room and do not have to leave the lights on. The third main benefit is the incredibly long lifespan of 30000 to 50000 hours which is typically 15 years with a typical daily usage pattern. These benefits mean that the LED bulb is a perfect solution for new builds and also for a retrofit light bulb with each bulb changed saving typically over A�100 in electricity over the lifetime of the LED. However, the LED bulb is expensive, typically between A�10 and A�20 although prices are dropping as the technology advances so they do have a significant initial investment cost, but if you take a medium term perspective on the return you will save a significant amount of money.
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