On January 1, 2014 it became illegal to import 75 watt and 100 watt incandescent bulbs. By the end of 2014, it will also be illegal to import 40 watt and 60 watt incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are the ones we’ve all used for years with the round glass shell and the filament that glows white inside. Canada is pushing towards more green technology and lighting is an easy way to make the country more environmentally friendly.
There are alternatives to the old incandescent bulbs which use less energy for how much light they produce, and are relatively affordable. There is a lot of jargon floating around, and if you aren’t sure what the names mean, or the differences between them, it can be difficult to navigate. With Canada’s change to more eco-friendly lighting, you should know a little about the different types of bulb and their pros and cons. If you are setting up an office today, I recommend trying out different lighting solutions rather than just going with incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tube lighting.
CFL stands for compact fluorescent lamp. They are energy saving lights which, in terms of energy saving, outperform the old incandescent bulbs tremendously. Compared to incandescent bulbs they use between one fifth and one third less power. They also have a lifespan of significantly longer than the old incandescent bulbs. On top of this, the light which they emit is still strong. But, they do have some disadvantages. CFL bulbs have a tiny amount of mercury in them. Mercury is toxic, which makes disposal of these bulbs tricky. These bulbs cannot just be thrown into the rubbish, as smashing them open will release the mercury, which would seep into the ground at the trash site. The long fluorescent tubes in most offices today contain mercury as well. Dimming CFL bulbs is not as simple as with incandescent bulbs. If you have a dimmer switch on your light switch, you will have to get special CFL bulbs that can be dimmed. There are four types of white with CFL bulbs: soft white, bright white, cool white and daylight. As with incandescent lights, you can also buy different brightnesses. A 9 watt CFL bulb should produce the same amount of light as a 40 watt incandescent bulb.
LED bulbs, using light emitting diodes, are different from CFL and incandescent bulbs as they provide directional light. There are also a range of colours of LED bulbs. For the same number of lumens (brightness measure), less watts are needed for LED bulbs, than incandescent bulbs, or even CFL bulbs. Somewhere between a 9 watt and 12 watt LED bulb, will give you the same brightness as from a 60 watt incandescent bulb. The energy required therefore is significantly less. They last a lot longer, and many LED bulbs market their products as ones that will potentially be passed on to the next generation. So, why do people purchase CFL bulbs when LED bulbs appear to be so much better? The cost. LED bulbs are by far the most expensive type of bulb you can buy. We are talking close to eight times more expensive than CFL. If you have the option, we recommend LED lighting for offices. The technology has come a long way from the weak lighting or harsh lighting that people think of with LED bulbs. Add in the long life of the bulbs, energy savings, and that they don’t require any mercury to run and you have a great lighting option. Which bulbs do you use in your office? Please leave a comment below.