Brilliant Ideas That Don’t Leave You in the DarkBy
Lighting is so important in creating the mood and function of the interior of your home. Lighting that is too bright and harsh creates an uncomfortable glare that is hard to live with. Lighting that is too dim can create other problems such as difficulty reading, safely working in the kitchen and navigating stairs. So how do the 2014 Consumer Bulb regulations really affect us? It certainly makes shopping for light bulbs more challenging.
Here are some insights provided by Lutron Electronics:
- Only 10% of adults feel very knowledgeable about bulb options after the latest phase-out.
- There seems to be a lot of resistance from consumers to use anything that resembles fluorescent light.
- 72% of consumers do not realize that not all CFL and LED lamps are dimmable.
- Almost two-thirds (65%) of consumers say that they are likely to use new technology bulbs (such as CFLs, LEDs, and halogens).
As of January 1, 2014 the final phase of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 went into effect banning 60 and 40 watt incandescent bulbs. There is a myth that incandescent bulbs are disappearing altogether. This is not true. Most decorative bulbs such as candelabra bulbs and three way bulbs will remain the same. It simply means the 100, 75, 60 and 40 watt will no longer be manufactured or imported into the U.S. Many retail sources will still have these bulbs available through 2014, but isn’t it time to help save the planet.
So what are the choices? It can be really confusing. The common incandescent light bulb is inexpensive, dimmable and produces warm light, but it uses more electricity and has a very short life span.
Here are some of the pros and cons of three replacement options as compared to incandescent bulbs.
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs-CFLs:
Pros-use 75% less energy than incandescent, last 7 – 10 times longer
Cons- Often take longer to warm up, most are not dimmable, contains mercury, & provides marginal light quality.
Pros- These are a form of incandescent bulb (not being phased out) that give off instant light and good color rendition. Most are dimmable
Cons – Create heat, have a short life span and are more expensive than CFLs
Light-emitting Diode Bulbs-LEDs
Pros- Use less energy than CFLs. Last 18-46 years. Instantly brighten. Some are dimmable
Cons- Unusual shapes, heavy fixtures, expensive (but prices are coming down)
What else do you need to know about making the right bulb choice?
- Not all types of bulbs will fit all fixtures. A-type bulbs will fit standard screw-in fixtures.
- Not all are dimmable, check the label.
- Check the lumens (the measure of brightness). 450 lumens replace the 40 watt bulb. 800 lumens replace the 60 watt bulb. 1100 lumens replace the 75 watt bulb.
- Choose color of light by the Kelvin number. For example: Warm light is 2700K. Bright White light is 3000-3500K. Cool bright light is 4000- 4100K. For the best general effect use 3000-3500K bulbs.
LED’s are the best options for variations in brightness, color rendering, energy conservation and long lasting. In all of our recent kitchen design work we have been specifying LED accent and task lighting. Here is an example of a beautiful wall of cherry cabinetry and onyx countertop/backsplash totally illuminated by various types of LED lighting.
If you would like to try simulating the differences in lighting options here is a useful app, LightSmart, available for:
that lets you see the effects of changes in Lumens and Kelvin numbers.
For more information about light bulb choices go to these links:
The abundance of new lighting choices presents a wealth of creative possibilities. We are constantly learning new ways to incorporate more lighting into your home for function and beauty.
Do you have a lighting issue that may benefit from some creative lighting options? Let us know and we will see what Brilliant Ideas we can suggest.
Don’t be left in the Dark!
Mary Sherwood Lake Living – working with you to create your lifestyle!