Monday, November 12, 2007

A sweet new light bulb

It reads almost too good to be true. A light bulb with less mercury than the CFLs currently being touted and pushed as well as dimmable, instant on and able to operate in a wide temperature range, and 4 times the life span of a CFL. Oh, and at approximately the same initial cost and operating cost as a CFL. Welcome CCFLs (Cold Cathode Florescent Light) to the efficient lighting products to consider.

I'd been holding off on CFL's in many of my primary uses for two reasons. I'm not comfortable with the which product is going to give me the quality of light to not feel like the horrible bulbs used in so many hotels. Secondly, a lot of my light fixtures have dimmers or multi-way switches. Oh, and it is claimed that CFLs operate better in a bulb-down orientation, which doesn't work with most floor/up lights, which I find provide a better light distribution and reduced glare.

I think I'll be trying a couple of these out in my overhead (yick) fixtures and in the non-task lighting lamps. More information on the bulbs at Better Bulbs. They are currently only offering a 13-watt (60-watt equivalent) bulb, with an 18-watt (75-watt equivalent) promised.

According to Treehugger, the color temperature on the CCFLs is 2700K, which sounds reasonably low, and some quick research shows that 100-watt incandescents light output in the 2800s. This makes it seem like these would make reasonable indoor replacement bulbs. However, because fluorescents only emit a single color light, they don't directly have a color temperature. In this case, the bulb should appear to have a yellowish shade, not a pure white, which would make it a more pleasant light for most uses. Assuming that CCFLs otherwise follow the same rules as other fluorescents, the 2700K is an estimate because of the reduced spectrum different from similarly rated incandescent with its more complete spectrum. See Wikipedia for more details on color temperature and incandescent versus fluorescents.

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