Lighting accounts for over 20 percent of a home’s electricity usage. So, it really pays to know what type of lighting options are most efficient for you and your needs.
Incandescent bulbs are the traditional bulbs that we are all familiar with. They are typically a glass enclosure containing a tungsten filament, the glass enclosure contains either a vacuum or inert gas to prevent the filament from evaporating.
Incandescent lamps are often considered the least energy efficient type of lighting options commonly found in residential buildings. Although they are the least efficient, they do have several key advantages, they are inexpensive to purchase, turn on at full brightness instantly, are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, wattages, and voltages, and they provide a pleasant warming light. Incandescent bulbs are compatible with dimmers, timers, and photo sensors and can be used inside and outside. They are used both in households and commercial use.
A halogen light bulb is also known as tungsten halogen or quartz halogen. The halogen bulb has a tungsten filament like the standard incandescent bulb, the bulb is much smaller in size but has the same wattage and contains a halogen gas. The halogen gas stops blackening and slows down the thinning of the tungsten filaments.
Many halogen bulbs are connected to the fixture with a pair of pin-like plugs, however you can buy halogen bulbs which screw in and are designed to replace the normal incandescent bulbs.
Halogen bulbs are somewhat more efficient than incandescent bulbs, but they do operate at a high temperature. These high temperatures can cause some safety concerns in some fixtures. Halogens are most commonly used for recessed, accent, and flood lighting. Compared to LEDs, halogen bulbs are significantly less energy efficient and have a shorter lifespan.
Fluorescent bulbs work by using an ionizing mercury vapor within a glass tube, causing the electrons in the gas to emit photons at UV frequencies. The UV light is then converted into standard viable light using a phosphor coating on the inside of the glass tube. This lighting option is more commonly used in garages and basements for general lighting, they are highly efficient and extremely long lasting.
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFL)
Compact fluorescent bulbs are continuously being improved and are ideal replacements in both commercial and residential. CFLs are a twist on the traditional fluorescent technology and were created as the more energy efficient option to the conventional incandescent, they are available in either a screw or pin-based configurations, and in many different styles and sizes, to fit in almost all fixtures. CFLs function the same way as the standard fluorescent. This type of bulb is not well suited for use with control devices, dimmers, timers or photo sensors. They can function in these fixtures but their life is reduced dramatically.
Light Emitting Diodes (LED) Bulbs
Light emitting diodes are commonly known as LEDs. They work by passing and electrical current though a microchip which illuminates the tiny light sources we know as LEDs. LEDs are approximately 90% more efficient than a standard incandescent light bulb.
Unlike halogens, LEDs use a heat sink to absorb the heat they produce, and dissipate it into the surrounding environment. This helps to stop them from overheating and burning out. LEDs have an extremely long-life span and are super energy efficient, they are available in many different forms from simple bulbs, to Christmas tree lights and traffic lights.
LEDs are small and they can direct the light into one place, which makes them perfect for countertops and shop displays. Recessed downlights are commonly used in home kitchens, hallways, and bathrooms and they are perfect for saving energy in your home.