The Best Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs are not energy efficient and draw on this planet’s dwindling natural resources. Compact fluorescent light bulbs or CFLs save money, use less energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, sets stringent guidelines for energy efficiency of products like CFLs. The Energy STAR program is the result of the EPA’s strict guidelines. Products with the Energy STAR seal lower utility bills, protect the environment and are energy efficient. Within approximately six months, CFLs pay for themselves and then start paying back. One CFL saves more than $40 and five save more than $200 over the life of these bulbs.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs come in a variety of shapes and sizes for different lighting fixtures. The bulb shapes are A-shaped, candle, globe, indoor reflector, outdoor reflector, post or tube, and spiral.
Traditional incandescent light bulbs have an advantage over spiral shaped CFLs because they are visually more appealing. A-shaped* bulbs have the look of incandescent bulbs with options for use in a variety of lamp fixtures and clip-on shades.
Wall sconces, decorative fixtures and tight fitting light fixtures are a good place for candle* CFLs. If the bulb shows, it will not detract from the look of the lamp or fixture.
Globe* bulbs are spiral CFLs inside round glass bulbs. These bulbs add to the decor when visible. Bathroom vanity bars and ceiling fans are two options for their use.
Indoor reflectors* are much smaller and used for directional lighting. Recessed fixtures and ceiling fans are where they are used. By contrast, outdoor reflectors* are much larger and sealed protecting them from rain and snow.
Manufacturers designed post or tube* compact fluorescent light bulbs to withstand outdoor conditions. A yellow colored post or tube CFL is a “bug light” that repels insects.
Spiral* CFLs are the most popular and used to replace 60 to 150 watt incandescent bulbs. These bulbs are versatile and available in daylight, natural light and soft white.
*Check the package information for compatibility with three-way switches, dimmers, motion sensors, photocells or electric eyes, and timers.
The February issue of Good Housekeeping magazine released its 2012 awards for Very Important Products, VIP. According to the magazine, these awards are their picks for innovative products considered life changers. They chose compact fluorescent light bulbs as a category and the Energy Smart bulb by General Electric as the award winner.
As part of the next generation of CFLs, the bulbs have lower mercury levels and warm, inviting tonal qualities. The bulb is a hybrid CFL because it offers true energy efficiency and the latest technology. General Electric’s hybrid compact florescent light bulbs mimic the look of incandescent bulbs because it has a CFL spiral bulb inside a glass bulb that closely resembles an incandescent bulb. According to GE, its miniaturized electronic technology has a dozen patents and a decade of research by its engineers and scientists.
Daily Green is Good Housekeeping’s consumer guide for green products. On their site, they show different brands of compact fluorescent light bulbs that fit specific light fixtures. The bulbs are energy efficient and look attractive in these fixtures.
Standard lamp fixtures were a problem for CFLs but Sylvania manufactured a compact fluorescent bulb that fits a wider range of fixtures. They also designed a decorative bulb for chandeliers and wall sconces. Another product from Sylvania is its Mini-Twist that is smaller than a standard spiral CFL. General Electric’s post shaped outdoor bulb is for use in porch fixtures. Decorative flicker flame tip CFLs by TCP work in fixtures like table lamps and decorative wall lights. Bathroom vanity bars use Westinghouse’s globe bulb that has a waterproof coating. The company also manufactured a yellow colored post CFL that repels insects and used in outdoor patio or porch fixtures. Home Depot offers a 23-watt floodlight from its EcoOptions line of CFLs. Phillips and GE manufactured compact fluorescent light bulbs that fit three-way lamps and fixtures.
The Energy STAR’s website statistics show how CFLs save consumers more than money. According to its statistics, if every American replaced an incandescent bulb with a CFL, it is equivalent to eliminating greenhouse gas emissions for approximately 800,000 cars in one year. This simple change conserves enough energy to light three million homes for one year. Make small changes today by using CFLs for a healthier environment. The commitment of using compact fluorescent light bulbs is an investment in our environment for future generations.