For a while, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) represented the benchmark by which we’re judged the energy-efficiency of our light bulbs. They were a great deal more energy-efficient than the incandescent bulbs we’ve used for so long but now, with the advent of the LED Bulb (Light-Emitting Diode), people are beginning to replace their bulbs in their droves. Let’s compare the two types, shall we…
The Compact Fluorescent Lamp
Admittedly, when they were first introduced around twenty years ago, CFLs really were the only viable alternative to the old style incandescent bulb. Indeed, they’d generate around the same number of Lumens as their predecessors, yet they’d consume about 50% of the energy, despite the manufacturers’ assertion that they’d reduce consumption by 80 – 90%.
Thus, due to clever marketing and advertising, they were hailed as the greenest lighting solution and adopted by householders the world over. However, when consumers were given the CFL bulbs to try, they realised that they weren’t quite as energy-efficient as they had been led to believe, and nor would they last the 10 years that had been promised.
Still, despite all of that, we continued to use them in our homes and businesses, simply because there wasn’t anything better available. But, what we didn’t realise at the time was that CFLs were (and still are) receptacles for Mercury Vapour, a highly toxic element that, when excited by an electric current, emits UV light (that is, in itself, harmful causing skin cancers and premature ageing – nice!).
The UV then hits the CFL’s Phosphor coating and is transformed into visible light. All these chemicals and compounds are damaging to the environment and when cut with a phosphor-coated shard of glass, a wound can have serious difficulty healing!
But that’s not all, because we’re currently completely unable to recycle CFLs, so they’re most often to be found in landfill sites at the end of their life. This really isn’t ideal when you consider that mercury may be seeping from their shattered and broken shells, poisoning our soil and polluting our water supply!
So you see, CFLs aren’t quite the eco-saviours we originally thought, and don’t get us started on their “warm-up” time and their incessant flickering, either!
LEDs have been on the scene for quite a lot longer than you might imagine. In fact, they were invented in the early 1960s by an engineer at General Electric called Nick Holonyak Jr.
At first they were used only as on/off lights for computers and other exciting electrical appliances such as kettles and grills, but in the last decade they began to gradually become more widely used for general purpose illumination and in the last 3 – 4 years they began being used just about everywhere!
Significantly healthier and more energy-efficient than any previous generation of light bulb (CFLs included), they consume a tiny fraction of the energy yet are capable of generating the same number of lumens. Thus, using around half the energy of a CFL and up to 90% less than an incandescent, users have reported massive savings on their electricity bills when they’ve switched to LED as their primary source of artificial illumination.
This saving is achieved because LEDs use a semiconductor, as opposed to a filament or gas, so it’s not necessary to produce any wasteful heat in the light production process. Indeed, simply passing an electric current across the diode is sufficient to produce light, creating no by-products whatsoever.
And speaking of by-products, LEDs are fully recyclable and contain no dangerous chemicals either, so they’re not harmful to us or the environment in any way, shape or form.
LEDs will outlast CFLs many times over and, what’s more they don’t need to be warmed up to reach full brightness and they produce a constant form of light, so there’ll be no more of that constant…annoying…frustrating…headache-inducing flickering!!!
Give Us a Call!
We look forward to hearing from you!