CFL bulbs use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. There are many CFL bulb available, such as dimmables, reflectors, and spirals. They last for thousands of hours, reducing the amount of replacement required.
This post has been updated from its original 2008 version.
You may have heard of the GU24 bulb and wondered what they are. Available in both CFL and LED, these bulbs have a different base than the standard screw base bulbs. GU24 bulbs have 2 pins protruding from the base instead of the usual screw in base. To install the bulb, you would insert the pins into the corresponding holes in the socket and twist the light bulb and lock it into place.
So why would you want to use a bulb with this base? What are the advantages?
The GU24 bulb is self-ballasted i.e., the ballast portion of the bulb is already attached to the bulb and is easy to replace.
The overall length of the bulb is shorter since the ballast and the bulb are in one unit
You can easily change the wattage of the bulb, unlike pin base bulbs which require the socket to be changed for different wattages of bulbs. This offers more flexibility.
The size and shape of socket is similar to an incandescent socket so it’s great for homes.
A standard GU24 Bulb is interchangeable between manufacturers.
The LED GU24 Bulb is long lasting with an expected life of 25,000 hours of life which decreases the need for regular replacement. At Conservation Mart we offer these bulbs in a variety of color temperatures ranging from 2700K to 4000K.
So next time you’re in the market for a lighting fixture, consider one that utilizes a GU24 base bulb.
This post has been updated from its original 2013 version.
PL fluorescent lamps have been in the conservation game for a while. Specifically named for the original creator/manufacturer, this lighting solution is both easy on energy consumption while being a bit complicated to understand. To take the guess work of it, here are a few facts about PL lamps.
A Philips Brainchild
Philips Lighting took fluorescent lamps into their own hands with the development of PL lighting, twin-tube fluorescent lamps typically found in non-residential settings (office buildings, retail stores, schools, etc.). Other versions of the lamp come in triple and quad tubes and some can be used for more than just lighting, such as germicidal lamps – lamps used for disinfection.
All About the Base
PL bulbs are pin-based, with either two or four pins, and installing them requires a pin-based lighting fixture. There are many base types, like GX23, with the different names representing the pin configuration of the lamp. In order to find the right lamp for installation/replacement, check the base for details of the type, pin configuration, wattage and light color.
The brightness level of PL lamps is determined by lumens, which measures how bright a bulb is. This is different than wattage, which measures the energy output of a lamp. PL bulbs have the upper hand on incandescents because they use up less energy to display the same or a higher level of brightness. For example, a GX23 PL bulb displaying 840 lumens uses only 13 watts of energy while the incandescent version uses 60.
Color Temp: Warm to Daylight
PL bulbs shine in varying light colors. From warm white to daylight, the specific temperatures are:
2700k – warm white
2500k – soft white
4100k – cool white
5000k+ – daylight
Maximum Overall Length
Sometimes a little more information is required to properly install/replace PL lamps. Some fixtures have size limitations known as the maximum overall length (MOL). To find the length of PL bulb, measure from the base to point of the bulb.
Though PL lighting has been around for a while, this cost-effective, energy efficient lamp continues to grow. With a life span between 10-13x their incandescent peers, PL bulbs don’t need to be replaced as often, and (thankfully) you won’t want to.
This post has been updated from its original 2012 version.
Compact fluorescent lamps use significantly less energy than incandescent bulbs, and use energy to produce only light. In comparison, incandescents use a great deal of energy, with the majority of it being used to create heat. There are a variety of CFL bulbs available, with the GU24 base gaining in popularity. The 13w GU24 bulb is a great compact fluorescent replacement for 60 watt to 75 watt incandescent bulbs throughout the home.
When choosing to replace an incandescent light with a GU24 compact fluorescent, it is important to know a few basic facts about the bulb you are planning to buy. Let’s get into the major differences between these two types of bulbs.
Energy used to create light: 10%
Energy used to create heat: 90%
Standard power used in a home: 60 watts to 75watts
Base type: Screw in, pin base
Energy used to create light: 100%
Energy used to create heat: 0%
Standard power used in a home: 13 watts
Base type: GU24
The GU24 base means the bulb has two pins protruding from the bottom that twist and lock only into a GU24 fixture. Also differing from incandescent lights is how light brightness is determined. The amount of light emitted from an incandescent bulb is determined by the amount of energy it uses. The brightness of a compact fluorescent GU24 is measured in lumens. This is how a 13w GU24 bulb with 950 lumens can replace a 60 watt incandescent bulb, and use approximately 78% less energy to do so.
This blog has been updated from its previous 2009 version
It’s about the larger base. Mogul (screw) base light bulbs or mogul base
bulbs have larger screw bases (E39) than the standard, medium (E26) screw base bulbs. In fact, the “39” of E39 and “26” of E26 each refer to the millimeter width of the respective screw bases (i.e., E39 base bulbs = 39 millimeters = 1.5 inches; and E26 base bulbs = 26 millimeters = 1.0 inch), and do not refer to the shapes of the light bulbs.
More power, more heat. Mogul base bulbs are made of cast porcelain to tolerate higher temperatures, making them ideal for industrial and commercial uses (e.g., power ratings of 250-1000 watts); in terms of technology, mogul base LED bulbs, mogul base compact fluorescent bulbs, and mogul base halogen, mercury vapor, metal halide, and high pressure sodium bulbs are available in the market.
“U” stands for mogul base. Selecting the correct size bulb can be confusing because light bulbs in general are available in different base sizes. All you have to remember when reading product descriptions is this: the “U” in, for example, M175/U/MED and MH1000/U/BT56, stand for mogul base. But if you happened to get a medium base bulb (E26) for your mogul base lamp (E39), the good news is that you can get a reducer to use the E26 light bulb on your E39 base bulb lamp; additionally, you can get a converter to use a 3-way E26 light bulb in a 3-way E39 base bulb lamp.
It takes complex technology to get compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) to save 75% more energy than incandescent lighting, but is this same technology limited when it comes to lighting controls such as timers, photocells, and motion sensors?
Not Like Incandescent Bulbs
The short answer to the above question: yes, CFLs are limited. Electronic or digital controls such as timers, photocells, and motion sensors were created to work with the simplicity of incandescent light bulbs, not CFLs.
Problems with CFL Bulbs
The big issue is that CFLs were designed with some features that are very specific:
Specific input voltage – Dimmers make it possible for the voltage to go up and down. CFLs are not made for this change in voltage.
Restricted start-up time – Constantly turning a CFL bulb on and off can reduce the lifespan. Some light switches can turn lights on/off at a rate of 120x per second!
Temperature – A CFL bulb installed with an outdoor motion sensor is susceptible to the drops/rises in the temperature outside. This may stop the sensor from working properly.
So, Can a CFL Be Used with a Timer, Photocell, or Motion Sensor?
For some (not all) CFLs the answer is yes, but only under certain conditions.
Again, electronic or digital light controls pose a problem for CFLs, but mechanically controlled devices (like some timers) work just fine.
Before purchasing a dimmer, motion sensor, timer, etc., make sure the device is compliant with its stated UL section, otherwise the CFL will not last as long as the listed lifespan. The UL (Underwriter Laboratories) section tells you if the device is functional and safe.
Another Way to Save Energy: Dimmers
Though you can gain more than 80% in energy savings by using daylighting controls and occupancy sensors, another way to maximize the energy efficiency of CFLs is by using dimmers. Just check that purchased bulbs specifically state on a label or somewhere on the packaging that they are dimmable, because attempting to use a non-dimmable CFL in a dimmable light fixture could shorten the lifespan.
The complex technology in CFLs may have a few limitation, but that 75% in energy savings translates in the home, on your energy bills, and also in the environment.
The light-emitting diode, or LED, has been in existence for a while — your digital clock and flashlight have been using it for years, but only recently have LEDs been considered as the primary source for household lighting. Incandescent light bulbs — those inefficient, energy-sapping bulbs that have been the standard for years — are on their way out and quickly being replaced with energy-saving alternatives like LED lights. To make the lighting switch a little easier to understand, here are five factors to consider when choosing LED reflectors.
LEDs offer somewhat of a spotlight compared to incandescent bulbs and compact florescent light bulbs (CFL). LED lighting is more directional, emitting light in only one direction. This directional lighting, referred to as “beam types” or “beam angles,” is described in degrees. Simply put, this tells you the how much area the light will cover (e.g. 360 degree beam is a full beam type. Some lights offer narrow beams, such as 15-30 degree beams or even less).
PAR and BR: Angles and Size
There are two types of LED light bulbs: Parabolic Aluminized Reflector (PAR) and Bulged Reflector (BR).
BR light bulbs have “wide flood” beam angles, meaning they light an area at an angle higher than 45 degrees.
PAR light bulbs range in angles from 5 to over 45, specifically:
Narrow spot, 5-15 degrees
Spot, 16-22 degrees
Narrow flood, 23-32 degrees
Flood, 33-45 degrees
Wide flood , over 45 degrees
The numbers after BR and PAR (like 30) represent 1/8th of an inch, which is the diameter of the bulb. To find the diameter, just divide the number by 8. For example, the size of a PAR 30 bulb is 30/8, or 3.75 inches in diameter.
Sometimes you want a specific type of white color lighting a room. Luckily, LED bulbs offer the same color temperature as incandescent light bulbs but do so without using as much energy. They come in:
2700K – 3000K (warm white)
4100K – 5000K (cool white)
The brightness level of LED reflectors is measured in lumens, not wattage. Watts measure how much energy the bulb uses, while lumens measures the brightness of the bulb. What makes LED lighting so attractive is that it uses much less power to deliver the same amount of light as an incandescent. The conversion from incandescent wattage to LED lumen rating for everyday bulbs include:
40 watt = 380 – 460 lumens
60 watt = 750 – 850 lumens
75 watt = 1100 – 1300 lumens
100 watt = 1700 – 1800 lumens
The base of LED lights and incandescent lights sometimes are not the same. Make sure that you switch out bulbs of the same base before purchasing LED lights.
It may seem like a lot of information, but it’s best to understand what you’re getting with LED lighting before making a purchase. All-in-all, LEDs last longer than incandescent lights, save a lot more energy, and are a smart long-term investment in conservation.
With incandescent light bulbs going the way of the Canadian penny, the time to learn about GU24 lamps is now. These consumer-friendly light bulbs are quickly becoming the new standard for energy efficient lighting, so before jumping into the conservation revolution, here are five important facts about GU24 bulbs to keep in mind:
1. Not Manufacturer Specific
GU24 lamps were designed to be better than the pin-based bulbs they’re replacing, so naturally replacement was a feature that had to be corrected. Unlike pin-based light bulbs, GU24 lamps can be replaced with bulbs from any manufacturer as long as the fixture has a GU24 socket. This not only makes replacement easier, but this allows you to shop around for the best bulbs without worrying if you’ll be able to easily replace the bulb you have.
2. Ballast: Already Attached and Easily Replaced
Another attempt to correct pin-based compact florescent lamps (CFLs) was to design GU24 lamps with the ballast already attached. The ballast is an electrical device for starting and controlling fluorescent and discharge lamps and is easily replaced.
3. Adaptable to Standard Base Fixtures
Standard base fixtures, or lamps (not to be confused for light bulbs/lamps), are still considered standard because while incandescent bulbs are disappearing, standard base fixtures are not. To make the transition from incandescent to CFL easier, GU24 bulbs can be plugged into an adapter that will fit any standard base fixture.
4. Available in All Color Temperatures
Whether you need the bright lights of Hollywood or the low lighting of a romantic meal, there’s a GU24 lamp for that. They are available in all color temperatures:
27000K – Warm white
3500K – Soft white
4100K – Cool white
5000K – Daylight
5. Reduce Energy Consumption and Lighting Costs
There are a few reasons why incandescent light bulbs are disappearing. Aside from the fact that they:
give off 90% heat and only 10% light
have a short life span
use 60-100 watts of power each to light a home
Incandescent light bulbs use up 25-30% more energy than even the federal government is comfortable with. By comparison, GU24 bulbs:
give off 100% light
have a lifespan of 10,000 hours or more
use only 13-27 watts of power each
By using less energy to achieve the the same or even better lighting results, GU24 lamps are a sound option for cost-effective, energy resourceful lighting.
It can be difficult replacing a circline CFL. Circular fluorescent light bulbs differ in many ways and sometimes come with manufacture-only specifics. So which one is right for your light fixture, and how can you tell the difference?
Before purchasing circular bulbs, you need to know the diameter of the bulb needed. You can do that by measuring an existing bulb for the fixture, or looking up the manufacturer model number and finding the compatible bulb. Bulbs range from 5″-12″ in diameter.
Wattage and lumens
Wattage is how much power the bulb consumes and lumens is how much light the bulb emits. The lower the wattage and lumen ratings, the less light the bulb will provide. Higher wattage and lumen ratings give off more light.
Some light fixtures only allow bulbs from the same manufacturer to be used in it. If a bulb from a different manufacturer is plugged into the light fixture, the bulb will not work.
The brightness of circular fluorescent light bulbs depends on the color temperature. The numbers range from 2700K to 5000K; the higher the number the brighter the bulb. Specifics are:
2700K: This is a warm white color, the type you would expect to see in living rooms and bedroom.
3000-3500K: This bulb is suited for bathrooms, giving off a soft white color.
4100K: For a cool white color, almost florescent white, use a bulb with this temperature.
5000K: You’ll get the brightest color, daylight white – like the color of the sun at noon, from a 5000K temperature circline CFL . This bulb is best suited for when you need the brightest light, like in painting and drawing rooms.
It’s important to keep all of these factors in mind when choosing the right circline CFL. Especially keep in mind manufacture-specifics, and be sure to read the description on either the bulb or the fixture before making a decision.
By now, you’ve probably come across a GU24 CFL bulb. You know it’s the CFL that has two prongs sticking out. You attach it to the fixture not by screwing it in (like a standard bulb) but by sticking the prongs into the fixture and twisting it till the bulb locks into place.
When these bulbs came onto the lighting scene a few years ago, there weren’t a lot of options. That has changed as these have gained popularity due to GU24 advantages which we cited in a previous post.
Now you can get GU24 bulbs from all the major lighting manufacturers such as TCP Lighting, Feit Electric, Bulbrite, Maxlite, Sylvania to name a few. They are available in different wattages, sizes (short, tall), color temperatures (2700k for a warm look or 5000 for a daylight color) and they have dimmable features available. A few years ago you couldn’t have a GU24 bulb in a dimmable fixture. That’s changed now and dimmable GU24 bulbs are available from many manufacturers. So if you’re looking into an energy efficient fixture that you would like to have dimming features, fear not, there are plenty of options.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs are produced to conserve energy, unlike their incandescent counterparts. For example, a 13-watt CFL is manufactured to replace a 60-watt incandescent, using only 22% of the power that the incandescent needs. Also unlike the incandescent, CFL light color and light brightness are based on lumens and color temperature, not wattage. These both should be taken into consideration when choosing an incandescent replacement.
The amount of light emitted from a compact fluorescent bulb is based on lumens. The chart below shows the amount of lumens necessary to achieve the same light brightness as an incandescent.
The light color of a compact fluorescent light depends on temperature, which is measured in degrees Kelvin. The lower the Kelvin number is, the â€œwarmerâ€ the light color of a bulb will appear. For example, a compact fluorescent light which measures 2700K will give off a warm glow, similar to that of most incandescents placed in living rooms and bedrooms. At 3500K to 4100K, the color is more of a soft to cool white, suitable for kitchens. A CFL with 5000K provides a light color comparable to the light of the sun at noon. This light color is more appropriate for tasks such as painting where close attention to detail is required.
The picture below from DTE Energy will help you see the difference in color as the temperature changes.
Understanding light brightness and light color are important to choosing the correct replacement for the energy abusing incandescent lights in your home.