Upon waking, most of us throw open the curtains or turn on the light. The start of a new day signaled with light. Light. Something we likely take for granted as it seeps into our days – and nights. Light to see by, to work, to read, to just go about our daily activities. Light to brighten our mood and lift our spirits. Like many things in life, light is one of those things that we don’t think much about it until we don’t have it. When the power goes out, we reach for a light – be it a flashlight or a candle.
In days long past, much of life and life’s work happened during daylight hours as artificial light was limited to the flames produced by burning – torches, candles, lanterns or even gas lamps. I remember reading “Little House on the Prairie” books as a child and marveling at the Ingalls family gathered around the lantern or candles to do needlework, read or study.
With the advent of electricity over a century ago. Lighting up our lives with electric lights quickly caught on. Light now permeates our homes, our buildings, our streetscapes and cities and towns. There is so much light that we can no longer see the stars in the skies from all but the most remote areas in many developed parts of the world. As with most things, there are good points and some not so good. Lights have contributed immensely to our safety, our lifestyles, our work and much, much more. Yet all these lights come at a cost and not just monetary cost. Technological advances in lights have brought better lights to us with fewer downsides. In particular, the advent of LED lighting has brought energy efficiency and its benefits to the world of lighting.
Energy efficiency, and more specifically, energy efficient LED lighting, is a lot like smartphones. Most of us never gave a thought to have a “computer in your pocket” and were quite content with our laptops and flip phones and Blackberries. And then this really cool iPhone came along. The more we used it, the cooler it got and then we could not imagine life without it. Energy efficient LED lighting may be following the same path. Once we have it and realize the awesome benefits, it will be hard to imagine life without it.
Regulations, building codes and exponential growth in innovation and technology will bring more and more new products to us. As they become more used and more a part of our lives, we are beneficiaries of the benefits – great quality lighting with great color and beauty for our homes and buildings; years and years of performance and service (so few bulbs to change now) and of course, the energy and cost savings that start the minute we put in our energy efficient lights. LED bulbs, in particular, look to be very much following the path of the smartphone.
CFL bulbs, or the “squiggly bulbs” or “curly bulbs” have helped to move us to more energy-efficient lighting. While they use much less energy (and money) than traditional incandescent bulbs, the very small amount of mercury in them has been concerning. Fortunately, LED bulbs offer better technology and a comparable price point. If you still have incandescent light bulbs to replace, just go straight to LED bulbs and fixtures and they will serve you well for years.
Any CFL bulbs which are still in your home or building, may be replaced when they burn out or just go ahead and replace with LEDs now. Either way, be sure to RECYCLE ALL CFL BULBS. DO NOT THROW THEM IN THE TRASH. Most major home improvement retailers, including Lowe’s, Home Depot and Ace Hardware offer free recycling collection for unbroken bulbs. Ikea offers CFL recycling in many of their stores. CFL recycling resources may be found below in the podcast notes.
To learn more about LED Lighting and its versatility and benefits, learn more on the Green Gab podcast Energy Independence with Brilliance with Nick Frisella of Metro Lighting
Resources for Energy Efficient Lighting
Recycling Your CFL bulbs – http://earth911.com/recycling-guide/how-to-recycle-cfls/
Metro Lighting – Lighting Education and Information http://www.metrolightingcenters.com/?display=education
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