John Bullock Lighting Design
John Bullock Lighting Design
Lighting Product DesignLighting Product Design
Heritage Lighting ProjectsHeritage Lighting Projects
Home Lighting ProjectsHome Lighting Projects
Exhibitions Lighting ProjectsExhibitions Lighting Projects
Leisure Lighting ProjectsLeisure Lighting Projects
Exterior Lighting ProjectsExterior Lighting Projects
Commercial Lighting ProjectsCommercial Lighting Projects

Some queries about low energy lighting


Are CFL lamps safe?

There are arguments for and against the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). Some of those arguments don�t really stand up to scrutiny, but there are some serious aspects that, in my opinion, haven�t been properly addressed. The health scares that have been stirred up in the press are grossly exaggerated; we�ve had fluorescent lighting in our working lives for more than half a century, so the true numbers of those affected by that type of light are already known. But the real problem affects us all; the safe disposal of CFL lamps is not something that can be down-played. These lamps contain toxic materials (though they are perfectly safe in normal use) and we must find suitable ways of ensuring that dead lamps don�t find their ways into landfill, which would ultimately find these toxins bleeding into the water system.
So there is an important message here: save energy by using CFL lamps, but PLEASE dispose of them correctly. I take ours to the council recycling facility.

Do I have to accept poorer lighting if I use low energy lamps?

No � not at all, although I have sympathy with some people�s experiences. The lighting industry hasn�t done enough to help itself to gain the confidence of its customers and that�s been the biggest problem.

The common complaints are these:

CFL lamps take too long to come to full brightness:

All true � but the situation is improving as the science gets better. For me, its about accepting a bit of change. Is it a problem, or is it something that�s just a bit different.

But the light is too dull:

Two things here � I know that first impressions are important, but the dullness that we experience when we switch on a CFL soon disappears once its come to full brightness, and, there is a more serious issue of understanding what size of lamp you need to use to replace an incandescent lamp. If you�re using a 100W light bulb, there isn�t a CFL or LED lamp to replace it, so you need to think a bit more carefully about what you�re trying to do.
On a personal point, in my living room I�ve replaced six 60W candle lamps with six 12W CFL lamps. No problem, just an electricity meter going round slower. But I�m keen to see how the new LED lamps perform, because they may provide an even bigger saving.

And the light is too cold:

You�re using the wrong type of lamp. Fluorescent lamps are available in a number of different colour temperatures, and the CFLs that you�ll buy in a supermarket will usually be the ones that properly replace incandescent lamps, but if you�re buying from a market stall or from a geezer in the pub, you may be buying one of the less suitable versions.
Always check that the CFL lamps that you buy for your home have a colour temperature of 2700K. It should be shown on the packaging and on the lamp.

I don�t get the same spotlight effect as I used to?

Ah � here we have a real problem with fluorescent replacements for tungsten halogen lamps. There�s a clever bit of science going on here, but to no good end, I�m afraid. Tungsten halogen lamps are designed to collect as much light from the filament as possible, re-focus it and send that light down a controlled light beam. Putting a coil of fluorescent tube into such a small lamp is clever, but it�s impossible to focus that light into a defined beam. So you used to have a beautifully lit piece of artwork � or maybe some working light on your kitchen worktop, and now it�s disappeared. And that�s why.
The answer is to look at LED options. Earlier LED versions were also annoyingly diffuse, but the latest lamps may give you the answer that you�re looking for. But buy one and check first before committing to a wholesale change. This is a tricky one.


RIBA CPD in 2015

Here are the links to my event calendars



John Bullock Lighting Design
The Coach House
2 East Mill Court
East Mill Lane

Website designed by Alacrify