John Bullock Lighting Design
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Lighting the Home: all those Lamps!

23-01-2013

Comparing lamps for use in the home

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Tungsten filament lamp:
The least efficient of all electric lamps.
Phased-out over the past few years, with government looking for a shift towards low-energy lighting.
A 60W lamp could be bought for less than £1.00, but the ban on general lamps is being countered by the reactionary forces on the high street by industrial 'rough service' GLS lamps, which can cost over £3.00 per lamp.
Why would you??
DIMMING: All filament lamps are dimmable.

  

 

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Tungsten halogen lamp:
The filament lamp is still with us, via the application of tungsten halogen technology to the conventional bulb type of lamp.
These lamps are typically 30% more efficient than the lamps that they replace (42W replaces 60W, for example)
The 42W version costs £2.00+
NOTE: these lamps are not rated as low energy as defined by The Building Regulations and the lighting industry is moving away from using them..
DIMMING: All tungsten halogen lamps are dimmable.

 

 

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Compact fluorescent lamp (CFL):
The first proper  low energy lamp to become available to the general public, and offered in most supermarkets.
Was heavily subsidized by government and energy companies to excourage energy saving across the country, though the cost of these lamps is now becoming normalised.
The 20 - 23W versions cost £4.00 - £10.00 depending on the lamp style and the manufacturer / supplier.
DIMMING: Only specific CFL are dimmable and are labeled accordingly. Dimming costs a few pounds extra..

 

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LED lamps:
The latest low-energy technology to become available to the domestic market.
The LED is now pretty much more efficient than the equivalent CFL, but the real-world evidence suggests that there's still some way to go before the energy improvement trumps the higher price.
DIMMING: as with CFLs, only specific LED lamps are dimmable and are labeled accordingly. The market is shifting towards all LED lamps being dimmable.

One of the major technological differences between the CFL and the LED lamp is reflected in the life-term of the lamps and then there's the issue of what goes into the lamps when they are manufactured.
LED lamps are typically rated at 50,000 hours, whereas the CFL lamp typically  has a life of 8000 hours. But LED life is an industry concern and I urge you to check and then double check and then have your supplier sign a confirmation in their own blood before accepting the marketing puff.

What happens at end of life?

The biggest ecological issue around CFL lamps is the mercury that they contain (the official name for a CFL is a mercury discharge lamp, so its difficult to remove the mercury entirely, although efforts are being made to replace it with something more eco-friendly.
Although government and local authorities have tried to encourage the public to dispose of old CFL lamps properly, via local recycling sites (the lamp is considered as Hazardous Waste), its believed that the majority of CFL lamps are going to landfill, from where the mercury finds its way into groundwater.
The use of CFL is now measured in millions of lamps, and that's quite a lot of mercury being lost.
LEDs will eventually find their way to landfill, but its felt that the component elements in the lamp are more safely embedded into the LED chip. We will, however, be losing a quantity of precious metals and toxic substances such as arsenic. This is driving far more interest in recovering precious and rare metals and we can expect to see a more pro-active approach in re-claiming old lamps in the near future.

 

RIBA CPD in 2015

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John Bullock Lighting Design
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Sherborne
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