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Viewpoints on Lighting Methods

Indoor lighting has pretty much been dominated by the traditional light bulb during the 20th century and into the early years of this century. However, the questionable cost effectiveness of the light bulb combined with a growing concern about our potential resources in terms of meeting the needs of this and future generations have combined to prompt the lighting industry to look for alternatives to the tried and true traditional method of lighting the American home and American industry.

Michael Siminovitch, director of the California Lighting Technology Center at the University of California at Davis indicated that within the next half-decade our homes will be illuminated by a combination of incandescent, fluorescents and LEDs. The traditional fluorescent light, most often associated with work-bench lighting, has taken on a new look with a wide variety of styles and configurations that complement the décor of just about any home. The LED has also begun to take its place as a mainstay because of its long life and versatility. The LED can be used to provide the kind of decorative lighting that was only a dream less than a decade ago. Siminovitch says that "The lamp aisle in stores is already a mile long. It's gonna be confusing."

Following are some comparisons between the different types of lighting available in today’s market. LEDs Light-emitting diodes are solid-state semiconductors in which light shines from a chip instead of through a bulb or tube. A more recent innovation, the OLEDs, is made with organic laminate and glows when energized. Alarm clock LED displays were the first application of the multipurpose LEDs used today in a wide variety of applications. One of the big advantages of LEDs is that they can be activated instantly, can be regulated to dim with almost no difficulty, and, perhaps most importantly can be used to focus light on a small area such as a desk. LEDs are ideal for a variety of purposes because of their compact size. For example, more and more public buildings and even some homes, use LEDs to provide staircase illumination. If you’ve purchased a home appliance such as a microwave or range within the past few years, you will no doubt have LED technology incorporated into the displays.

Another major advantage of the LED is that they use about one-tenth the energy of a typical incandescent bulb and last as long as a decade. LEDs also don’t need the mercury found in fluorescents which makes them a non-toxic source of lighting. On the negative side, at present, there are not too many people who are willing to spend the money necessary to purchase an LED light bulb and if they are, they might have some difficulty finding a store that carries them. Incandescent light bulbs The old standby, dating from the beginning of the last century hasn’t changed much in terms of its basic technology. The incandescent light bulb removes oxygen from a glass chamber, in which a tungsten wire releases light. These light bulbs are becoming a major concern to many legislators and certain special interest groups because they are simply wasteful when it comes to the conservation of energy. In fact, some reliable sources suggest that the traditional light bulb could become a thing of the past in the United States in ten years or less and even sooner in Australia and in some parts of Canada.

Carbon emissions and global warming are already a major international concern and the traditional light bulb is one of the culprits according to some energy experts. The positive side of using the traditional light bulb is that they are inexpensive, easy to find, and can be used in a wide variety of existing lighting fixtures. On the negative side, the typical incandescent wastes up to 90 percent of their energy as heat and last for as little as 700 hours. Lighting makes up as much as 20 percent of power consumption in U.S. households, according to the Department of Energy. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that switching every home to compact fluorescent bulbs would prevent the release of 1 trillion pounds of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Compact fluorescent light bulbs Fluorescent lighting involves a chemical reaction in which phosphor powder glows when energized by certain gases.

On the positive side, fluorescent lights have evolved during the past decade. They come in compact sizes as well as in a wide array of colors, sizes and shapes. Pricing is generally not an issue with these lights and most discount department stores carry a wide variety. On the downside, it's illegal in a number of states to dump mercury-laden fluorescent bulbs with the regular trash.

The conclusion is that we are facing significant changes in the next few years in the way we keep the home lights burning throughout the world. Related Articles - overview, home, fixtures, traditional, LED, fluorescent, incandescent, ...