Why Fluorescent Lighting Isn’t Dead

Greentech Media published a great blog post yesterday titled “Why Fluorescent Lighting Isn’t Dead.”  The post featured the opinions of energy-efficient lighting expert Francis Rubinstein.

We publish a number of articles about LED lighting on this blog, and are probably a little guilty of failing to grant sufficient coverage to fluorescent lighting and how much its technology has improved over the years.

The article is an excellent read.  I couldn’t do it justice with a simple summary, so head over to Greentech Media to check it out!  In the meantime, here’s an interesting quote I pulled from Francis Rubinstein:

Until research drives the cost of LEDs down substantially, the greatest potential for improvements in lighting energy efficiency will come from combining advanced lighting controls with hybrid [fluorescent and LED] lighting systems, and designing the lighting to fit the space and occupant requirements in which they’re used.

Why Movie Theaters & Restaurants Should Choose CCFLs for Lighting

Earlier this week, I wrote a couple of posts describing the features of cold cathode fluorescent light bulbs.  CCFLs are not new to the lighting world, but their technology has improved significantly over the past few years, and they are an excellent option for energy-efficient lighting.  We have been adding over 20 different models of CCFLs to pegasuslighting.com, so this week has been a “CCFL debut” on the blog.

To read about the basic technology that differentiates CCFLs from standard CFLs and other light bulbs, catch up with this post.

In short, CCFLs are extremely durable in design, which gives them very unique dimming capabilities.  Fluorescent lighting typically does not perform well with dimming.  However, CCFLs can be dimmed down to 5% of their light output without diminishing lifetime. Read More

CCFL vs. CFL: What’s the Difference?

“CFL” is a household name at this point.  Developed in 1985, the compact fluorescent light bulb is now a 25-year-old product present in 70 percent of homes in the United States.  Just last year, more than 273 million CFLs were sold in the U.S.

Cold cathode fluorescent light bulbs are a little less familiar, at least to the general public.  Here’s a quick overview of the core differences.

Technological Differences:

All fluorescent light bulbs have two cathodes (one at each end).  In a standard CFL, the cathodes are made of coiled tungsten filaments that are heated to approximately 900 degrees Fahrenheit each time the light bulb is turned on.  That heat releases electrons.  The electrons shoot back and forth between the cathodes and react with the mercury to create ultraviolet radiation, which in turn reacts with the phosphor coating on the inside of the glass envelope to create light.  Standard CFLs are hot cathode light bulbs.

In a cold cathode fluorescent light bulb, the cathodes are made of a solid metal thimble, which is more durable than the thin coils in standard CFLs.  The cathodes only heat up to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit (certainly not “cold”, but relatively cooler than the hot cathode filament, hence the name).  The voltage potential within the tube excites the mercury to cause current flow. Read More

Unveiling the CCFL

We are in the process of adding over 20 different cold cathode fluorescent light bulbs (CCFLs) to pegasuslighting.com, so we thought it was prime time for a blog feature on CCFLs.

The market for energy-efficient light bulbs is ever-growing.  Just in the past couple of months, Vu1 Corporation has developed a light bulb based on technology from a picture tube TV, Google and Lighting Science Group have partnered to create an Android-controlled LED light bulb, and GE has designed a “hybrid” halogen-compact fluorescent light bulb.

The cold cathode fluorescent light bulb is by no means a new technology, but it is a product that has improved significantly in the past few years.  In fact, Gizmodo wrote a feature on them back in 2007 explaining their potential:

These other-worldly cold cathode fluorescent light bulbs are in some ways even better than CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs, because they’re easily dimmable and operate at room temperature. They have extremely long life, are wet-rated for outdoor use and can be used as blinking lights in tacky store displays, too. Plus, they save lots of energy because of their lower wattage and nonexistent heat output. Read More

Don’t Toss That CFL in the Trash

Putting CFLs in the trash can endanger waste management workers.

Compact fluorescent bulbs are touted as extremely energy efficient, long-lasting, and cost-effective.  This is all true: Compared to a standard incandescent bulb, each CFL lasts 10 times as long and saves $30 in energy costs.  You may have also heard about the mercury content of CFLs and the warning that they should never be thrown in the trash.

So, why is this bulb considered safe for your home but not for the trash?

The mercury content is not an issue unless the bulb breaks.  Each bulb contains an extremely small amount, and it’s not released at all as long as the bulbs are intact.  Given that information, most people assume that the CFL recycling issue has to do with preventing toxins from leaching into the soil in the landfill. Read More

The CFL, 25 Years Later

The modern compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) was developed in 1985, so the year 2010 essentially marks its 25th anniversary.  How has the CFL grown over the years?

In 1997, 13.3 million CFLs were sold in the United States.  In 2001 (just four short years later), that number grew to 57 million bulbs.

Last year, more than 273 million CFLs were sold in the US.  A recent survey by Sylvania also found that 70 percent of homes have at least one CFL.