My mom is building a new home and I'd like to know whether I should
recommend that she install fluorescent lighting instead of regular light
bulb lighting, our main objective here is to save on lighting (replacement
cost, electricity consumption, as well as time between replacements) I've
heard fluorescent lights take a very long time to burn out and are rather
cheap, would it be better to use fluorescent lighting instead of the
110 sounds awfully high for T12. T12's tend to be a little less
efficient than the modern 17 and 32 watt T8's. Also, the ballasts for
modern 17 and 32 watt T8's tend to be higher efficiency electronic
ballasts that also make the bulbs operate slightly more efficiently (at
least in part by using high frequency to stop the "oscillatory anode
- Don Klipstein ( email@example.com)
Old school T12 systems do about 60 lpw. New T12 ballasts with decent 70cri
lamps will do 72 lpw. The typical, basic T8 system going in today do about
84 - 90 lpw. A high end T8 system with the best ballasts and the best lamps
can do 100 lpw.
When I figure in the long term increased maintaince costs with a cheap T8
system, the money you save isn't that great compaired to a good T12 system
doing 72 lpw. Sadly, this is a very common occurance. Many, Many store
owners are still thinking of low initial cost. That EPAct law didn't
change a thing. The key is quality, always buy quality.
Well.... if you want the new home's interior to look like a cross between a
bomb shelter and office...
Keep in mind that fluorescent's have a different spectra. Either get colored
bulbs, fixtures, or take it into consideration when selecting interior
Or bulbs of these color types:
/D835, /835, or /SPX35
/D830, /830, or /SPX30
Designer 3000 or 3500
Ultralume 3000 or 3500
These have a color rendering index of 82-86 and their minor color
distortions are mostly in the direction of making colors more vivid than
they appear under light with a CRI of 100.
These are also as bright/efficient as fluorescents of lower color
Fluorescents with color rendering index 90 or higher have compromised
light output, and - like many with color rendering index below 80,
although more mildly - have their color distortions mostly in the
direction of making colors less vivid.
(For comparison: Traditional "cool white" has a CRI of 62, and the
"warm white" of similar technology has a CRI of 53!)
I recommend the "T8" (1 inch diameter) 17 watt and 32 watt types.
Those, and especially the ballasts for them, tend to be more efficient
than the longer-established sizes. If you get T12 (1.5 inch diameter), be
sure you are getting "commercial grade" ballasts, and it is recommended to
get the fixtures from an electrical/lighting supply shop of the kind that
contractors go to.
Back to 30 and 35 colors: 30 is 3000 Kelvin, and fluorescent lamps with
this rating are supposed to have a color like that of incandescent, but
tend to be slightly more pink and less yellow. 35 is 3500 Kelvin, a
whiter color but still a "warm white" shade. 41 is "cool white" and 50 is
an icy cold pure white, sometimes looking slightly bluish. 65 is bluish.
Of these, my favorite is 3500 K.
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.misty.com/~don/index.html )
That could not be said any better. There's a lot of cheap garbage out there,
as I found out with Home-Cheapo. I went to an electrical supply house and
oerdered some 2x17 watt troffer fixtures for my newly finished basement. I
made sure I got commercial grade ballasts, and something that was more than
the basic model. I sure payed some extra $$$ for them, but they are great.
I installed 3000k tubes, they look good. The ballasts don't seem to hammer
the tube electrodes, don't dim the tubes, and are not noisy as a lot of
garbage ballasts do. I chose the 17w because they don't look so huge in a
residential setting, ans espesially because of the fairly low ceiling.
Yes and no. Yes they do last longer and yes they use much less
electricity. The longer life is compromised somewhat if they are short
cycled. Used for short periods, like five minutes.
They come in a number of colors, some are pleasing some are not. It
depends on were they are located and the color of the light. Choice is
important. I find I like a mix of incandescent and fluorescent best for
light color. This is especially important in areas like vanities, kitchens
and dinning areas.
They also may not come on fully bright right away. They are getting
better, but this may be annoying in some areas. Some also have problems in
Fluorescent lights don't dim will, in general. So in areas where you
may want to use a dimmer, you should use incandescent or special dimmable
Over all I would suggest looking at each fixture to determine which
might be best. A hard to reach hall light that may be left on for hours at
a time, would be a good candidate. The refrigerator light would not.
One last note. Today good replacements are available for replacing
standard light bulbs. You may be able to use standard fixtures yet try out
fluorescent lights to see if you like them or go back to the incandescent
lamps if you don't.
At USA average electricity cost of 10 cents per KWH, and assuming 45
watts of power consumption (including ballast losses) for a 4-footer, and
assuming you get only 6,000 hours life (they are rated much more, although
at 3 hours of runtime per start), over that 6,000 hours you save $33 in
electricity over a 100 watt incandescent. A 4-footer in a decent fixture
produces more light than a 100 watt incandescent. With 32 watt T8 bulbs
and electronic ballasts, power consumption per 4-foot bulb is more like 35
watts, maybe a little less.
$2-$3 to buy a fluorescent bulb and another dollar to get rid of it is
not so bad after all...
- Don Klipstein ( email@example.com)
Or, buy reduced mecury lamps. They are free to thow away. I see a problem
with reduced mercury lamps, though. Regular lamps have to be recycled. That
means no mercury is released, right? Now throw away a bunch of reduced
mercury lamps, that means mercury is released, right?
For example let's say it's time for the local Walmart (or whatever) to
relamp their dead ones. Cirtainly they're not going to buy reqular lamps
because they cost too much to dispose of. They are going to buy reduced
mercury lamps so they can throw them away for free. That's what I see in
many newer installations. "Green" lamps, reduced mercury.
This is coupled with the fact that typical installations have a ever
increasing total number of lamps than yesteryear. I don't think reduced
mercury lamps and free disposal are the answer. It doesn't appear to me that
the release of mercury is being reduced. So each lamp has less mercury, but
throw away twice as many... doesn't make sense.
On Sun, 13 Jun 2004 07:23:58 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (JM)
The amount of mercury in "low mercury" lamps has been reduced by a
factor of 10 or more, depending upon the manufacturer, so the amount
of mercury from fluorescent lamps going into land fills has indeed
gone down. Also, remember that states are allowed to set their own
mercury disposal requirements, as long as they are at least as strict
as the Federal requirements. Some states require that all fluorescent
lamps be recycled. I suspect that more will follow, or the Federal
limit for disposal of mercury-contaminated objects as non-hazardous
waste will be lowered lamp technology improves.
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