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Light Bulbs 101

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Light Bulb Types

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Incandescent Lamp

Filament based, glass bulb, traditional lamp.

Advantages

  • Low purchase price
  • Very good color quality
  • Dimmable

Disadvantages

  • Fragile
  • Most energy use is converted to heat
  • Poor energy use profile
  • Regulations are making this product obsolete
  • Relatively short lifespan

Bottom Line

Old, fragile and high energy use technology.

Light Bulb Types

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Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFL)

Fluorescent-gas based lamps, typically with a pig-tail glass tube.

Advantages

  • More energy efficient and longer lifetime than incandescent bulbs
  • Rebates available

Disadvantages

  • Fragile
  • May contain small amounts of mercury
  • Some types are not dimmable
  • Older lamps have a blue hue
  • Output degrades over time

Bottom Line

A more energy efficient choice than incandescent bulbs, and pricing and quality have improved significantly since they first appeared on store shelves.

Light Bulb Types

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LED Integral Lamp

Semiconductor based lamps, typically heavy with large heat sinks.

Advantages

  • Very high energy efficiency
  • Product runs very cool
  • Longest lifetime (compared to incandescent and CFL)
  • Most are dimmable
  • Color temperature and color quality are good
  • Lacks UV output (protects artwork and clothing)

Disadvantages

  • Expensive as it is a new technology

Bottom Line

Replacement benefit in many applications in the home, significant energy savings available.

Glossary

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Wattage

Measures energy required to light the product. The lower the number, the less energy is used.

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Lumens

Measures Light Output. The higher the number, the more light is emitted. Ex : 800 lumens > 100 lumens.

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About the UL Mark

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The UL Mark can be found on billions of products to signify that they have been tested and certified and that they meet UL requirements. Products are also periodically checked by UL at the manufacturing facility to determine that they continue to meet requirements. The only way to determine if a product has been certified by UL is to find this Mark on the product itself, or in a few cases, on the packaging.

Although we refer to it as the UL Mark, there are actually a variety of UL Marks, each with its own specific meaning. We certify products according to appropriate standards for different industries and different Marks make it possible to communicate that information clearly to the most importance audiences.