Thursday, January 5, 2012

Seeing The Lights

Light, we all need it to see, unless you’re a bat. Everyday lighting for well over the past 100 years (Edison invented the light bulb in 1878) we have relied on the incandescent light bulb. The light bulb is so ingrained in our culture when someone has an idea they say, the light bulb went on. The thing is the ol’ light bulb has gone on in the lighting industry, but it seems few people have seen the light.

Beginning in 2012 the antiquated and reliable Edison incandescent light bulb will begin to fade out. Riding off into the sunset, retiring.

In 2007 Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). Then President Bush signed it into law on December 19th of that same year. The new law contains provisions for phasing in more efficient incandescent lamps.

The main reason the regular 100 Watt light bulb can no longer be manufactured and sold is quite simply it is too inefficient by the new standards. I think the most confusing thing with regards to lighting, is how it is rated.

Watts has always been the measure by which consumers purchase lighting. Watts is a measure of power. It does not measure the light produced. For light the measure is Lumens. A 100 Watt light bulb uses 100 watts of power to produce 1600 lumens of light. A compact fluorescent bulb that produces 1600 lumens uses 24 Watts, less than one quarter the power to produce the same amount of light. Presently there are no LED lights available that produce 1600 lumens, but a comparable “60 Watt” LED bulb uses about 10 Watts.

The EISA requirements are to be phased in over two years, beginning on January 1, 2012. For the same lumen output, the minimum requirements represent a reduction of 25% over the incandescent technology in use in 2007.

On January 1, 2012 the maximum wattage used to produce 1490-2600 Lumens can not exceed 72 Watts. There is also a requirement for a minimum lifetime rating of 1000 hours included in the regulation. EISA does not effect smaller light bulbs (75 Watts and under) until 2013 & 2014 (see chart).

Change, especially when forced is hard. The fact is the lighting that will be available after January 1st produces exactly the same amount of light as the incandescent Edison bulb, but uses much less energy.

Sometimes the light we see illuminates the path to a better way.


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Betsey said...

Great breakdown of lighting. Thanks for posting.

john Pailse said...

Informative Article. In India its good topic for discussion.

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