Posts Tagged ‘LED’

ImageWith the holiday season comes more than colder weather — there are the parties, the baking, the fixing of family dinners, and, in some cases, the stringing of holiday lights. It’s also a time of year when home energy use can spike, leading to a very large January electricity bill.

This year, do what you can to conserve energy through the holidays and the New Year. Try following these simple tips.

If you string lights outside of your home, try LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lighting. LED lights use 86% less electricity than comparable incandescent lights and have numerous safety advantages. For example, LED lights are shatterproof, present no fire hazard, and, because they emit almost no heat, are safe to the touch.

Reduce Your Home Thermostat
When you home is filled with people, or the ovens are working overtime, or both, the temperature can rise by several degrees. Rather than opening a window or leaving a door ajar, consider lowering your home’s thermostat, or turning off the heat altogether. Each degree “colder” that you set you set your thermostat decreases your home’s energy usage up to 3 percent.

Plan Your Meal
Holiday meals are often prepared in advance of dinner and then reheated or warmed to be ready for company. This leads to running the oven, microwave or stove-top multiple times for each served dish. When possible, prepare foods at the same time and warm in the oven at the same time. In running your appliances less, you will save on energy costs.

Use Your Dishwasher At Capacity
Some dishes require hand-washing. For everything else, use a dishwasher. Dishwashers use less water than is required to wash and rinse plates, utensils and pots and pans by hand. They can also use up to 50% less energy than is required to heat the water you’ll need to wash your dishes manually.

The holiday season can be full of excesses. Don’t let your energy bill be one of them.


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Choosing the Right Light

ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs and Colour

CFLs are available in a wide variety of shades of white light, ranging from yellowish to white to bluish white light, which allows you to customize the mood of your space. Many CFLs come in “warm” colours to match the yellowish light of incandescent bulbs, but you can also choose “cooler” colours with whiter or bluer light.

Choosing the Right Colour:

  • Light colour is measured on a temperature scale referred to as Kelvin (K).
  • Lower Kelvin numbers mean the light appears more yellow; higher Kelvin numbers mean the light is whiter or bluer.
  • Most ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs are made to match the colour of incandescent bulbs at 2700-3000K and work well in most residential settings and enhances warmer colours (red, yellow,  orange) found in your home.
  • For a whiter light, look for bulbs marked 3500-4100K.
  • For bluer white light, look for bulbs marked 5000-6500K.
  • These colours will enhance cooler colours (blue, green, violet) in your home.

CFL Sizes and Shapes

CFLs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The majority of CFLs are designed to look identical to the incandescent light bulb version. The table below identifies the most popular CFL shapes that are available at retail:

Bare Products

Covered Products*

Reflector Products

Mini-Spiral or Twist

Tube or Universal

Incandescent/ A-line

Globe G25, G30, G40

Candelabra, Post or Bullet Shape

Indoor and Outdoor
R20, R30, R40, PAR38







Where to Use CFLs Around Your Home

The following chart provides guidance on how to choose the best CFL for a specific fixture. You can either look for the fixture you want to use a CFL in, or pick your favourite CFL and see where the best fixtures to use it in. In many cases, a certain CFL type can be used in multiple fixtures. For example, today’s bare spiral CFL is small enough to use in table lamps, wall sconces, ceiling-mounted fixtures, ceiling fans, etc.

*Covered bulbs have a traditional lamp shape with either a spiral or tube lamp inside

For more information see Natural Resources Canada

Shapes and Sizes

The ENERGY STAR CFL search can help you find a specific bulb to meet your needs or see if a particular model is qualified.


  • Only bulbs marked “dimmable” will work on dimmer switches.
  • Only bulbs marked “three-way” will work on three-way sockets.
  • Most photocells, motion sensors, and electronic timers are not designed to work with CFLs. Check with the photocell or timer manufacturer and the CFL packaging for compatibility.

Shapes and Sizes


If these spiral-shaped bulbs look familiar it’s because they’re the most popular type of CFL. Spiral CFLs create the same amount of light as traditional incandescent bulbs, but use less energy. ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs use up to 75% less electricity and lasts up to 10 times longer.


A-shaped bulbs combine the efficiency of the spiral bulbs, with the look and feel of the traditional incandescent bulbs. These products are great for consumers who don’t like the look of the spiral bulbs but still want efficient lighting.


Globe-shaped bulbs are ideal for bathroom vanity bars and ceiling pendants. Like other covered CFLs, globes need a little time to “warm up” and reach full brightness. But be patient — ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs use up to 75% less electricity and lasts up to 10 times longer. They generate just as much light as traditional bulbs, while using less energy.


Some of the first ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs were tube shaped. Basically straight versions of the spiral bulbs, tubed bulbs work well in lamps that have slender covers such as wall sconces.


These products are ideal for use in decorative fixtures where you can see the light bulb. The sleek shape also allows you to use them in tight fitting light fixtures where a covered globe won’t fit.


Covered post bulbs are great for outdoor fixtures; manufacturers design these bulbs to hold up to outdoor conditions. There are also yellow “bug light” covered posts, designed to keep away insects. Check compatibility with timers and photocells.

Indoor Reflectors

Reflector bulbs are perfect for providing directional light – think of recessed ceiling lights in kitchens or ceiling fans. Indoor reflector bulbs are much smaller then those that are designed for outdoor use. Some are small enough to fit in ceiling fan lights, and some can be used with a dimmer – the packaging will tell you.

Outdoor Reflectors

For use outside, reflector bulbs are sealed to withstand the rain and snow. Because of this, they’re usually much larger then the reflectors designed for use inside. Don’t use the outdoor reflectors with timers, photocells, and motion sensors because you could shorten the life of the bulbs.

How do CFLs Work?

CFLs produce light differently than incandescent bulbs. In an incandescent, electric current runs through a wirefilament and heats the filament until it starts to glow. In a CFL, an electric current is driven through a tube containing argon and a small amount of mercury vapor. This generates invisible ultraviolet light that excites a fluorescent coating (called phosphor) on the inside of the tube, which then emits visible light.

CFLs need a little more energy when they are first turned on, but once the electricity starts moving, use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. A CFL’s ballast helps “kick start” the CFL and then regulates the current once the electricity starts flowing.

Older CFLs used large and heavy magnetic ballasts that caused a buzzing noise in some bulbs. Most CFLs today — and all ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs — use electronic ballasts, which do not buzz or hum.

Do the Twist.
Screw in your CFL by holding the ballast (the white plastic part), NOT the glass tubing.

Don’t Flip too Fast.
You’ll maximize the lifetime savings and effectiveness of your CFLs by keeping them on for 15 minutes or more at a time.

Choose 3 for 3.
Only use bulbs labeled as three-way on three-way sockets.

Don’t Dim a Non-Dimmable.
Only use bulbs labeled as dimmable on dimmer switches.

Check your Controls.
Most photocells and electric timers are not designed to work with CFLs. Always check with the manufacturer of the control for compatibility and the lamp packaging to make sure the lamp is suited for this application.

Give them Air.
CFLs are sensitive to extreme temperatures, so place your CFLs in open fixtures indoors. Using them in enclosed fixtures indoors can create a hot environment that reduces the lifetime of your bulbs. Note that covered reflectors are best used in recessed cans.

Protect them Outside.
Protect bulbs from the elements by placing them inside enclosed fixtures outdoors. For colder climates, look at the packaging for optimal operating temperatures.
Always follow manufactueres directions.


A mixture that puts mercury in a solid form.


An inert gas used in CFLs to regulate the environment inside the glass tubing so that the mercury vapor can absorb the electrical currents.


End of the light bulb that inserts into the lamp socket.


A collection of electronic parts that regulates the electric current through a fluorescent lamp.

Ballast housing

The casing that covers the ballast, usually made from plastic fire-retardant material.

Candelabra Base

A small screw base typically used in small or decorative fixtures such as nightlights and chandeliers.

Correlated Colour Temperature (CCT)

A description of the “colour” of a light source measured by the Kelvin (K) temperature scale.

Colour Rendering Index (CRI)

Ability of the CFL to show colours compared to an incandescent. The ENERGY STAR criteria require a CRI of at least 80 for qualified CFLs. Incandescent light bulbs have a CRI of 100; commercial linear fluorescent tubes typically have a CRI around 75.


A plastic or glass material placed over top of a bare CFL to mimic the style and shape of incandescent light bulbs. Covered CFLs may take longer to reach full brightness.


A description of the efficiency of a light source, as measured in light produced (lumens) per unit of power consumed (watts). ENERGY STAR efficacy requirements vary with the style of CFL (bare spiral, covered reflector, etc.) and wattage, but are generally 3-4 times higher than comparable incandescent light bulbs.

End-of-Life Protection

Circuitry used in the ballast of a CFL that stops the flow of electricity when a CFL fails, eliminating any potential safety hazard.


The wire inside an incandescent light bulb that produces light.


A complete lighting unit consisting of a lamp or lamps and the parts designed to distribute the light, position and protect the lamp(s), and connect the lamp(s) to the power supply.

Heat/Light Output Ratio

CFLs use power more efficiently than incandescent lamps, and therefore require less energy to create the same amount of light. About 90 percent of the power used by an incandescent bulb is wasted as heat, while only about 10 percent is converted to light in the visible spectrum. By more efficiently using the power they consume, CFLs are able to provide the same amount of light, while producing much less heat. ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs use up to 75% less electricity and lasts up to 10 times longer

Kelvin (K)

In lighting, the Kelvin scale is used to describe the colour of light.


In the lighting industry, “lamp” is the term for a light source. Technically, incandescent light bulbs and CFLs are both considered “lamps,” and table and desk lamps are referred to as fixtures.


Measure of light.


Mercury is an essential element used to create light in a fluorescent bulb. Mercury can come as vapor or in a solid amalgam form. ENERGY STAR criteria limits the amount of mercury that can be used in qualified CFLs. Many manufacturers have reduced mercury content even further — some to as low as 1 mg per bulb. 

For more information see Natural Resources Canada  


A powder-like mixture of elements that convert UV rays into visible light. When the UV rays hit the phosphor, they fluoresce, or glow. The phosphor mix determines the colour of the light.


A light-sensing device used to control fixtures and dimmers in response to detected light levels.

Rated life

A light bulb’s estimated lifetime measured in hours. For all light bulbs, lifetime is determined by operating a sample of bulbs according to industry test standards. The time that half of the test sample fails is considered rated life. By definition, some lamps will fail before their rated life and some will operate beyond their rated life. The ENERGY STAR CFL criteria require additional testing to show that the sample can withstand a number of short start cycles and monitors early failures throughout testing.

Special features

Most CFLs are designed to operate on an on/off switch. However, some CFLs have been designed with features to perform in specialized applications, such as on dimmers or three-way fixtures. This should be clearly marked on the box of any CFL designed for that application.

Ultraviolet (UV) light

Light waves on the electromagnetic spectrum that are similar to the light from the sun.

Visible light

The light waves on the electromagnetic spectrum that can be seen with the human eye.


Measure of power, or energy consumed per unit of time.


Decorative Lighting

  • Light emitting diodes (LED) lights use up to 90% less electricity and last 10 times longer than incandescent lights.
  • Use ENERGY STAR qualified seasonal light-emitting diodes (SLEDS) light strings.
  • Solar-powered seasonal (SLEDS) use improved solar technology and require only a little sunlight to recharge, even recharging on cloudy days.

Exterior Lighting

  • The outdoor porch lamp is one of the most used light fixtures in any home, making it the perfect place to install highly efficient ENERGY STAR qualified lighting products. Many compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) will fit easily into existing porch lights. Be sure to use bulbs approved for use outdoors.
  • ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs are bright and warm but use about 75% less electricity than incandescents and last up to 10 times longer.
  • Whether welcoming visitors, searching for your keys or ensuring safety, motion sensors are an electricity-saving option for lighting your way, because they only operate when they detect movement.
  • Consider photocell timers, which react to sunlight.

General Lighting Tips :

  • Replace your high-use incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). They use up to 75 % less electricity and last up to 10 times longer.
  • ENERGY STAR quality light fixtures use only 1/4 the electricity of standard fixtures and distribute light more efficiently and evenly.
  • Whenever you leave a room, get into the habit of turning off the lights.
  • Disposal of CFLs: CFLs contain small amounts of mercury. We encourage you to dispose of your used bulbs in an environmentally friendly way. Please contact your local municipality for proper disposal.
  • Motion sensors are ideal for rooms where you may forget to turn off the lights.
  • Use area or task lighting instead of full, overhead lights. For task lighting consider light emitting diodes (LEDs). They provide focused lighting, making them a great choice for tasks such as reading lights, desk lamps, night lights, spotlights, security lights, signage lighting etc. and are energy efficient and long-lasting.


  • Maximize the amount of natural daylight.
  • For those lights that are on all night, use the lowest wattage bulbs possible.
  • Make a point of keeping your light fixtures clean for maximum light.
  • Install dimmer switches and use dimmable CFLs. Check the packaging for compatibility.
  • Install programmable timers or motion sensors on interior and exterior lights.
  • Remember the Canadian government has pledged to phase out inefficient incandescent bulbs by 2014.

Thanks to https://saveonenergy.ca for the information. 

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