„Eco-friendly” or so called „green” lifestyle is something we hear about nearly every day. Eco-friendly food, eco-friendly houses, eco-friendly technologies and so on, and so on. Basically there is no aspect of our common lives left that could not be made eco-friendly but how much of our choices actually ARE eco-friendly and how do they manage to go beyond just buying products with the green label? One of the aspects that every eco-friendly individual should start with is the consumption of electricity. The production of electricity and our insatiable demand for electric power has created plenty of ecological and environmental problems mainly because increased production of electricity not only exhausts our non-renewable resources but also leaves great and increasing carbon foot-print. So one thing is clear – we need to cut our electric consumption at least not to worsen the whole situation.
One thing many people do is to blame big manufacturers and industries that, indeed, require incredibly vast consumption on electricity but on the other hand you can start with yourself and follow your own personal carbon footprint. Look around your house. Are you really using energy-efficient solutions? Is your electricity bill really as low as it could be? If you are giving negative answers to all these questions or cannot even answer them, this article will be a great guide for you to help out decide on at least one small nevertheless important aspect of your home – lighting. In this article you will find a list of bulbs that can be considered eco-friendly. It does seem like a tiny step to start with but actually you will be surprised to find out what positive impact it can leave towards reducing energy consumption.
Things to consider before buying eco-friendly light bulbs
Prior introducing the list of types of bulbs which are considered to be eco-friendly, it is a good idea to present some of the criteria based on which lights can be assessed as eco-friendly. Although you can surely base your choice purely on the energy efficiency there are at least two other factors that you should consider:
- Material and disposability. Each type of bulb contains some sort of chemicals and of course if not disposed properly they can do harm both to humans and to the nature. When thinking about how eco-friendly your bulb is, think also about the possibilities to recycle it. Plus when opting for any eco-friendly bulb think also about in what type of fixture you are going to use it. Your bulb might be eco-friendly but your lamp can be anything but made in a green manner.
- Usage of the bulbs. Are you using outdoor solar flood lights? Then think about whether you are using them in a proper manner. Even though you might be using eco-friendly bulbs, it does not mean that the energy consumption could not be decreased even more. Maybe it is a great idea to add dusk-to-dawn sensor so that you do not have your flood light running all night through. And how about lights run by solar energy?
If we look at the energy savings from the perspective of the USA, a country which is responsible for one of the highest consumption of electricity in the world, a 60 percent to 70 percent decrease in light energy usage would help them to save each year as much energy as the total amount of energy used by all the homes in Texas together. In fact, the USA is about to completely stop consumption of incandescent light bulbs and whether people opt for LEDs or CFLs, the vision of estimated energy that will be saved seems more real than just an utopic illusion.
Types of light bulbs that are considered eco-friendly
- LED bulbs. Currently this has been acknowledged as the most eco-friendly of all the options you will find in the market and there are numerous reasons for this. First of all, compared to any other type of lights, be it Halogen or CFL, LEDs use the least amount of energy. LED lamps consume only 2-17 watts of electricity and that is 25%-80% less energy than in the case of standard lighting systems. Also, LED lamps are known as very long-lasting, providing even up to 50000 hours and more of work time. It is a proven fact that LED lights last longer than any other, competing source of lighting and hence they do not require frequent replacements. Consequentially, this leads to reduced impact on other product-related aspects such as manufacturing, packaging and shipping.
- Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). There have been many disputes on whether CFLs are environmentally-friendly product or not. From one hand, similarly as LED bulbs, CFL is one of the greatest solutions once it comes to cutting down energy consumption related with lighting, since CFL bulbs consume about 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs. On the other hand, there are many opponents out there who emphasise the fact that CFLs contain mercury – a chemical which is known to be very hazardous both to human health and nature. No one is denying this but now that the consumption of CFL bulbs has increased in past couple of decades, the possibilities to recycle mercury-containing bulbs have also raised and majority of governments and municipalities that pay attention to energy-saving issues, are doing a great job in facilitating the whole recycling process. As with any light bulb, CFL bulbs also have to be used properly as well as disposed correctly.
- Halogen bulbs. Third but not the least option you can go for if you are looking for environmentally-friendly bulbs, are halogen lamps. Although compared to LEDs and CFLs, halogen bulbs do not reach as high energy efficiency as the two former ones, they still are a very good option compared to traditional lamps. Moreover, halogen bulbs have been constantly developed and their technology is being re-shaped. For instance, newest generation halogen bulbs have a special infrared coating that redirects infrared light back towards the tungsten filament thus significantly reducing waste of heat and enhancing the efficiency by up to 30 percent compared to „old-school” incandescent bulbs. While it is still not as efficient as CFLs, its content is a lot more environmentally-friendly and it is a good option if you do not feel so secure to run mercury-filled light in your home.