Lighting is an essential part of any office no matter what business you’re in. Even during the summer you can expect them to be turned on to ensure everybody can see their work and communicate with each other efficiently. This becomes even more important during winter, when it starts to get dark around 3pm. Within the UK, for businesses it can be crucial to be environmentally conscious. Customers often seek out businesses which operate responsibly, something that can work as a unique selling point. Improving efficiency is only a simple process, with small changes making a large impact. In this blog we will be examining three different bulb types, traditional, fluorescent and LED to see which are best.

Traditional (also known as incandescent)

Traditional light bulbs, more often known as incandescent, have been the most used as artificial light sources for well over 150 years. Known for their yellow glow, generations have taken full advantage of this once revolutionary technology. However, in recent times there has been a sudden downfall in sales of incandescent bulbs, and this is mostly down to the development of both LED and fluorescent light technology. This technology has remained virtually unchanged same since its release; as the saying goes, don’t fix it if it isn’t broken. Incandescent bulbs are composed of a metal fitting that is attached to an electric source. This is then attached to a piece of tungsten, that is then surrounded by an inert gas or vacuum. As electricity passes through the fitting and into the tungsten, the filament glows and is magnified by the surrounding glass. Advantages For smaller areas, incandescent fixtures are more than suitable. They’re also more likely to be compatible to work with dimmer switches. A major selling point is just how cheap these light bulbs are to produce, meaning they don’t cost much to purchase. Modern incandescent bulbs don’t have any toxic materials in them, such as mercury. Due to this it’s possible to handle them safely and dispose the bulb without the need for any special measures. Disadvantages One of the biggest problems with this type of bulb is their energy efficiency. Only 10% of energy produced is actually used to create light, with the rest being exerted as heat. In larger areas, incandescent lights don’t work well enough to be suitable, something that can be a problem for a number of homes that have big, spacious rooms. However, there’s now a new generation of lighting options that can be a beneficial upgrade from this type of bulb.

Fluorescent

One of the most popular light bulb types is fluorescent, and they are used in a number of different situations. They work by using low pressure mercury gas that utilises fluorescence to produce light. Electricity excites the mercury so the light it creates is ultraviolet. A number of businesses have invested in this sort of light due to how it can be used in tubes rather than a traditional bulb. This allows for large rooms to be lit up easily and efficiently, something that incandescent bulbs can struggle with. Advantages Although more expensive than other bulb types, the long term savings they have are impressive. To put this into context, an incandescent light bulb generally lasts anywhere between 800 to 1,500 hours, whereas fluorescent can last all the way up to 10,000 hours. Alongside long term use you can expect much lower heat than other light tops. This makes them much safer for use in hot countries and during particularly warm summers. The lifespan of a fluorescent bulb is one of their features that has garnered a lot of popularity. On average they can last up to 20 times longer than a traditional light bulb, something that can be a considerable contribution to energy savings and sustainability. Replacing bulbs on a regular basis can be a nuisance, making this a worthwhile investment. Due to fluorescents using less energy than traditional bulbs, there’s much less waste. However, you will still need to be environmentally cautious due to the small amount of mercury contained within the bulb. At the end of its lifespan, the bulb must be disposed of at a specialist facility. Disadvantages Although this type of light has an extensive lifespan, there’s a considerable disadvantage. If you turn it on and off on a regular basis, you can end up halving their lifetime. This will result in you spending more money for replacements and for this reason, it’s suggested that you only install them in rooms where they’ll be left on for over an hour at a time. When active, fluorescent light bulbs perform better at around room temperature. If they are suddenly met with a high or cold temperatures, their efficiency can be drastically reduced. In cold rooms they’ll struggle to turn on, or in some cases won’t function at all. Perhaps not a deal breaking fact, but an issue that can certainly cause a few problems, this type of light can easily begin to flicker. This can be incredibly distracting, especially in workspace environments. Another aspect that puts a number of people off fluorescent lights is how they look. As they are available in tube shapes, they aren’t as compact when compared to traditional bulbs.

LED

Although fluorescent lights have proven to be extremely popular, a new breed of lights have shown to be even better. LEDs are winning the attention of people all over England due to how they work and their positive benefits. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. Unlike the previous two light bulbs, this doesn’t have any filament or gas. Alternatively, it uses a material known as a semiconductor. This component is actually solid, helping it to have a durable nature. As electricity passed through it, electrons move around and release energy that appears to be light. Advantages Whilst more expensive to purchase than both traditional and fluorescent lights, the potential savings in the long term are impressive. LEDs can last all the way up to 60,000 hours, something that’s more efficient than both previous light methods put together. LEDs have a long lifespan, meaning bulb replacement isn’t required anywhere near as often. A number of people notice that fluorescent lights can often become noisy, especially after extensive use. They can pop and click, although perhaps the most annoying noise is a constant background buzzing. LEDs work without making any noise at all, making them perfect for workplace environments where concentration is important. Although in the majority of cases we use lights for conventional uses, they are also used for entertainment purposes in certain industries. LEDs are extremely adaptable, allowing them to produce a different colour with great ease. It’s safe to say that they can be used in most lighting situations or environments. As stated previously, there’s no mercury within an LED. This makes them the most environmentally friendly light type on this list. There’s no need to worry about toxicity or any hazardous materials as there aren’t any; making this type of lighting ideal for those in busy environments. There’s also no longer the problem of waiting around for a light to turn on, as soon as an LED interacts with electricity it will emit light. This eliminates the problem of flickering, and also easily illuminates a large sized room. Both traditional and fluorescent bulbs will struggle to do this, making LEDs the best choice. Disadvantages Although there aren’t that many disadvantages to go into detail about, there’s a few worth mentioning that should be taken into consideration. The performance of an LED mostly depends on if it’s been put together properly. Incorrect heat distribution can deteriorate an internal chip, causing the light to break. An LED light needs to be supplied with the correct voltage of electricity at a consistent rate. If not, it can result in a burn out, something that can affect the entire electrics of a property. As this type of light gets older, due to excessive temperature interaction, the colour can start to change. Another thing to consider is how two different LED lights of the same colour can have two completely different characteristics. This has an impact on how the light is recognised.

Which Bulb Is Best?

Of course, with LED being the latest in light technology it’s the most efficient for most properties, although the other options may be more suitable depending on your situation. Make sure that a particular bulb is able to be fitted inside a particular room before purchasing to ensure that you don’t waste money when investing in a greener light bulb solution. Which bulb are you planning on choosing for your business? Let us know on Twitter: @greendealshop

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