These days, a browse through Alcon Lighting’s website (alconlighting.com) or even the lighting aisle at Home Depot is likely to leave you baffled. Here are the terms you need to know.
Lightbulb Comparison

LUMENS
The amount of light a bulb produces. Depending on which government agency you ask, this is “brightness” or “light output.” Your reference point: A standard 100-watt incandescent produces about 1,700 lumens.

WATTS
Not a measure of brightness; instead, it’s a measure of how much energy a bulb consumes to reach its claimed brightness.
Fact: We’ve already said goodbye to 75- and 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, and starting January 1, 2014, we’ll also be saying goodbye to 40- and 60-watt bulbs as well. This is due to the Energy Independence and Security Act.

WATT EQUIVALENT
Since we’ve conflated watts and brightness, it’s easier to talk about bulbs in terms of watts. So if a 100-watt incandescent produces 1,700 lumens, and a 20-watt LED does the same, the LED will be sold as a 100-watt equivalent.

EFFICANCY
The number of lumens a bulb produces for each watt it consumes. The higher the number, the more efficient the bulb. A good number for incandescents is around 18, CFLs around 60, and LEDs around 54.

BULB LIFE
Turning a bulb on and off, on and off, reduces the Average Rated Life (ARL). Incandescent, halogen, and LED bulbs are less affected by on/off cycles than Fluorescent, Compact Fluorescent (CFL), and HID bulbs. In general, the ARL for a bulb that turns on and off once a day will be much longer than a bulb that turns on and off many times a day.
LEDs dim over time. They’re considered effectively dead when they produce no more than 70 percent of their original brightness. For LEDs, this lifespan is given in hours of years, the latter an estimate based on three hours of daily use.
Typical Average Rated Life (ARL) for Types of Light Bulb
Incandescent 750-2,000 hours
Compact Fluorescent (CFL) 8,000-10,000 hours
LED 40,000-50,000 hours

ENERGY COST
Based on an assumption of three hours of use per day at 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. For a 60-watt incandescent, it’s just over $7 per year. CFLs and LEDs both come in at about $1.50 per year.

COLOR TEMPERATURE
BulbColorTempChart

LIGHT BULB TYPES
Three of the most common types of light bulbs are energy-saving Incandescent, CFL and LED.

INCANDESCENT BULBS: 25% ENERGY SAVING

Incandescent bulbs use a filament that’s heated to the point of glowing. The glowing filament produces the bulb’s light.
• Incandescent bulbs last on average 1 year.
• Incandescent bulbs do not contain mercury.
• Can be used with a dimmer switch.

CFLS: ABOUT 75% ENERGY SAVING

CFLs are quiet, instant-on and have warmer, color-corrected tones. They can be used anywhere you would use a typical incandescent light bulb.
• Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) last up to 9 year.
• CFLs contain small amount of mercury.
• Available in medium bases to fit standard light sockets, such as table lamps.

LED: ABOUT 80% ENERGY SAVING

LEDs are a type of solid-state lighting — semiconductors that convert electricity into light. They have lower wattage than incandescent bulbs, but emit the same light output. This allows them to produce the same amount of light, but use less energy. As with the CFL, Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs are the most energy-efficient light bulb options.
• LEDs are more expensive that the last two options but last up to 20+ year.
• LEDs do not contain mercury.

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