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Michael John Smith


Rachel Aydt


We’re all for saving electricity, but there are ways to do this without switching to dreaded fluorescent lights. Read what one expert lighting designer has to say in defense of incandescent bulbs.
In Defense Of Incandescent Lighting:
A Lighting Designer Says There Is
Little Without Them
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By: Michael John Smith



Electricity rates are soaring, and the compact fluorescent bulb is being hailed as the savior of energy and our environment. We must replace our light bulbs, we are told. The incandescent lamp is the boogeyman! No one mentions the resulting reduction of lighting quality and comfort level we experience.

I am here to defend the much-maligned incandescent light. As a lighting designer, I prefer that the emphasis be on producing more renewable, non-polluting energy rather than eliminating the incandescent lamp.

The vibration of fluorescent lighting is unsettling and the color, drab. The tri-phosphor fluorescent lamp brings out the red and blue in complexion tones, making us look somewhat purple. Incandescent brings out a smoother band of the color spectrum like a candle flame. It's much more flattering to people and objects.

Incandescent light can be easily dimmed. Some Light Emitting Diodes (LED) can be dimmed. However, only incandescent currently can provide the dramatic lighting effect of full dimming capability.

General Electric recently announced major strides toward a new incandescent technology that will give more lumens per watt, cutting down on energy usage. Halogen light sources produce more lumens per watt than standard incandescent sources. Halogen infrared reflector sources are even more efficient. They are available in Par-38 and MR-16 lamps.

The best, and easiest, thing we can do to save energy is to turn lights off when we're not using them. Install and use dimming equipment. It too saves energy and extends incandescent lamp life.

For the long term, we need to encourage decentralized production of electricity via photovoltaic solar panels and wind turbines at the point of use, whether an individual residence, or commercial building or a group of structures, such as a townhouse community, or an office park. Battery technology has improved greatly in recent years, helping to make this a viable alternative.

If there's a power outage due to a natural disaster such as a hurricane or a manmade situation, having a solar array on the roof with enough battery storage to run some lights and a television would make a big difference.

There is a constant tightening of the allowed watts per foot for lighting in commercial buildings. This is becoming an issue in residential lighting design in California, as well. Building codes could be written to require a structure to produce a defined percentage of the energy needed for its operation. Curtain walls utilizing photovoltaic cells in spandrel glass are now in operation as well as solar arrays applied as shingles in residential construction.

Tell me if you disagree! What are your energy saving ideas that don't sacrifice ambient lighting? We'd like to know.


By Harpreet Singh

I LOVR incandescent lighting, I HATE flourescents and I am dreading the day we all have to use those horrid curly things, which are useless. I have aging eyes, and I just can't see with those new bulbs, they're much dimmer than incandescents, they are a hazardous waste material and I am sooo sorry, but they do NOT outlast good ole light bulbs. Not to mention....dimming!! the world's greatest invention (of Fortuny's did you know that? Pleats and dimmers, who knew?) Thanks, I really needed
By Linda Hollander

I, too, am not a fan of flourescents. I still am plagued by the ballast not working properly in my vintage 1970s fluorescent tube fixtures in my kitchen ( bye-bye in 2011 when we tear it all out). I just installed "warm" LED lights in my bathroom for general lighting and they're fine for making my way but they are still blue-ish. Fluorescents are not the save-all be-all environmentally-friendly bulb they're touted to be. They give off EMF (electro-magnetic fields) and they still contain mercury.
By Jennifer in So Cal

I agree with you 100%. I love incandescent lighting. I hate fluorescents. They contain mercury, they flicker a lot, they give off a gas that bothers my eyes when I am in a room with them for any length of time and they don't necessarily last a long time. I've had 3 bulbs burn out in less than a year. Years ago, they used to make long-lasting incandescent bulbs which were slightly more expensive but lasted on average 5 years. Show me a fluorescent that lasts that long. I even had some last
By B. Munro

Richard Andrewski has made the DVD entitled Cool Lights: DIY Fluorescent Video Lighting Vol. 1. He also makes vnrieoss of his lights for use on video and film production. Movie lights are a specialty item made specifically for the motion picture industry and thus are typically pricy. So, to invent a series of lights that are useful and not expensive is very helpful indeed. With the Apple iPod video and video on Apple iTunes, and with iChat AV videoconferencing now built right in to the new App
By Fujjii

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