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Eco-conscious: Compact Fluorescents Answered

My friend Rawhide did a decent bit of research into the best type of compact fluorescent lightbulb, so I'm sharing is findings here. Do you have anything to add?

Rawhide on compact fluorescents:
In all my web searching I couldn't find a truly exhaustive comparison on lightbulb stats. Even Energyfederation.org, which was the most comprehensive, didn't list the CRI for all of its bulbs. What I did realize was that the "bright white" bulbs I bought from Home Depot were of the wrong color temperature to mix with incandescents and that is why they looked so cold. I also found a couple of people who really liked N:Vision, the Home Depot brand.

So I decided to give Home Depot another shot and exchanged the bright whites for soft whites. Curiously, when I went back the CF bulbs had a big display that wasn't there the week before with the bulbs I wanted in $9 4-packs, which was much cheaper than the individual bulbs.

I replaced all the bulbs in our living room and dining room and I (and the nameless other) find the light quality to be quite good---it wasn't possible to distinguish the CF from the incandecent bulbs once they warmed up. If you look at the light in the room as a whole, there is the slightest bit of 'vibration', but it's really not noticable unless you're looking for it.

Net savings: 600W->140W to light the two rooms. Awesome.

Finally, as a coda to my quest for compact flourescents, I learned that Massachusetts is offering a $2 rebate per package for Energy Star lights and that Home Depot also sells 6-packs for $10. So, you can get 60w replacement bulbs for $1.30 rather than $4 or $5 you sometimes see. http://www.myenergystar.com/rebates.aspx Retailers need to supply the coupons, which are instant rebates at the register. There are also bigger rebates, like $75 off a dryer and $20 off a torchiere light fixture.


fungus amungus

12 years ago

In California, PG&E is providing instant rebates. At my local hardware store I can pick up bulbs for 50 cents each.


12 years ago

Wow what timing, I just switched over to CF in my apartment :P Unfourtunatly, I couldn't find anything above 3000K (sunlight being around 5500K). So to me, everything is a little off to me.

I ended up going back to IC's in my dining room for food porn (my food photography setup is a mini version of yours :P).

My savings: 420 --> 65W But I removed two bulbs from my bathroom - do I really need 180 watts in there? That's for 2.5 rooms.

I got 6 60W equivalent bulbs for $10 (draw is 13W ea.) I have a Kill-A-Watt, so as soon as I'm done experimenting on my cell phone charger (.06kWH after 136 hours), I'll see what the actual draw is :)

If the vibration comes from the fact that the voltage is 0 two times per cycle (120 times per second); I wonder how the ballast can compensate for that....

Nice work :)


12 years ago

In my exp, it appears only the cheapest CFL's still have the vibration problem. If you pay the extra couple of bucks per pack, you should never see this. Most of the better ones warm up almost immediately as well.