Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)

Compact fluorescent lamps are single-ended, small diameter tube (compacted)  that screw into your standard socket. Some CFL's have internal ballasts and medium or candelabra screw bases for easy replacement of incandescent lamps.

CFLs use significantly less energy than traditional light bulbs (75% less).

How do CFLs work?

CFLs produce light differently than incandescent bulbs. In an incandescent, electric current runs through a wire filament and heats the filament until it starts to glow. In a CFL, an electric current is driven through a tube containing argon and a small amount of mercury vapor. This generates invisible ultraviolet light that excites a fluorescent coating (called phosphor) on the inside of the tube, which then emits visible light.

CFLs need a little more energy when they are first turned on, but once the electricity starts moving, use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. A CFL’s ballast helps "kick start" the CFL and then regulates the current once the electricity starts flowing.

Older CFLs used large and heavy magnetic ballasts that caused a buzzing noise in some bulbs. Most CFLs today — and all ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs — use electronic ballasts, which do not buzz or hum.

How do CFLs work?
Energy Star; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency & U.S. Department of Energy

CFL Savings Facts and Figures

If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.

In 2007, Americans saved $1.5 billion by switching to ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs. The energy saved could light all the households of a city the size of Washington, DC for over 30 years. Put another way, changing these bulbs removes as much greenhouse gas pollution as planting 2.85 million acres of trees or taking 2 million cars off the road each year.

Energy Star; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency & U.S. Department of Energy 

Edison Screw

The Edison screw fitting is a system of light bulb connectors, developed by Thomas Edison in 1909 under the Mazda trademark. The designation Exx refers to the diameter in millimeters, e.g. E12 has a diameter of 12 mm.

In the United States, the standard size for general purpose lamps is E26. Other base sizes are used for small lamps, such as E12 for candelabra fixtures and E10 on some Christmas lights. E17 is also common, especially in some table lamps.

In countries which use 220–240 volts AC domestic power, E27 and E14 are the most common sizes, although the Bayonet mount is also used.

Larger sizes (E39, E40) are used for higher powered lighting, generally for lamps of over 250 watts.

Some adapters for wall outlets use an Edison screw.

Electrical Ballast

An electrical ballast (sometimes called control gear) is a device intended to limit the amount of current in an electric circuit.

Ballasts vary greatly in complexity. They can be as simple as a series resistor as commonly used with small neon lamps or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). For higher-power installations, too much energy would be wasted in a resistive ballast, so alternatives are used that depend upon the reactance of inductors, capacitors, or both. Finally, ballasts can be as complex as the computerized, remote-controlled electronic ballasts now often used with fluorescent lamps.

Energy Star

ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping the public save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

Visit the ENERGY STAR web site.
What can ENERGY STAR do for you?

For the Home

Energy efficient choices can save families about a third on their energy bill with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions, without sacrificing features, style or comfort. ENERGY STAR helps you make the energy efficient choice.

For Business

Because a strategic approach to energy management can produce twice the savings — for the bottom line and the environment — as typical approaches, EPA’s ENERGY STAR partnership offers a proven energy management strategy that helps in measuring current energy performance, setting goals, tracking savings, and rewarding improvements.

EPA provides an innovative energy performance rating system which businesses have already used for more than 80,000 buildings across the country. EPA also recognizes top performing buildings with the ENERGY STAR.

History of ENERGY STAR

In 1992 the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced ENERGY STAR as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Computers and monitors were the first labeled products. Through 1995, EPA expanded the label to additional office equipment products and residential heating and cooling equipment. In 1996, EPA partnered with the US Department of Energy for particular product categories. The ENERGY STAR label is now on major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics, and more. EPA has also extended the label to cover new homes and commercial and industrial buildings.

Through its partnerships with more than 15,000 private and public sector organizations, ENERGY STAR delivers the technical information and tools that organizations and consumers need to choose energy-efficient solutions and best management practices. ENERGY STAR has successfully delivered energy and cost savings across the country, saving businesses, organizations, and consumers about $19 billion in 2008 alone. Over the past decade, ENERGY STAR has been a driving force behind the more widespread use of such technological innovations as efficient fluorescent lighting, power management systems for office equipment, and low standby energy use.

Energy prices have become a hot news topic and a major concern for consumers. ENERGY STAR provides solutions. ENERGY STAR provides a trustworthy label on over 60 product categories (and thousands of models) for the home and office. These products deliver the same or better performance as comparable models while using less energy and saving money. ENERGY STAR also provides easy-to-use home and building assessment tools so that homeowners and building managers can start down the path to greater efficiency and cost savings.


A luminaire used to light a scene or object to a level much brighter than its surroundings. Usually floodlights can be aimed at the object or area of interest.

Fluorescent Lamp

A fluorescent lamp or fluorescent tube is a gas-discharge lamp that uses electricity to excite mercury vapor. The excited mercury atoms produce short-wave ultraviolet light that then causes a phosphor to fluoresce, producing visible light.

Unlike incandescent lamps, fluorescent lamps always require a ballast to regulate the flow of power through the lamp. However, a fluorescent lamp converts electrical power into useful light more efficiently than an incandescent lamp. Lower energy cost typically offsets the higher initial cost of the lamp. While larger fluorescent lamps have been mostly used in large commercial or institutional buildings, the compact fluorescent lamp is now being used as an energy-saving alternative to incandescent lamps in homes. Compared with incandescent lamps, fluorescent lamps use less power for the same amount of light, generally last longer, but are bulkier, more complex, and initially more expensive than a comparable incandescent lamp.

Incandescent Light Bulb

The incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe is a source of electric light that works by incandescence (a general term for heat-driven light emissions which includes the simple case of black body radiation). An electric current passes through a thin filament, heating it until it produces light. The enclosing glass bulb prevents the oxygen in air from reaching the hot filament, which otherwise would be destroyed rapidly by oxidation. Incandescent bulbs are also sometimes called electric lamps, a term also applied to the original arc lamps.

Incandescent bulbs are made in a wide range of sizes and voltages, from 1.5 volts to about 300 volts. They require no external regulating equipment and have a low manufacturing cost, and work well on either alternating current or direct current. As a result the incandescent lamp is widely used in household and commercial lighting, for portable lighting, such as table lamps, some car headlamps and electric flashlights, and for decorative and advertising lighting.

Some applications of the incandescent bulb make use of the heat generated, such as incubators, brooding boxes for poultry, heat lights for reptile tanks, infrared heating for industrial heating and drying processes, and the Easy-Bake Oven toy. In cold weather the heat shed by incandescent lamps contributes to building heating, but in hot climates lamp losses increase the energy used by air conditioning systems.

Incandescent light bulbs are gradually being replaced in many applications by other types of electric light such as (compact) fluorescent lamps, high-intensity discharge lamps, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and other devices. These newer technologies give more visible light for the same amount of electrical energy input, and often generate much less heat. Some jurisdictions, such as the European Union are in the process of phasing-out the use of incandescent light bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient lighting.

Integrated CFLs

Integrated lamps combine a tube, an electronic ballast and either an Edison screw or bayonet fitting in a single CFL unit. These lamps allow consumers to replace incandescent lamps easily with CFLs. Integrated CFLs work well in standard incandescent light fixtures. This lowers the cost of CFL use, since they can reuse the existing infrastructure. In addition, incandescent light fixtures are relatively inexpensive.

LED lamp (Light Emitting Diode)

A LED (Light Emitting Diode) lamp (also called LED bar or Illuminator) is a type of solid state lighting (SSL) that uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as the source of light. They usually comprise clusters of LEDs in a suitable housing. They come in different shapes, including the standard light bulb shape with a large E27 Edison screw and MR16 shape with a bi-pin base. Other models might have a small Edison E14 fitting, GU5.3 (Bipin cap) or GU10 (bayonet socket). This includes low voltage (typically 12 V halogen-like) varieties and replacements for regular AC (e.g. 120 or 240 VAC) lighting.

Occupancy Sensor

Occupancy Sensors for Lighting Control

Motion sensors are often used in indoor spaces to control electric lighting. If no motion is detected, it is assumed that the space is empty, and thus does not need to be lit. Turning off the lights in such circumstances can save substantial amounts of energy. In lighting practice occupancy sensors are sometime also called "presence sensors" or "vacancy sensors".

System design and components

Occupancy sensors for lighting control use infrared (IR) or acoustic technology, or a combination of the two. The field of view of the sensor must be carefully selected/adjusted so that it responds only to motion in the space served by the controlled lighting. For example, an occupancy sensor controlling lights in an office should not detect motion in the corridor outside the office. Sensors and their placement are never perfect, therefore most systems incorporate a delay time before switching. This delay time is often user-selectable, but a typical default value is 15 minutes. This means that the sensor must detect no motion for the entire delay time before the lights are switched. Most systems switch lights off at the end of the delay time, but more sophisticated systems with dimming technology reduce lighting slowly to a minimum level (or zero) over several minutes, to minimize the potential disruption in adjacent spaces. If lights are off and an occupant re-enters a space, most current systems switch lights back on when motion is detected. However, systems designed to switch lights off automatically with no occupancy, and that require the occupant to switch lights on when they re-enter are gaining in popularity due to their potential for increased energy savings. These savings accrue because in a spaces with access to daylight the occupant may decide on their return that they no longer require supplemental electric lighting.

Source:  Wikipedia


UL Energy sessions at 2012 International CES

UL is bringing the implications of smart grid power and energy efficiency to center stage at the upcoming International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Alternative energy sources and smart grid energy efficiency are becoming increasingly attractive to a variety of stakeholders. What are the benefits? Where are the challenges? Join UL and its Thought Leadership partners as we explore these and related topics at the heart of the future of consumer electronics.

In a series of three sessions on energy and smart homes, a panel of UL experts will explain how changes in energy will influence the home, as well as consumer electronics for the home. In “Energy Generation”, UL will take a closer look at the world of alternative power sources (solar, wind, etc.) and discuss what providers need to know in order to benefit from opportunities and stay ahead of developments. In “Energy Efficiency”, UL will discuss how manufacturers and retailers can support, lead – and even benefit from – the ongoing transition, as well as and the product design and safety implications of energy efficiency. In “LED Technology”, UL goes beyond the bulb to detail how LED is transforming product development, supply chains and consumer choices, as well as how companies can prosper in the energy-efficient LED space.

With well over 100,000 electronics industry movers and shakers in attendance, the annual CES is an important venue for news, previews and product announcements. The 2012 International CES will be held January 10-13.

Source: UL-Energy

Be an Energy Efficient Host This Summer

Energy Efficiency Tips from NYSERDA for Hosting Summer Guests

Summer is here and that means you will probably be hosting more visitors at your home.  Whether you're entertaining guests for a short period or an extended summer stay, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers these tips for energy-efficient hosting.

*        Illuminate with ENERGY STAR®.  As you start increasing use of your outdoor space, buy ENERGY STAR qualified outdoor lighting for your porch, deck or patio. Making the change from traditional lighting to ENERGY STAR lighting can result in an energy savings of 75 percent or more.

*        Microwave it or grill it. Can't stand the heat in the kitchen? Use your microwave oven as much as possible in the summer rather than your regular oven.  Microwave ovens use around 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens. You can also fire up the grill and dine al fresco! Your house will stay cooler and you'll save energy.

*        Check the date. If your current refrigerator was made before 1993, replace it with a new ENERGY STAR model which uses half the amount of energy. If you have a fridge from the 1980s, replace it with an ENERGY STAR qualified model and save over $100 per year on your utility bills.

*        Keep it at zero. To save energy, keep the temperature of your freezer at 0°F.

*        Curtains closed. Block out heat by keeping blinds or curtains closed during the day, especially on south-facing windows.

*        Change the way you dry. If possible, dry clothes on a clothes line. If you use your dryer, try to do full loads, or reduce drying time for partial loads.

*        Keep your lint trap clean. Remember to clean the lint trap before every laundry load; it's an important energy saver and one of the easiest things you can do to increase drying efficiency. This step can save you up to $34 each year.

*        Think early and late.  Use ovens, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers in the early morning or late at night when it's generally cooler outside.

For more information on NYSERDA programs, please visit<>.