Bright ideas in light bulbs lead to ‘lumensanity’ ‘lumensanity’
By Tom Phelan - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Wed., May. 1, 2013
A light bulb is the universal symbol for a bright idea. So what do you call it when an entire industry rushes to market with perplexing variants of that universal symbol? I call it “lumensanity.”
The incredible upheaval of light is based on the adoption of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). These 310 pages of federal legislation spawned an extensive array of issues. But the one that matters to your house is light bulb efficiency.
Starting in 2012 that 100-watt incandescent bulb in your house could only consume 72 watts of energy. Today that time-honored incandescent technology is forbidden. This year the 75-watt bulb is similarly affected. And so it will go each year, until all the most common bulbs in your house are cast into the dungeon of condemned technology.
By this time you are probably familiar with halogen, LED and CFL lighting, and you probably have a picture of each in your mind. These different technologies add “color” to lighting, rated by degrees on the Kelvin scale. In basic terms, the warm glow of a candle is low on the Kelvin scale, just below the color given off by the incandescent light to which you have become accustomed. From now on the “color” of the light you want in a rooms is a factor to consider. There are others.
You will come to learn that the power of light is expressed in “lumens.” Lumen is a form of the Latin noun lux, meaning light. Look for this rating also on light bulb packaging.
Life with light bulbs was once so simple. Did you want 40-, 60-, 75- or 100-watt bulbs? Perhaps you wanted the more exotic “three-way” bulb, to switch from one level of brightness to the next. The issues are now much more complex.
Do you have dimmers in your home? Be aware that not all of the new technology bulbs can be adjusted with a dimmer switch. What’s more, you may buy bulbs that can be dimmed, but your dimmer switch may not work with the type of bulb you just bought.
How much heat will you tolerate from your light bulb? An incandescent bulb emits light when the filament inside (made of tungsten) is charged with electricity, heats up and begins to glow. Halogen light bulbs use tungsten filaments, too. But they are trapped in a capsule that contains halogen gas. This allows them to last longer, while burning brightly. Guess what, ‘burning’ implies heat. And it really heats up.
Here is a review of three bulbs by the same manufacturer. Right next to one another on the store shelf I found three different bulbs with 60-watt ratings. One that proclaimed to yield “clean beautiful light” at 630 lumens comes in a package of six bulbs, costing $8.37. It should last .9 years, when turned on for 3 hours per day. To the left was another six-pack of the same size 60-watt bulbs at a cost of $4.17, promising twice the life−1.8 years−as well as brighter light at 780 lumens. To the left of that was the same manufacturer’s 60-watt halogen version. A package of only four halogen bulbs would cost $10.95, yet you should expect the same .9-year life as the first bulb in this comparison. But these bulbs actually consume only 43 watts.
It all comes down to whatever combination of warm glow, bright light, product longevity, energy consumption and cost suits you. (Sit in the dark until you figure that out.)
So here’s my definition of Lumensanity: 1 The confused mental state brought on by trying to comprehend all the choices, options, ratings, longevity and technology required to create a simple light bulb. 2 The ability to create irrational thought faster than the speed of light. 3 The incomprehensible darkness created when all the illuminati in Washington, D.C. come up with too many bright ideas at once.