A. Environmentally Friendly fluorescent lamps are designed to meet the Federal Toxicity Characteristic
Procedure (TCLP) criteria for classification as non-hazardous waste in most states.
(Regulations may vary. Check your local and state regulations.)
A. The new generation of fluorescent products are rated by CRI (Color Rendering Index) and by color
temperature (in Kelvins). CRI rates a fluorescent lamp's ability to render color as accurately as
incandescent light or natural daylight, with 100 representing the top of the scale.
A. Kelvin color temperature refers to the tone of the light. A lamp that produces light for example
in the 2700K range is similar in color to an incandescent lamp: warm and inviting. Other color
temperatures – 3000K, 3500K, 4100K, 5000K, and 6500K – are made to work in specific environments for
mood and color matching.
A. Energy Star® is a government-backed symbol fore energy efficiency, jointly managed by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The label was
created to help consumers easily identify products that save energy and help to protect the
Energy Star manufacturer partners may place the label on products that meet the high energy efficiency
guidelines of the program. To keep up with technological advances, Energy Star reviews the guidelines
for each product category.
A. Halogens are five non-metallic elements found in Group 7 of the periodic table. The term "halogen"
means "salt former" and compounds containing halogens are called "salts."
The halogens are: Fluorine (F), Chlorine (Cl), Bromine (Br), Iodine (I) and Astatine (At).
The basic design of the incandescent lamp has not changed much since the late 1800s,
when Thomas Alva Edison successfully produced the first operational electric light bulb.
These are the must-know fundamental facts about incandescent lamps and the alternative choices
that are available today.
Incandescent lamp filaments are made of tungsten. Tungsten is a metal that can operate at
very high temperatures without evaporating too quickly and resulting in early lamp failure.
Incandescent filaments only convert about 10 percent of energy used into visible light, so it
is necessary to use a material that can withstand extremely high temperatures. Most lamps
use a coiled filament design, which has been found to be stronger and deliver better
The filament inside an incandescent lamp must be protected so that oxygen does not
reach it and cause it to evaporate on contact. Most incandescent lamps are either
vacuum-sealed or gas-filled. It was discovered in the early 1900s that the
introduction of gas inside the bulb, or envelope, created a pressure against
the filament. This pressure allowed the filament to burn hotter and last longer.
Most gas-filled incandescent lamps today use a mixture of argon and nitrogen gases.
The size and shape of a lamp’s bulb are designated by letter(s) and a number.
The letter specifies the shape of the bulb and the number indicates the maximum
diameter in 1/8-inch increments. Example: A G40 is a globe shape which is 5
inches in diameter.
Just as a piece of metal being blacksmithed or the molten glass at the end
of a blower’s rod heats to a brilliant glow, so does the filament of an
incandescent lamp. The difference is that electricity is used to heat the
filament instead of fire. This phenomenon is known as incandescence.
Screw-type bases used on incandescent lamps consist of three components: the
threaded screw section, the glass insulation ring and the contact disc. The
lead wires which exit the glass bulb of the lamp are attached to the base at
two points. One wire is soldered to the bottom of the contact disc and the
other to the top edge of the screw section. The glass ring acts as an
insulation barrier between the two points. This assembly completes the
circuit and the lam p is electrified once the base is screwed into a socket
and the contact disc touches the center point of the socket.
The base itself has nothing to do with the seal of the bulb; it is a separate
part of the lamp that is attached with cement. Typically, boxes are made
from aluminum or brass. Brass bases tend to perform best due to their
compatibility with most socket materials.
Halogen light bulbs operate on the same principle as standard incandescent
heating the tungsten filament until it glows but from there, halogens
improve upon the process.
Operation of halogen lamps is based on the ‘Halogen Cycle’. Tungsten
particles from the bulb’s filament evaporate. The evaporated tungsten
collides with the halogen gas. The particles chemically bond with the
halogen gas. Tungsten is then redeposited back to the filament and the
gas is re-released.
The operating temperature is a significant factor to ensure that the
halogen cycle performs properly. The interior wall of the bulb must
be above 250 degrees Celsius and less than 1,100 degrees Celsius.
Additionally, the filament of the lamp must reach at least 2,000
degrees Celsius. To reach this temperature, the interior wall must
be in close proximity to the tungsten filament.
Halogen lamps offer a combination of benefits that make them an
appealing alternative to standard incandescents in many applications.
Halogen lamps deliver a crisp, white light. Not only is the quantity
of the light greater than a standard incandescent of comparable
wattage, but the quality of the light creates a higher contrast
for reading and other tasks. This also makes halogen perfect
for display accent and general lighting.
Since halogens are incandescent lamps, their CRI of 100 will
render colors accurately and will mate the color temperate of
other light sources in the 3000K range.
Standard incandescent lamps and halogen lamps both use tungsten
filaments. However, the filament in the standard lamp evaporates
over time, causing it to weaken and eventually break. The gasses
inside halogen lamps allow the evaporated tungsten to find its
way back to the filament and redeposit, ensuring a long life
of 20,000 hours or more.
Compared to standard incandescent lamps, halogens offer
superior lumen performance throughout the life of the lamp.
While conventional incandescent lamps can be handled with bare
hands, halogen bulbs should not. Since the quartz envelope, or
bulb, of the lamp reaches high temperatures, the oils and salts
from skin will deteriorate and weaken the bulb.
If your hands should come in contact with the bulb, use a small
amount of rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth to clean the lamp.
Allow time for the bulb to dry before using.
The glass tube of a fluorescent lamp is filled with a gas containing
argon and mercury vapor. The interior wall of the tube is coated with
a paint known as phosphor. At each end of the tube, electrodes send
electrons throughout the gas causing it to emit ultraviolet light.
As the ultraviolet light passes through the phosphor coating, it is
converted into a longer frequency to create visible light. The glass
tube of the bulb prevents the harmful UV rays from escaping.
Fluorescent lamps are more efficient than incandescent lamps because
less energy is converted to heat. Instead, most of the energy creates
The phosphor coating on pioneer fluorescent lamps, called ‘halophosphate’
was a sing-color band phosphor that produced ‘cool white’ light. This
light resembles daylight, but it is weak in the green and red part of
the spectrum and stronger on the yellows. This imbalance distorts
visual perception of color, but for many years the cool white halophosphate
fluorescent was the only choice available.
‘Warm white’ and ‘daylight’ lamps improved color for fluorescents.
These lamps also used halophosphate, but they were designed to achieve
certain effects: ‘warm’ to resemble incandescent light, and ‘daylight’
to create an effect similar to natural light. Still, these lamps fell
short in their ability to render colors accurately.
Full spectrum, natural and deluxe represent just a few lamp types that
improved fluorescent color performance over the years. However, each
type usually sacrifices light output.
The biggest misconception that still stigmatizes fluorescent light sources
pertains to their color rendering. Many consumers still associate
fluorescent with having an unflattering green cast. They are probably
thinking of products they’ve seen at the cool end of the spectrum, or
fluorescent lighting in institutional settings.
The Color Rendering Index is a rating scale up to 100 that rates a light
source's ability to accurately convey true color. Light sources with a
low CRI will make objects and skin tones appear washed out and dull. Lamps
with high CRI ratings bring life to a subject and make colors more vivid.
Many CFL’s have CRI ratings that exceed 80, which is a considered excellent.
Lamp color, on the other hand, is based on a color temperature scale
with a measurement called Kelvin. A warm color of light would be in
the 2000K to 3000K range and would make reds, oranges and yellows more
dominant. 4000K range would feature more blue or cool tones. The
variety of color temperature options and CRI ratings for fluorescent
light sources have improved dramatically thanks to advances in the
types of phosphors used. You can now your customer can yourself in
your best light without sacrificing energy savings.