Monday, November 21, 2011

Lumens and Watts: Everything You Need to Know

As traditional incandescent and fluorescent lighting begins to be replaced by newer, more efficient technology like compact fluorescents and LEDs, manufacturers and consumer advocates have devised a way to solve the simplest question on the minds of bulb customers: “How much light am I getting?”  Since newer bulbs use electrical power differently than older ones, a simple wattage to wattage comparison no longer works. For instance, a 13-watt compact fluorescent provides nearly the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent lamp.

To aid consumers, bulb packaging will now be labeled and grouped by lumen output, which is simply the amount of illumination that a light provides. As the new Lumen Coalition website illustrates, consumers can match up their old 60- or 100-watt lighting to lumen output: 800 lumens or 1600 lumens, respectively.
Lumens also lead the way to a great insight about the higher energy efficiency of newer bulbs. As mentioned above, lower-wattage CFLS illuminate just about as well as higher-wattage incandescent. In fact, as discussed in this article, LEDs are able to convert 80% of the wattage that they draw into light energy, with the other 20% emitted as heat. This is the opposite for traditional bulbs: only 20% of the input wattage is used for light, with the other 80% basically wasted as heat.

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1 comment:

  1. I agree with you, this information is useful when choose an LED Bulb.