Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
Home Improvement




It literally boils my blood every time when I see incandescent bulbs and halogen bulbs in houses and commercial facilities.

Governments around the world have passed measures to prohibit the sale of incandescent light bulbs for general lighting. The aim is to encourage use of more energy-efficient lighting alternatives, such as compact fluorescent lamp (CFLs) and LED lamps. Brazil and Venezuela started to phase them out in 2005 and the European Union, Switzerland, and Australia did the same in 2009. Likewise, other nations are planning scheduled phase-outs: Argentina, Russia, and Canada in 2012, and Malaysia in 2014. Although the USA is not phasing out incandescent light bulbs, it has set minimum efficiency standards for lighting, which preclude most legacy incandescent designs; these minimum standards phase in between 2012 and 2014.

In India, while not a complete ban, the plan is to replace 400 million incandescent light bulbs with CFLs by 2012. The energy savings and resultant carbon emissions savings is expected to be around 55 million tons per year. Tamil Nadu has banned the use of incandescent bulbs in government departments, public sector undertakings, various boards, cooperative institutions, local bodies and institutions running on government aid.

Why are incandescent light bulbs phasing out?

In incandescent bulbs, much more heat is produced than useable light – usually around 60 to 80 percent of the electricity used to power the incandescent is turned to heat, not light.

The math:

Fluorescents produce more light per watt used than any incandescent ever can. HID (HPS in particular) produce way more light for every watt used.

150w incandescent = 2,550 lumens or 17 lumens per watt
150w halogen = 3,000 lumens or 20 lumens per watt
150w of fluorescents = 9,000 lumens or 60 lumens per watt
150w of compact fluorescents = 10,500 lumens or 70 lumens per watt
150w metal halide = 13,500 lumens or 90 lumens per watt
150w high pressure sodium = 16,000 lumens or 107 lumens per watt

Now, since you’re paying for each watt used, wouldn’t you want that watt to put out as much light as it could? Using an incandescent bulb, you are going to pay way more in electric costs than you would if you used a HID or CFL.

13.7 – 150w incandescent or 2,058 watts = 35,000 lumens
11.6 – 150w halogens or 1,750 watts = 35,000 lumens
3.8 – 150w fluorescents or 583 watts = 35,000 lumens
3.3 – 150w compact fluorescents or 500 watts = 35,000 lumens
2.5 – 150w metal halide or 389 watts = 35,000 lumens
2.1 – 150w HPS or 327w = 35,000 lumens

So, let’s use an example, if you pay $0.08 per KWH. Using 5 square feet grow room example and shooting for 7,000 lumens per square feet:

Incandescent lights
2,058w = $0.16 an hour (2.058*0.08=0.16464) or $3.84 a day (0.16*24=3.84) or $115.20 a month (3.84*30=115.20) or $1,382.40 a year (115.20*12=1,382.40)

Halogen lights
1750w = $0.14 an hour or $3.36 a day or $100.80 a month or $1,209.60 a year.

Fluorescent lights
583w = $0.05 an hour or $1.20 a day or $36 a month or $432.00 a year.

Compact Fluorescents
500w = $0.04 an hour or $.96 a day or $28.80 a month or $345.60 a year.

Metal Halide
389w = $0.03 an hour or $.72 a day or $21.60 a month or $259.20 a year.

High Pressure Sodium
327w = $0.03 an hour or $.72 a day or $21.60 a month or $259.20 a year.

As you can see, it adds up quick. In one month of 24-hour light, you would spend $93.60 more to run incandescent lighting than you would for a HPS, and in a year, it would cost $1,382.40 to run those same incandescent lights 24 hours a day when it would only cost $259.20 to run the HPS. That’s $1,123.20 more it would cost per year to run an inferior light. Not to mention how much more it would cost to cool that same 5 square feet grow space running incandescent light over HPS.

So, as you can plainly see, even if the light spectrum was correct and heat wasn’t a problem, it would cost you way more to run incandescent/halogen lights than it would to run a HID. The money you save in just one month would almost pay for the HPS. When you break it down to cost per watt, doesn’t it make more sense to buy the HID in the first place?

If you are a hotel/motel or convenience stores operator, switching to CFLs can mean serious savings on energy cost.

Shubhang K. Patel, president of SAVITARA – General Contractors in Florida, can be reached at 1-800-245-9944 or e-mail at Orlando (407.427.2098). Tampa Bay (727.437.2098). Lakeland (863.438.1098). Lake County (352.578.1144).

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