As 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs are set to disappear from store shelves in 2014 due to the incandescent bulb ban, the transition to more energy efficient forms of lighting is upon us and products abound. Unfortunately, it also opens up a whole new world of specification and compatibility issues.
“For the longest time we’ve been dealing with simple, 60-watt incandescent bulbs, but now we have to worry about color temperature, beam angle, and lumen output,” says Wayne Ortner of Energy Squad in a recent article by HES Insider. “If you [put in] the wrong bulb, it may fit the lamp, but the results could end up being disastrous.”
For example, if you put in a light bulb with the wrong beam angle, you could end up with a 6-inch spot of white light on your floor and zero illumination in the rest of the room. “Specs are important because before, we never had to know them. With LED, there are a dozen different versions of one bulb, so understanding specifications has become important,” says Ortner. Energy Squad, in fact, was formed this year to help make getting more efficient green product–like LED lighting and smart thermostats–into consumers home without the guesswork.
Likewise, Control4 smart lighting control takes the question marks out of the equation by making sure that new halogen, CFL, and LED bulbs are fully compatible with advanced dimming, scheduling, and occupancy-sensing capabilities–all features of a more sophisticated lighting system that might be part of a larger home automation system.
“We’re at a pivotal point in the ENERGY STAR transition where existing lighting and newer, more efficient lighting loads coexist within the same home,” said Paul Nagel, VP of Lighting & Comfort at Control4. Control4′s Wireless Lighting Line, for example, is designed to provide a smooth transition from old lighting standards to new, especially in remodeling projects, and can be integrated into a large Control4 system.
In other bulb news, Philips SlimStyle 60-watt bulb was announced this week, designed to replace your 60-watt incandescent light bulbs. It uses just 10.5 watts to give off 800 lumens, but it’s the shape that’s really unique. Unlike the regular roundish bulb we’ve all come to know and love, this bulb is flat, with LEDs that fan out from the bulb’s base. It’s designed this way to do a better job dispersing light than your normal LED bulbs.
But perhaps the best part in all this lighting madness–aside form the way cool colored LED products that are flooding the market like Philips Hue and the iOS Holi mood lamp—is that you may NEVER have to change a light bulb in your home again. According to Ortner, most people don’t live in their homes longer than 15 years, and some LED bulbs last longer than that, with the average lifespan of 25,000-50,000 hours.
Check out Control4′s latest infographic, if just for nostalgia’s sake: