Interior Design | Deck the halls...

Deck the halls, light up the tree, and illuminate the neighborhood all in the good spirit of the holiday season!  The holidays are a special time that we seem to be addicted to lighting, but does it really matter if we use LED, CFL, halogen, or incandescent bulbs to make the season merry and bright?  The answer is yes it does, and knowing what options are out there can help you determine which bulb will best fit your holiday decorating and lifestyle needs.  However, since we are on the topic of lighting, there is one thing I would like to mention regarding important changes you should be aware of, the phasing out of incandescent bulbs.  Although initially you may not notice a significant impact from this federally backed phase out, ultimately this decision will affect the way you light your world.
The federal phase out of incandescent light bulbs is set to commence throughout the 2012 fiscal year.  Consumers need to be aware that the first casualty of this order is the 100-watt incandescent bulb, and you can expect limited availability of the 100-watt bulb real soon.  In place of relying on 100-watt incandescent bulbs, consider energy-conserving options such as LEDs, CFLs or halogen alternatives.  By switching to the latest lighting technology you will save money and conserve energy too!
Here is some basic information for you when determining which energy conserving option to choose.  It’s important to consider the pros and cons of each lamp/bulb type including; bulb brightness, longevity, and initial cost, all of which will help guide your decision.
Incandescent lamps (some familiar bulb (lamp) styles; A10 traditional household bulb, and C7, C9 holiday lights) tend to emit a warm light and are relatively inexpensive to purchase.  They are the most common source of household lighting and are available in an array of styles and colors including the option of frost or clear glass.  Incandescent bulbs require a lot of electricity to operate, generate heat, and are short lived compared to other available lamps.
Halogen lamps, closely related to the incandescent bulb, produce a focused bright white light, have a better illumination quality using the same amount of electricity as an incandescent bulb, and last longer...typically halogens use 50 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs.  Halogen bulbs are perfect for accent lighting and have no mercury waste, but are about three times more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but still cost less then CFLs.  Please be aware that halogen bulbs burn much hotter than incandescent and other bulbs, making them more of a significant fire hazard and burn risk.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps, aka CFLs most commonly recognized as a spiral style bulb, emit a cool light and initially cost slightly more than incandescent bulbs.  CFLs are considered energy-efficient since they use up to 80 percent less energy and can last up to 18 times longer than incandescent lamps.  They are available in a variety of watts, shapes and colors, but a downside to using CFLs is that not all are dimmable and they need time to “warm up” to fully illuminate a space.  Also, consumers need to be aware that CFLs contain levels of mercury, a substance that is toxic to people, animals and the environment.  Special handling should be exercised and proper recycling measures need to be followed when disposing of these lamps. http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/promotions/change_light/downloads/Fact_Sheet_Mercury.pdf
Light Emitting Diode aka LEDs, are one of today’s most popular choices in lighting options and holiday decorating.  LEDs are very efficient, emit a cool bright light, have a long lamp life, low heat output, and use very little electricity compared to incandescent.  LEDs typically last for about 50,000 hours, or seven years and have extraordinary design flexibility in color changing, dimming, and are available in many shapes, colors, and sizes.  When deciding if you should switch over to LEDs, one should consider the fact that the initial cost is very high...more so than CFLs and incandescent bulbs, and replacement LED bulbs may not be available.
Just remember come January 2012, there will be changes to lighting options you will have access to…However, whatever alternative lighting options you choose, understanding the differences between LEDs, CFLs, incandescent and halogen bulbs, will help you make the most appropriate choices to save you money and conserve energy when lighting your world!
For more information about lighting options for your world, contact me today at www.corinnegailinteriordesign.com.
Happy Holidays!
Corinne Gail