Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why would you light your home like a warehouse????

The other night I walked out to get the mail and noticed that one of our neighbors is using harsh fluorescent bulbs in their ceiling fan lights. I assume that it's in a bedroom or office since it is the smaller bedroom upstairs (we all have the same floor plans). I wanted to knock on their door and tell them that there was a better way.......to not live like you were in a warehouse! I actually shuddered when I saw it. (First offence was using the overhead light in the 1st place.....but I understand that I can't win that battle every time)

I know everyone has been jumping on the bandwagon and trying to be the most energy efficient that they can be. This includes using fluorescent bulbs in lamps and overhead lighting. And, I agree with this change and people doing what they feel to make our planet a better place. But, ever notice how blue and cold the light from a fluorescent bulb is? That it actually may give a blue cast to the room? Well, I'm here to tell you that there's a better way.......to not look like you live in a warehouse!

Not a good look...too harsh!

Much better! Soft Warm Lighting........via The Selby

It all has to do with the color temperature that is put out by the bulb. Okay, now before I loose you entirely here is the short definition of color temperature:

"Color temperature is a characteristic of visible light that has important applications in lighting, photography, videography, publishing, manufacturing, astrophysics, and other fields. The color temperature of a light source is the temperature of an ideal black-body radiator that radiates light of comparable hue to that of the light source. Color temperature is conventionally stated in the unit of absolute temperature, the kelvin, having the unit symbol K. Color temperatures over 5,000K are called cool colors (blueish white), while lower color temperatures (2,700–3,000 K) are called warm colors (yellowish white through red)."
Via Wikipedia

This is one of the fundamentals that I learned in design school and have been a stickler for it ever since. The lower the number on the Kelvin scale = the warmer the light is. See the chart below for some of the Kelvin readings for everyday light examples:

See, the warmer light (like candle light and Incandescent) have lower Kelvin numbers. Most fluorescent bulbs you buy in the store when you aren't looking for the right Kelvin number are in the 3500K-4000K (next time look on the box- it says it right there). And as you can see that's up there with the brightness of a full sunny day outside at noon.....like when you would be wearing sunglasses. I don't want to have to wear sunglasses in my house, do you?

My neighbor had 5500K!!!! Ewww.

Most people enjoy and feel comfortable with the light that a 100W incandescent bulb puts out or, about 2700K color temperature (some like lower, some like higher).  As you can see in the above picture that gives you a very warm, almost orange light vs. the blue hue of the 13W Fluorescent. It makes everyone look good too! Now, since I'm still a proponent for being energy efficient that leaves us in a predicament right?

Nope, not at all. Fluorescent bulbs can be found at 2700K! That's right, all the energy efficiency you want with all the warm lighting you want too. Now, I have actually never seen a 2700K fluorescent bulb at Home Depot or Target but you can easily order online. There are tons of online sellers and typing 2700K flourescent into the search bar pulls up all kinds of vendors. Since flourescents last longer than incandescent you don't have to replace as often either. And, since this would be the best of both worlds a little extra work can't hurt right?

I still haven't crossed over to fluorescent for all of my lights. I am still a user of incandescent bulbs in my lamps and chandeliers/pendants. I do however use fluorescent bulbs for closets, pantry, laundry room, and other misc overhead light areas in our house. And, I order my 2700K online so it never looks like a warehouse in any area of my home.

How about you? Do you use fluorescent bulbs? Will you change yours now?
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