Compact Fluorescent Lamps, or CFLs for short, have change a lot in recent years. While the energy savings was unquestionable, the quality of the light coming off a CFL cast a shadow on their practical use, especially for areas where a crisp bright lighting was needed
- Look for the Energy Star label. All CFLs are not created equal and Energy Star qualified CFLs use around 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent and last up to 10 times longer. You’ll also save $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime, and they’ll give off 75 percent less heat for a safer, cooler glow.
- Compact Fluorescent Lights are labeled with a description of the light style and color they provide, from “soft white” to “daylight.” A bulb’s correlated color temperature (CCT), measured in kelvins, will also tell you what to expect. Lower numbers such as 2700K mean light will have a warmer, yellowish cast, while higher numbers like 5000K indicate the lighting quality on the cooler, more bluish end of the spectrum.
- Match a CFL's amount of light output to that of the incandescent you’re replacing. Packaging should indicate the incandescent equivalent (e.g., “60 Watt Replacement”), but you can also reference the lumen rating, a common notation on both CFL and incandescent packaging. The lumens will be higher when the light output is greater.
- When replacing Compact Fluorescent Lights in a room, select bulbs of the same color and brand for a more consistent lighting quality throughout the space. Sylvania’s Living Spaces CFL collection, for example, includes bulbs in a range of wattage levels and sizes (including a micro-mini twist, the smallest on the market) that share the same warm, color-enhancing light output.