Green Lighting Blog – All things Green

Light Pollution: The View from Above

Many of us have admired a fantastic view from an airplane takeoff or landing. We find ourselves looking down on thousands of city lights shining like stars on the ground. As amazing as the view may seem, we are actually looking at a form of light pollution.

Light pollution is excessive or obtrusive artificial light, which includes light trespass, over-illumination, glare, and sky glow. These conditions waste energy, can disrupt ecosystems, cause adverse health effects and obscure stars and astronomical observations. With the need for safety, security and visual acuity at night, what can be done to minimize light pollution?

The majority of light pollution you see from above is considered sky glow. By definition, sky glow is the result of light that is emitted directly upward by luminaries or reflected from the ground, producing a luminous background. When outdoor lighting is poorly designed and installed, portions of light shine upward where it is not needed. Sky glow is the visible effect of wasted light and wasted energy.

Communities around the world have started enforcing “dark sky” regulations that restrict the amounts of light that can be directed upwards. The best way to control this upward sky pollution is to install lighting fixtures that direct light to needed areas, saving energy and reducing glare. A full cutoff fixture, (fig. 1.) when installed correctly, reduces the chance for light to escape above the horizontal plane. Their design minimizes the visibility of the lamp and reflector within, so the effects of glare are also reduced. It is also important for fixtures to be properly spaced, for even greater lighting efficiency.

Relates links Rapid Start Ballasts Electronic Sign Ballasts Electronic General Purpose Ballasts Electronic Fulham Workhorse Ballasts Magnetic Sign Ballasts Magnetic General Purpose Ballasts Lutron DImming Ballasts Compact Fluorescent Ballasts

The End is Near for Mercury Vapor Ballasts

Effective January 1,2008, mercury vapor ballasts can no longer be manufactured or imported into the United States. This will include lighting fixtures that incorporate these mercury vapor ballasts. This new provision is part of the Energy Policy Act signed into law in August 2005 in order to address efficiency matters regarding energy generation, transmission, distribution and consumption.

Mercury vapor lighting can often be found in outdoor lighting applications such as parking lots, streets, landscapes and commercial properties. As technology has developed, these mercury vapor lighting systems have become inefficient in comparison to other solutions. The intent of this new law is to eliminate the use of these inefficient systems and replace them with more environmentally friendly technology, such as metal halide, high pressure sodium and fluorescent lighting systems. After January 1, as mercury vapor ballasts fail, fixtures and ballasts will need to be replaced. The initial cost of replacing the lighting systems will be higher, but in the long run they will save the consumer energy and money.

Though the ballasts are being outlawed, the mercury vapor lamps( Mogul base, Medium base, Reflectors, and self ballasted) will still be legal. These lamps will still be used in existing mercury vapor lighting systems that are still in operation. Though Mercury vapor lamps can also be run on metal halide ballasts, switching to a complete metal halide lighting system will give you a much higher quality of light as well as being energy efficient.

Related Links: Double Ended HPS, Medium Base HPS, Mogul Base HPS, White Son , Low Pressure Sodium, Retrofit




Pulse Start Ballasts

The Decline of the Incandescent Bulb?

For almost 130 years now consumers have been buying and using the good old incandescent household bulbs day in and day out. In that time there has never been any major change to the technology of the bulb. The bulb’s inefficient use of energy has never been a big factor and the uptake of more energy efficient, compact fluorescent bulbs has been slow. It is clear the incandescent bulbs, converting only 5% of the energy they receive into light, falls well short of the energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs. Compact fluorescents use 70-75% less electricity, last about 10 time longer, produce fewer greenhouse gases and save consumers about $30 over the life of the bulb. So why has only 6% of households decided to break the “incandescent habit?” When compact fluorescents were first introduced the technology was not yet perfected. These bulbs often took a few seconds to start, were perceived as funny looking, could not be dimmable and did not fit into standard fixtures. Though there have been many improvements to the compact fluorescent, they still have a much higher cost associated with them than the common incandescent. In recent times some big names have been shedding a lot of light on the shortcomings of the incandescent bulb and their future may be changing.

Related Links: Standard Spring Compact Fluorescents, GU24 Base Spring Compact Fluorescents, TCP 19032 Three-way Compact Fluorescents

Dimmable Compact Fluorescents

Philips Halogena


In the past few years the adoption of high-bay fluorescent fixtures in industrial settings has been on the rise. According to TED magazine, this trend will continue to accelerate. As a weighted average, manufacturer respondents said that between 2000 and 2005, fluorescent high-bay fixtures rose from 8% to 24% of their industrial lighting fixture sales, which are predicted to increase to 36% by 2010.

In the past, high-intensity discharge (HID) light sources dominated the market for lighting indoor spaces with high ceilings, such as warehouses, factories, large retail stores, and athletic facilities. Although there are several different types of HID lamps, the most popular types for indoor applications have been metal halide and high pressure sodium lamps. Of these two types, metal halides – with their high-quality light, high efficacy, and wide range of sizes – are more versatile.

The characteristics of standard fluorescent lamps and fixtures have made them a great choice for commercial, institutional and industrial lighting applications with ceilings 15 feet high or less. In recent years, the emergence of more intense and energy efficient fluorescent lamps along with specially designed reflecting fixtures has enabled fluorescent systems to break through the ceiling-height barrier and compete directly with HID lamps in indoor applications. The improvements and developments to the fluorescent lamps and high-bay fluorescent fixtures have given them an advantage over the HID counterparts.


All Information courtsey of TCP (

Q. Do CFLs contain mercury? If so, why?

A: Mercury is an essential ingredient for most energy efficient lighting products, including CFLs. It is the mercury that excites phosphors in a CFL, causing them to glow and give light.

The amount of mercury in the most popular and widely used TCP CFLs is minimal, ranging between 2.3 mg and 3.5 mg. That is lower than other CFLs on the market, which generally contain approximately 5 mg, roughly the equivalent of the tip of a ballpoint pen.

By comparison, older home thermometers contain 500 milligrams of mercury and many manual thermostats contain up to 3000 milligrams. It would take between 100 and 600 CFLs to equal those amounts.

Mercury can be added to the CFL in two ways.

Some manufacturers use liquid mercury, which is less expensive and more difficult to accurately dose.

TCP uses amalgam, a small “pill” which is a solid state form of mercury and other elements. Amalgam is much easier and more accurate to dose.

TCP is the only manufacturer using 100 percent amalgam in its CFL products.

Q. Since CFLs contain mercury, how can they still be good for the environment?

A: CFLs are responsible for less mercury than standard incandescent light bulbs, and actually work to prevent mercury from entering our air, where it most affects our health.

The highest source of mercury in our air comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal, the most common fuel used in the U.S. to produce electricity.

A CFL uses 75% less energy than an incandescent light bulb and lasts at least six times longer. A power plant will emit 10 mg of mercury to produce the electricity to run an incandescent bulb compared to only 2.4 mg of mercury to run a CFL for the same time.

Q..Should I be concerned about using CFLs in my home? Q.

A: CFLs are safe to use in your home. No mercury is released when the bulbs are in use and they pose no danger to you or your family when used properly.

Q. How do I safely dispose of a CFL when it burns out?

A: It is best to recycle your CFL. Recycling programs exist for mercury in older non-digital thermostats and mercury thermometers, but residential CFL recycling programs are just now appearing. To find a residential recycling program in your area, visit or You can also call 1-800-CLEAN-UP.

If recycling is not an option in your area, place the CFL in a sealed plastic bag and dispose the same way your would batteries, oil-based paint and motor oil at your local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Site.

If your local HHW Collection Site cannot accept CFLs, seal the CFL in a plastic bag and place with your regular trash.

Q.:What should I do if I break a CFL?

A: If a CFL breaks carefully sweep up all the fragments – wipe the area with a wet towel and dispose of all fragments, including the used towel, in a sealed plastic bag. Follow all disposal instructions. If possible open windows to allow the room to ventilate.

Do NOT use a vacuum.

Place all fragments in a sealed plastic bag and follow disposal instructions.

Q. What steps are being taken to reduce the amount of mercury in a CFL?

A: The mercury used in all TCP CFLs is the lowest dosage possible to maintain proper lamp function, however we are committed to reducing mercury content whenever possible and as part of that call to action have joined the NEMA voluntary commitment program. All participating manufacturers have promised to cap the total mercury content of all CFLs under 25 watts at 5 mg. CFLs that use 25 – 40 watts are capped at 6 mg per unit.

Q. What is mercury, what are the sources of mercury emissions, and what are the risks?

A: Mercury is an element found naturally in the environment. Mercury emissions in the air can come from both natural and man-made sources. Utility power plants (mainly coal-fired) are the primary man-made source, as mercury that naturally exists in coal is released into the air when coal is burned to make electricity.

Coal-fired power generation accounts for roughly 40% of the mercury emissions in the U.S. EPA is implementing policies to reduce airborne mercury emissions. Under regulations issued in 2005, coal- fired power plants will need to reduce their emissions by 70 percent by 2018. Airborne mercury poses a very low risk of exposure. However, when mercury emissions deposit into

lakes and oceans, they can transform into a highly toxic form that builds up in fish. Fish consumption is the most common pathway for human exposure to mercury. Pregnant women and young children are most vulnerable to the effects of this type of mercury exposure. However, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that most people are not exposed to harmful levels of mercury through fish consumption.

LED Lights Part II

With the need for environmentally friendly lighting solutions, the technology and versatility of this energy-efficient light source has expanded. In the 1990’s innovation made color possibilities beyond red, yellow and green available in the market. Today LEDs are commonly used for indoor and outdoor holiday light displays, traffic signals, brake lights, bicycles, emergency and law enforcement vehicles, displays and signs. The extended life of these bulbs make them great for hard-to-reach fixtures. Clustered together, LED ‘bulbs” have the potential to replace standard incandescent, linear fluorescent and halogen lamps typical in residential and commercial spaces.

As a reliable, long life light source with very low energy consumption, LEDs are perfect for emergency exit signs. The bother and expense of recurring maintenance are eliminated and the cost to operate is dramatically reduced, when compared with incandescent exit signs. To convert an incandescent exit fixture to LED, Lighting Supply offers retrofit kits with either red or green lamps. Taking only the energy savings into consideration, this simple screw-in lamp system offers a 6-month* payback in most applications. Avoiding the time and hassle to replace dead bulbs or talk with the Fire Marshall about burned-out exits adds even more value.

LED Dock Lights

CFL vs incandescent video

I found this on youtube today. It think it does a great job of breaking down the differences between incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Green LED Light bulbs Shine in a Variety of Places

LEDs, light emitting diodes, have been around since 1962. While you may not have realized it, these bulbs have produced the red and green lights on your remote controls and electrical devices for years.

LED lights are solid-state electric components that emit visible light when electricity is applied. Unlike a standard light bulb, the heating of a filament is not required to create light. LEDs require less energy to operate, generate little or no heat and are resistant to vibration and shock. Considered a directional source of light, they convert almost all of the energy used into light. This reduces the amount of wasted light common with other types of bulbs. LEDs can have a life up to 100,000 hours, with a replacement cycle of up to 10 years.

Many EXIT signs and Exit Sign Retrofit replacement sets utilize LED technology for their brightness and energy savings.

Related: Twin Tube Compact Fluorescent, 2pin Quad Tube Compact Fluorescents, 4pin Quad Tube Compact Fluorescents

Linear (4pin) Compact Fluorescents U Shaped Compact Fluorescents T5 (5/8″ Tube Diameter)

T9 (1-1/8″ Tube Diameter)

Why would anyone pay $5.00 for a light bulb?

As consumers, we are often faced with the decision to spend a little more up front, to realize a savings benefit, over time. A high efficiency furnace or air conditioning system can be more expensive to purchase initially, than a standard heating or cooling system. However, the cost to operate the less expensive unit takes its toll in electrical bills that give you anxiety during the winter or summer months. We dial down in winter and up in summer, because we do not want to pay for the electricity it takes to run the units. Is there something wrong with this picture?

The same hold true for light bulbs. How often have you heard “Turn off the lights, you’re wasting electricity.” There is however, an energy efficient light bulb known as the Compact Fluorescent. Commonly called CFL’s,

Compact fluorescents use 70-75% less electricity, last 10 times longer, produce fewer greenhouse gases and save you about $30 over the life of the bulb. So why have only 6% of households decided to break the “incandescent habit?” When compact fluorescents were first introduced the technology was not yet perfected. With today’s technology, CFL’s light instantly, are dimmable, produce a soft, indoor light, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. CFL’s are self-ballasted and operate in any standard incandescent table lamp or household fixture. For optimum energy efficiency, CFL ceiling and wall fixtures are now available at Lighting Supply.

Because the initial cost of high efficiency bulb plus the electricity to operate it, are much less over the life of the bulb, than the cost of a traditional light bulb and the high amount of electricity it consumes, by hundreds of dollars. Hundreds of dollars saved plus an environmentally responsible decision. What decision could be easier? The perfect choice for business and home, we offer hundreds of different CFL options to fit your lighting needs. Invest that $5.00 and start saving money and our environment, today.

Halogen Irc

Today, a lot of attention is on CFL lamps and their energy saving features. CFL’s are a great choice for residential, hospitality and some commercial environments. However, in retail, showroom and display applications, the excellent light quality of halogen lamps can increase interest and ultimately, revenues. Halogen lamps produce a bright, white light, that when used as a focal or ambient light source, enhance the color and appeal of both product and atmosphere.

Over the years, leading manufacturers have improved halogen technology to increase lamp efficiency without sacrificing the quality of light produced. The most recent technology involves the use of a new infrared (IRC) coating. The infrared coating is applied on the inside of the lamp which helps manage the heat, making the lamp much more efficient. This reduces the amount of energy (watts) needed to operate the lamp. Optimal lumen output is achieved while saving energy. Philips Energy Advantage IR lamps offer significant energy savings and get up to 67% longer average rated life over standard halogens. These lower wattage lamps also emit less heat, providing a possible reduction in HVAC costs.

Ideal for retail, display and high-end commercial applications, Philips Energy Advantage IR Halogens are available in MR16 and PAR shaped lamps. Philips Energy Advantage IR lamps make it easy to optimize the look and feel of your merchandise and the shopper’s experience, with lower operating costs.

Related links MR20 Halogen Bulbs

Seal Beam par 36 halogen bulbs A Shaped Halogens

BT15 Halogen Light Bulbs Tubular Shaped Bulbs High Voltage Tubular Bulbs

Osram Decostar