The Dilemma: Mood Lighting or Good Lighting?

August 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve always been one to appreciate a nice room, house or space. I even toyed with the idea of interior design for a while, until I realized my university was the last place to be for that kind of dream. But despite my abandoned ambitions, I still recognize that a room’s ambiance is very important and can affect people immediately, even if they don’t notice it.

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In my personal opinion, one of the things that can really change the feel of a room is the lighting effects. Whether it’s the soft glow in a cozy room or a magnificent chandelier, it really is a noticeable element. So when I heard that there’s a new ban in place that will phase out incandescent light bulbs, I immediately thought about my future house and how I would have to light it with CFLs.

Don’t get me wrong–as an environmentalist, I’m all for them. Compact fluorescents are much more energy efficient and last up to ten times longer. They might cost more at the counter, but considering they save an average of 30$ during a lifetime and pay for themselves in 6 months, I’d say it’s well worth the three bucks. However my alter-ego/designer’s mind was immediately unhappy to think that my kitchen or living room would have to be lit by those harsh bright lights. Because let’s be honest–you feel like you’re in a dentist’s office when the aggressive light pops on after a two second delay. They’re really not the most pleasant things.

Many Americans are hoarding incandescents while they can before the 2012 mandatory phase-out of several incandescents. Federal regulations will gradually require increased efficiency of 40 to 100 watt bulbs, which will eventually cause incandescents to lose strength in the market. While this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find them after 2012, it does mean that over time there’s a good chance they will stop being produced due to strict and limiting regulations, leaving us for the most part with CFLs.

While it’s a bummer from the aesthetic point of view, I believe it’s still a worthy change to make. After all, consider this striking statistic from an article by the mother nature network: if one CFL bulb were to be placed in every U.S. household, we would save enough energy to light another 3 million homes. On the other hand, if one incandescent bulb is placed in every U.S. home (and we know this is closer to the truth), the energy emitted would be equivalent to the greenhouse gases emitted by 800,000 cars. Think about that, and realize that with this change–with CFLs in every household–we can really make a big difference in the way we consume and conserve energy. So let’s not hoard too many incandescents. Let’s accept CFLs for all their superiority, save the money, and change the lights.


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