The light bulb, as everybody knows, was invented by Thomas Alva Edison in 1879. This was after several other inventors had tried and failed to perfect the technology of using a filament, powered by electricity, to produce illumination or incandescence. Scientists as early as the 1850s had been working on this theory. Edison himself performed three thousand different experiments to develop his incandescent light bulb. The world is a much brighter place because of his persistence.
Today, a host of other types of light bulbs have been developed. Though they all basically perform the same functions, there have been changes made in terms of rated hours, costs, and energy efficiency. There are halogens, fluorescents, LED or solid state lights, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), sodium lamps, and high intensity discharge lamps or HIDs.
Through the course of their development, some light bulbs have been found to be highly inefficient while others contain mercury and lead which are toxic to the environment. The incandescent light bulb, for example, is facing the prospect of being totally banned in several progressive countries because of studies showing that it wastes as much as 90% of the energy it consumes producing heat rather than light. Fluorescent lamps have their downside as well. They contain mercury, and are found to emit ultraviolet radiation. Fluorescents have also been said to cause headaches, visual impairment, eye and body fatigue, and even stress.
What about compact fluorescent light bulbs or CFLs? There are several common types of CFLs, a “PL”, “biax,” or “twin tube,” which all designate the same kind of lamp. A quad essentially is two PLs or parallel lamps, and a triple is three of them! There is still some “fluorescent” in each of these. They contain the same elements and produce similar effects to standard linear fluorescents. Although the risks posed by CFL light bulbs has yet to gain global attention, some groups, and Canada in particular, are trying to give out as much information as they can with respect to how they can affect the environment and our health.
Low pressure sodium or SOX lamps are relatively safe but are currently ideal only for use as lights over roads and highways. Metal halide lamps have a little more functional use, but require additional auxiliary equipment for installation. For metal halides, full brightness can be achieved after two to four minutes, so it is not intended for instant lighting, but they can also be used both indoors and outdoors but for indoors, a high ceiling clearance (8 to 10 feet) is required.
LED light bulbs are the least tainted when it comes to choice of lighting. They are energy-efficient and friendlier for the environment and the user. LED lights can be manufactured in many shapes, sizes, and color temperatures to be used in more and more applications. Lumen output and mass production increases of LED lamps are improving the quality and bringing prices down. They are the light of now, and the future!
Cornelius Vanderkolk having come to Hawaii over 10 years ago, jumped into the lighting industry for his initial career as a consultant in calculating ROI and providing energy efficient lighting solutions servicing home owners, businesses, and commercial properties. In Hawaii where Kwh rate is some of the highest in the nation, he has been instrumental in introducing leading edge LED light bulbssolutions into the markets as they became available and first viable. With the fast evolving developments in LED lighting, he is never short of sharing the fast changing technologies amongst client, colleagues, friends and family and presenting something new that the industry has developed.
Outside his professional interests, he is active in a variety of civic and cultural organizations including Habitat for Humanity, church affiliate welfare programs, and participating in the Hawaii Film Festival. When it comes to outdoor actives, one can often find him climbing trails, swimming, and posting adventures and scenery photos on Facebook.