Energy saver bulbs last longer and are less costly, but could they also be giving off a type of light that causes our eyes to strain more? I'm sure the light given off by the old-school incandescent bulbs is much more similar to that our ancestors would have ever been exposed too.
I notice a significant eye discomfort stepping out of dusk into a a room with energy saver bulbs compared to stepping out of dusk into a room with incandescents. Is it just me?
Incandescent bulbs give off the same type of light as the sun. It's natural light. Our eyes evolved in this kind of light.
Fluorescent bulbs are different.
Both sunlight and incandescent light are continuous spectrum. That means they are a blend of all possible colors within a certain range. At sunrise or sunset, when sunlight becomes reddish, it is very similar to incandescent light.
Fluorescent light is not continuous spectrum. Its spectrum is uneven. It includes large amounts of a few colors and smaller amounts of the colors in between.
These pictures tell the story. They show the colors produced by each kind of bulb. If we had a picture of sunlight early or late in the day, it would look similar to the picture on the left.
I'm not defending the incandescent ban, because I think it's government intrusion into our lives, but I used to do research into energy efficient lighting.
Over the lifetime of an incandescent lamp, more mercury is emitted into the atmosphere through the power plant emissions (because the lower efficiency requires more electricity) than is contained in the compact fluorescent lamp. And the mercury that power plants emit is the "bio-available" type that ends up in the water and is taken up by organisms. Most of the mercury in lamps is not.
That's not much consolation if one breaks on your floor, however.
And the light quality is another issue, although if you pay more, you get a fuller spectrum. If you buy bargain-basement CFLs, the color quality is horrendous.
LED's will solve the mercury issue, but will not solve the color issue. They are generating light in the same way as fluorescents, where a light source, the diode, produces a single color, and then phosphors convert the light (UV or blue in today's technology) into red, green, and blue to simulate a full spectrum. So you will still get the discontinuous spectrum that a fluorescent produces. But, no mercury, and virtually infinite life, which is nice.
Interesting website exploring the spectrum of different household lights:
No, its not just you...they hurt my eyes, too, and I won't use them. I'm going to be looking into getting LED lightbulbs, or think about getting oil lamps, like the Amish use. But I absolutely refuse to have those twirly bulbs in my house.
My favorite bulbs are the bt15 halogen types in 100watts as well as a 300w halogen 79mm r7s bulb in a torchiere lamp. The color temperature is slightly higher than a standard incandescent and thus less amber in appearance.
One thing that people overlook when buying "energy-efficient" bulbs is that for a significant part of the year, at least at my latitude, we're using electric heat to warm the place anyway. If 90% of my bulb's energy is turned into heat, that just means that I have to use 90 less watts of my heater. It's all the same result. Obviously this changes when it's warm and if the bulbs are outside etc.
I do not like those eco friendly light bulbs either, it's ugly light and bothers my eyes. My son has something called sensory processing disorder (it goes along with autism spectrum disorders) and those fluorescent lights make it really hard for him to focus and make him extremely irritated.
Interesting. I certainly prefer the light from incandescent bulbs, but have switched to compact fluorescents for almost every light in my house. They use a fraction of the electricity. Mountaintop removal coal mining, coal-fired power plants, and nuclear power plants aren't very paleo. I prefer to look at the bigger picture: how do my decisions affect not just me, but my family, my community, and the whole world. I know I'm not exactly changing the world by changing a light bulb, but I try to make as small an impact as possible, environment-wise.
The light-spectrum stuff posted above was intriguing, though....
I have preferred the CFL white(or blue as its called) for the longest time to yellow light by incan. Might have something to do with being used to LCD screens most of which use CCFL backlights.
I never get that tired/sore eyes feeling and redness like i would with CRT monitors, .
Mercury is used alot for industrial and commercial purposes, i would take out your hate on the canned tuna before CFL, your directly ingesting the former.
And for those worried about the spectral analysis of the light not being normal, go outside!
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