A Greener Indiana

Everybody can do something to make a greener Indiana

I keep seeing CFL light bulbs as the go-to photograph when people talk about going green. It's my industry, I know it and I know it well, and quite frankly, it absolutely makes me cringe.
That CFL light bulb represents an 'in the meantime' technology, that's not the most efficient, that contains mercury, that many refuse to use anyways because of its downfalls (not instant on, hard to dim, bad CRI, non-consistent color temperature) and that will be leapfrogged sooner than later (think cassette tapes). It's NOT the answer and I hate that everyone who wants to be green, who says they're green, who wants to be an expert on becoming green toss around using CFL as a place where everyone can start when it's simply put: not.
Does this mean I have all of the answers? OF COURSE I DO. And while I'm at I'll solve world hunger, give you the meaning of life, oh, and tell you where to find your soul mate if you're single. Okay, maybe I overstepped my boundaries a little...one thing at a time. But back to what I know and what I know well, and that's lighting and what's more...I know LED LIGHTING.
Now you're thinking about those landscape lights you bought last year at your home improvement store that really didn't perform. You're thinking about your flash light that's really too blue. You're thinking about how they're too expensive for you and your millionaire great aunt. Guess what, whatever you think, you are probably a little right and a little wrong, but great news...I'm here to help.
If you have one of these applications, take note:
Undercabinet Lighting. Cove Lighting. Recessed Downlights (6", 5" or 4" round). 2x2 troffers. Landscape Lighting.
These are all available NOW, they're all relatively affordable (and I'm not saying only Oprah or Bill Gates could afford), and I can recommend products. If you have already gone to CFL or feel like you're been peer pressured into doing it, please hear me out.

LED lighting for white light applications and general illumination is here, it's ready, and it's affordable. If you're trying to be more energy efficient, LED is typically HALF the energy as a CFL would be, plus it's dimmable, better color quality, instant on and more. If you're trying to lower toxins into our landfills, do not buy CFL, they contain mercury, which LEDs do not contain, and the typical homeowner will not properly dispose of CFL, thus, putting the mercury right into the trash...landfills...you know the story.
In the days/weeks to come, I will be happy to answer questions anyone may have on LED technology, the past, present or future. I will explore some products, give the benefits, and explain what I mean when I say they're better than CFL (instant on, CRI, dimmable, etc). We were here for the birth and are now experiencing the fundamental growth-spurt of this wonderful technology and I'm here to share my knowledge and dialogue with anyone who'd like to discuss.
If nothing else, just know that we do need to change, we do need to be energy efficient, there are times and places for CFL(few and far between), but CFL -- NOT the answer.

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Comment by Greg Gunthorp on June 22, 2009 at 9:57pm
Isn't the place to start with LED lighting the place in the house that you have the lights on the most? If you want to make the biggest impact on the environment?
Comment by Eric Stallsmith on May 21, 2009 at 12:57pm
I was wondering if anybody ever heard of using natural light corridors to light a building....I have seen systems that "duct" light to rooms and diffuse it for natural lighting....It would be great to be able to switch on a bank of High lumen LEDs and substitute that for the sun to light your building night or day with the same "plumbing".
Comment by Tammi Myers on May 21, 2009 at 8:34am
Cara, If you have an extra $1000 just sitting around, I know of a really fabulous LED filled closet rod you can get! Could you even imagine?!!
By way of closet, there is cove lighting, downlights, or even undercabinet fixtures (you could put above the door trim on the inside of the closet, that may all work. It would probably depend on what you already have in there, how much light you need/want, how big it is, etc. If it's a small-med sized closet already with a light bulb in the center of the ceiling, you could add an LED downlight by using a remodel housing, about $100 for parts, and if you are or you have someone around handy enough to install, even better!
As far as "track" goes, if you're talking about a residential track system, maybe using 20-50W MR16 lamps, then I have good news and bad news. The good news is there are lots of LED replacement bulbs out there, the bad news is that the good ones have only really gotten up to 20W (bad news#2 is that there are a LOT of bad products out there, bad by way of not living up to long lamp life because of heat issues and bad color temperature). Light fair (lighting industry's trade show) this year had a lot of versions of Par38 lamp replacements in LED. If you're talking about larger track heads (or downlights) that would accept this type of lamp I can definitely lead you to a couple of lamps out now that have my support.

Tom, thanks for your comment, it's great that the word of LED is spreading. I'm in the lighting business and I work on projects with LED lighting daily, and with all the misconceptions out there, with all of the outlandish and crazy comments I hear (similar to 15 years ago grandparents saying "you kids and these strange computer things you're all wanting to buy"), all the bandwagon jumping manufacturers (who aren't educated or weren't ready), I simply needed to find an outlet to discuss, help, start discussions...something! Ah...behold the power of blogging!
Comment by Tom Butler on May 21, 2009 at 2:29am
LED lights do whatever you want with them. I recently learned much about them looking into algal growth with them. It's not "thermodynamicall correct" to use them for growing purposes, but I did learn all about them. They are super awesome and small enough to do whatever you want with them. The larger energy ones are so powerful that you need to be very careful not to shine directly into someone's eyes w/o diffusion and also lots of heat sinking required or they will burn up.
Comment by Mrs. Cara Dafforn on May 20, 2009 at 8:16pm
Thank you for your viewpoint and for discussing mercury in CFL bulbs. Does LED Technology come in the form of "track"? How would you integrate LED lighting into a closet?

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