LEDs or Fluorescents?
Our expert heralds the advance of LEDs while still preaching the fluorescent gospel.
 
The golden glow comes from a very energy-efficient, long-life LED linear light source.
Randall, speaking for the millions of people who get migraines from fluorescents, while I am all in favor of energy conservation, fluorescents make me sick, literally. Have you seen a traffic light lately? Not fluorescent. Been behind a new car when the brake lights went on? Not fluorescent. They’re all LEDs, which use less than one-third the energy of fluorescents and are more durable—not to mention the design flexibility. California’s new Title 24 will just make me homeless or a scofflaw. Why don’t you do a better job and not sell out the millions like me who can’t live with fluorescents, especially when there’s a much better alternative? Get a clue!
Believe it or not, I agree with what you are saying. I am a huge advocate of LED (light-emitting diode) sources. I really feel that this is where lighting technology should be headed. The initial stumbling block was that, until recently, there was not a white LED available, only red, blue, yellow and green diodes. These were great for traffic signals, indicator lights and the backlighting of colored signage but had little use in residential settings. Now that we have a white LED, it opens up a whole world of possibilities. The other upside of LEDs is that they emit no UV or heat and can last from 30,000 to 75,000 hours. One of the main problems we foresee is that the LED equivalents of incandescent bulbs have bases that match what they are replacing. California’s Title 24 demands that we can’t unscrew an energy-efficient bulb and replace it with an incandescent source. Now that hardwire LED fixtures are coming onto the market, with the help of manufacturers, we are convincing the inspectors to allow LEDs on projects. In response to your concern about fluorescents causing migraines, there is plenty of old fluorescent technology out there in existing buildings, and it is unfortunately still available on the market for new projects. These old styles with magnetic ballasts cause headache problems because they cycle (flicker) at an agonizingly slow 60 times a second. The new fluorescents with electronic ballasts cycle at 10,000 times a second, which makes a world of difference. Now, aren’t you sorry that you yelled at me?
randall_whitehead
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com and follow his blog www.lightmakesright.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Lastest from ask randall

It’s not so much the size of the mirror as it is the distance between the task lights. The optimum spacing between vanity lights is 36 inches. This... read full story
Although I'm a big advocate of LED lighting, if used in a very narrow vanity light, they might not be bright enough to provide adequate task lighting... read full story
The color quality of incandescent light is the standard to which all other alternative light sources are compared. Incandescent light has a CRI of... read full story
The lumen output does not affect the color temperature of the light source. It is actually the other way around. Layers of other materials such as... read full story

Webinars

Sponsored by Access Lighting, Engineered Lighting Products, Ferguson, GM Lighting and Maxim Lighting/ET2.   This webinar has already taken place, but you can view an... read full story
Sponsored by Access Lighting, AFX Inc., Engineered Lighting Products, Langlais Group and Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting.   This live webinar has already taken place, but... read full story
Sponsored by Access Lighting, Civilight, GM Lighting, Langlais Group Inc. and Nora Lighting.   Live webinar has taken place, but you can watch the archived webinar by... read full story