We bid a less-than-fond farewell to wasteful 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs, following the disappearance of their equally inefficient 75- and 100-watt brethren over the past couple of years. The incorrect assumption would be that these old, inefficient forms of lighting are being replaced entirely by newer solid state technologies like CFL (compact fluorescent) and LED (light emitting diodes). In truth, though, incandescents aren’t actually going away; they’re merely being replaced by more efficient halogen bulbs that look the same and work much the same, but operate much more efficiently. The old 60-watt bulbs that will soon disappear from store shelves? As much as 90% of the energy you feed them is converted into heat, not light. The new halogen equivalents, by contrast, will deliver the same luminous output while only requiring between 40 and 45 watts of power.
That’s still a far cry from the 10 or so watts of power consumed by 60-watt equivalent LED bulbs. And LEDs are undoubtedly the light of the future. But we don’t live in the future just yet. And for the present, the lighting aisle at your favorite local store is likely a confusing, headache inducing mess. Especially if you rely on dimmers to further enhance energy efficiency and enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home’s lighting. Because even dimmable LED and CFL bulbs usually don’t dim well (or live very long) when used with lighting controls designed with those old, inefficient incandescent bulbs in mind.
It’s frustrating, right? And the problem is further compounded by the fact that most of us aren’t in the habit of replacing all of our light bulbs at once. What if you want to upgrade a bulb here, a bulb there, but still enjoy the energy-saving and lifestyle-enhancing benefits of dimming?
Thankfully you can with a new generation of lighting control products entering the market, like Control4’s new Gen 3 Wireless and Panelized lighting solutions, introduced earlier last year. There’s a lot to love about Control4’s new lighting products, from the scheduling capabilities – my own front porch light, for example, automatically turns itself on at sundown and off again at sunrise – to the automated events that are possible when all of the connected electronic devices in your home speak the same language. The dimmer in my home theater, for example, dials the lighting in the room down to a comfortable 30% automatically when I fire up my Blu-ray player.
But more so than that, what I love about the new lighting solutions from Control is that they take the guesswork out of shopping on the lighting aisle. Replace your old dimmer or light switch with the company’s new Adaptive Phase Dimmer and you’ll never have to worry again what sort of bulb to buy. Still holding onto those old incandescents? Not only will it work with them, it’ll extend their lives. Newer halogens? It’s got them covered. CFLs and LEDs? It’ll dim them like a champ. It’s even designed to work with electronic low voltage transformers and magnetic (iron core) low voltage transformers. And I don’t even know what those are.
So don’t be sad that those hot old energy-wasting incandescent bulbs are going the way of the dodo. The transition doesn’t have to be as hard as it’s made out to be. If you’re nostalgic for the lighting of the past, though, Control4 has whipped up a nice infographic bidding incandescent bulbs a fonder farewell than they deserve.
Infographic courtesy of Control4: