Morgan Hope

Compare Technologies

It is always wise to compare technologies. We have too. The differences are staggering. For example:

• Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are a major hazard to dispose of especially when they break. They contain mercury and phosphor –in quantities sufficient to contaminate 30,000 litres of drinking water to below the EU recommended safety level.

• Halogen lamps waste 90% of the energy that they consume, by turning it into heat not light.

• Here is a table which briefly sets out the differences between halogens, CFLs and LEDs.

Lamp Equivalent Chart

Lamp Equivalents




Life Expectancy

2,000 to 5,000 Hrs

8,000 to 15,000 Hrs

30,000 to 50,000 Hrs

Kilowatt/hrs pa x 10 Lamps (kWh per year = 8560)

2,996.00 kWh

77.04 kWh

42.80 kWh

Carbon Emissions *10 Lamps

0.023 tonnes

0.001 tonnes

0.0003 tonnes

Health Effects

UV rays, IR effects, SAD Syndrome

UV rays, IR effects

No UV, No IR


Via Landfill

Compliance with WEEE Directive - Specialist Disposal

Via Landfill

Colour Rendition

Restricted colour options

or Filters Required

Restricted colour options

or Filters Required

Wide range of colours



Restricted Possibility



Sensitive, Breakable

Sensitive, Breakable

Robust, Solid State

Start-up Time

Almost immediate



Cost of Ownership






Specialist Disposal



Resonably Safe

Mercury, Phosphor

None = Safe

Light Efficiency

25 lumens / watt

50 lumens / watt

40 lumens / watt

Energy Efficiency




European Lamp Companies Federation (ELC)
On 5th June 2007 the ELC (the group representing the main lighting manufacturers such as GE, Havells Sylvania, Osram, Philips) published its strategy for domestic lighting in the form of a Frequently Asked Question & Answer paper on energy efficient lamps. Here are some of the tips and advice they specify:

"CFLs and Mercury"

"A big issue in the uptake of CFL is is their mercury content"
“When the lamps are in a cold state, mercury is present in the form of small mercury droplets or as a solid amalgam of mercury/iron pellets in the bulb. When the lamp is switched on, the mercury vaporizes as the temperature of the bulb rises and the mercury vapour needed for the discharge fills the entire bulb. MERCURY IS RELEASED IF THE LAMP BREAKS.”

“What do I do with a CFL when it burns out? What is the proper procedure?
In Europe all CFL lamps have to be disposed as special waste... under the WEEE Directive the European lighting industry has set up a European-wide recycling infrastructure for all CFLs.

Can LEDs be used as an energy saving alternative to inefficient domestic lamps?
"...LED technology is currently being used in some specific applications ... . and offers great potential for the future of lighting"
Compare Technologies

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