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Compact Fluorescent Lamps

CFL Questions and Answers
Compact fluorescent lamps can be the best things to happen to your home because CFLs save energy, last a long time, are environmentally friendly and have a cool operating temperature so they don't heat your house. Unfortunately, many people are discouraged from buying CFLs due to price, color, appearance, brightness, flicker, hum, or a dozen other reasons. With the improvement in CFL technology over the past few years, these problems can be easily avoided. The Lighting Systems Research Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory answers all the key questions about CFL's:

Longer-lasting Subcompact Fluorescent 
Lamps (CFLs) Available for $4.95

Introducing energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) into your home, business, or energy-efficiency program just got easier. A group of lighting manufacturers are offering sub-compact fluorescent lamps (sub-CFLs) through a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program designed to bring new and shorter lamps to market. The sub-CFLs are energy-efficient and long lasting, plus they fit into most incandescent fixtures!

Now they can be ordered directly from the manufacturer at very competitive prices. To stimulate the market for sub-CFLs, suppliers are selling the lamps at specially arranged prices directly to volume buyers such as multi-family building owners/operators, universities, public housing authorities, hotel/motel companies, federal agencies, and lighting product resellers.

The suppliers are offering 15- to 26-watt sub-CFLs for as low as $4.95 for volume purchases, including delivery. Smaller orders may cost slightly more. Suppliers will deliver a minimum order of six lamps to locations in the United States and U.S. Territories. (The sub-CFLs carry an unconditional one-year warranty among the best in the industry).

The bulbs are available as a result of a technology procurement organized by DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for the Office of Building Technology, State and Community Programs. (Technology procurement is a method for speeding the market introduction of new technologies using competitive solicitations backed by large volume purchases.)

In cooperation with the volume purchasers, DOE/PNNL has developed a complete and detailed set of technical specifications for the lamps. PNNL signed agreements with companies that submitted the most attractive offers in an open competition to supply sub-CFLs for the program. Participating companies include JKRL USA, Lights of America, and Sunpark Electronics.

Specifications include:

  1. Maximum overall length (MOL) 4.7 in. 119 mm to 5.8 in. 147 mm
  2. Maximum overall width (MOW) 2.28 in. 57 mm to 2.64 in. 67.0 mm
  3. Medium screw-base, self-ballast
  4. 8,000 to 10,000 hours rated life both mid-power factor (>0.5) and high power factor (>0.9)/low total
  5. Harmonic distortion (33% maximum) lamps
  6. Minimum 60 lumens per Watt efficacy
  7. Minimum starting temperature of not higher than -20F (-29C)
  8. Correlated color temperature between 2,700 and 3,000K
  9. Minimum color rendering index of 82 instant (<1 second) "on"

What Is Different About These Sub-CFLs?

The lower-cost, shorter sub-CFLs screw into conventional sockets and fit inside most existing fixtures. In addition, these CFLs:

  1. Produce enough light to replace standard 60- to 100-watt incandescent light bulbs
  2. Use one-fourth to one-third as much energy
  3. Last 8 to 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs
  4. Save more than $15 per year on average per retrofitted applications (used 12 hours per day), and
  5. Pay back their cost in 6 months.

For additional information, or to comment about this program, contact Kathi Ruiz of the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) at (503) 417-7551.


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