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Does Replacing Incandescent Lamps with CFL Lamps Save Energy?

Whether it does or not depends upon the application. Where lights are frequently switched on and off, it doesn’t. CFLs have other drawbacks also, including environmental and power quality issues.

What if the application involves lights that aren’t frequently switched on and off? Does it make sense to install CFLs? It might. But a lighting redesign is probably going to be more cost-effective. When you compare the efficiencies of compact fluorescents to their larger cousins, you find the latter to be much more energy-efficient.

Energy-efficiency isn’t the only reason to go with a lighting redesign. Lighting quality may be an even more compelling reason. A redesign is a chance to provide better overall lighting than you had with the old lighting system.

In many cases, workstations have task lighting to make up for inadequate overhead fluorescent lighting. Rather than have two lighting systems trying to do the job of one, just design a single lighting system that puts the lumens where people need them.

Wiring is also an issue. At a plastics plant in Kentucky, the maintenance department spent a weekend rewiring the overhead lights in one production building. On Monday, production workers were talking about how much better the “new lights” were. But these were the same lights. Only three things had changed:

  1. The lights were now on their own transformer and panel.
  2. The neutrals were larger.
  3. The runs were laid out to reduce voltage drop.

Source: Mark Lamendola | Mindconnection