The lion’s share of electricity consumed at most homes and business goes toward lighting and space cooling. We seem to be moving in the right direction on lighting as the highly efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) become much more popular. An equal improvement in efficiency comes in the form of the long fluorescent tubes we’ve all grown up with. The older style T12 lamp with its often noisy magnetic ballast is quite inefficient. The newer and much more efficient lamp is the T8. The number, by the way, refers to the lamp diameter in eights of an inch. This smaller diameter lamp produces substantially more light and uses less electricity. They also look the same and fit into fixtures that are nearly identical to the outdated style. Imagine my amazement when I walked into my local Home Improvement store, looking for new lights, only to find an impressive display of fixtures, using the old inefficient T12 lamps!!! Let’s see, new T8 lamps, less electricity, more light, no more cost, looks the same, aaaaahhhh! We still don’t get it.

So here’s more information to help shed light on light bulb confusion, save money and the environment…

Lighting is a critical component of every business. For more information on T8’s and all types of lighting for the work place, click here for more Energy Star online information.

FAQ’s on Compact Fluorescent lights (CFLs) from Energy Star, including comparison to traditional bulbs, how to clean up and dispose of CFL’s and mercury emissions comparisons, June 2008.

You will find tons of information on Wikipedia including history, manufacturing, colors and lots of links for CFLs.

“One Energy Star qualified bulb can save about $30 or more in energy costs over its lifetime. The average home has approximately 30 light fixtures. If every U.S. household replaced just one light bulb or fixture with an Energy Star, our country would save more than $600 million each year in energy costs and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of more than 800,000 cars.” Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, January 18, 2008

Join the Energy Star Change a Light campaign, which has received more than 1 million pledges from Americans across the country to change nearly 4 million light bulbs to Energy Star CFLs, equating to potential savings of more than $100 million in energy costs and the prevention of more than 1.5 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. To join Americans already taking the ENERGY STAR Change a Light, Change the World pledge, visit

By Michael Murray, Director, HelioEMS, an Energy Management Solutions Company