Bellacor promotes the fashionable look of energy-efficient lighting
Oct 05, 2006 | by Wendy Weinert
Mendota Heights, MN - Sept. 15, 2006 - Energy use is a hot topic these days, with an endless stream of stories and reports on the rise and fall of gas prices, the environmental impact of greenhouse-gas emissions, the new focus on conserving energy and fuel independence for the United States. When it comes to energy efficiency, one Minnesota company wants to make a difference.
Bellacor, the largest online retailer of lighting products and home furnishings, is featuring their selection of energy-efficient, decorative light fixtures for the month of October, designated Energy Month by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Consumers can upgrade the lights in their home for increased energy savings with the latest designs at www.bellacor.com.
Josephine Lowry, Senior Product Specialist for Bellacor, hopes customers will learn that the decorative options for compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are almost limitless. "Fifteen years ago, there wasn't much out there," she says. "Now you could do a whole house in fluorescents and still get a variety of colors and textures of light."
While CFLs have been around for decades, they weren't the first choice for most people. The light the bulbs cast was dim, they didn't always fit standard sockets and they didn't seem worth the expense. However, the quality and design of the CFLs have improved in the last few years. They now give off strong, unwavering light, come in shapes to fit most lamp and fixture designs and offer a variety of color tones for different applications.
CFLs come in three color tones; warm, cool white and daylight. Warm-tone CFLs are comparable to a "soft white" incandescent bulb, shedding flattering light for skin tones, wood and furnishings. Cool white tones have a bluish cast, giving a clear, bright light for garages, kitchens or workshops. Daylight CFLs are the brightest of the three, and are often used in retail stores and art galleries.
"Fluorescents can be used almost anywhere," says Lowry. "Fixtures using CFLs can be used indoors or outdoors, upstairs or downstairs. The big lighting designers are making beautiful styles - anywhere you want to put lamp or wire in a fixture, you can choose one that's energy efficient and still have the room look great."
The biggest reason for choosing CFLs is the energy savings. While the up-front cost of a CFL is more than an incandescent bulb, their increased efficiency reduces electricity use by 75-80%, which means they pay for themselves in just few months. Plus, those first few months are just a start - compact fluorescents are rated to run for 8,000-12,000 hours. This means that even with hours of daily use, they can last five, seven and even 10 years or more.
The cost for compact fluorescents is continually going down, as well. Early CFLs cost around $25 per bulb, and while they still paid for themselves in electricity savings, they weren't attractive to most people looking to replace a burned-out incandescent. Modern innovations and new technology have streamlined CFL design and have also brought down the cost to a fraction of the price, and a single bulb can now be under $3.00.
Bellacor stocks a wide selection of fluorescent lighting fixtures and Energy Star products, and Lowry hopes promoting Energy Month will encourage customers to give them a try. "Energy Month is a great reason to try a new fluorescent light fixture," she says. "If people could start by simply replacing one or two lights in their homes, it could make a huge impact on energy use in our country."
That impact on energy savings is staggering. If every one of 110 million American homes replaced a single 60-watt incandescent fixture with one using a compact fluorescent, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people, or the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the road with the reduction in oil usage and greenhouse gas emissions.