4 Tips on Buying CFLs for Your Business

4 Tips on Buying CFLs for Your Business

In this tight economy, businesses are increasingly looking for ways to cut operational expenses and provide service to their customers. One area that offers opportunities to save now is lighting for your offices and buildings.

Starting in January 2012, all lamp technology sold in the U.S., including both incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) will be required to meet efficiency requirements set by the Energy Independence Security Act.

Currently most incandescent bulbs do not meet these requirements leaving room for the growing CFL market to brighten. A money-saving and environmentally friendly way to do so is to start to convert your building's lighting to CFLs.

According to Energy Star, each CFL bulb installed saves an average of $5.41 in energy costs, 51 kilowatt hours and 78 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year. The number of CFL shipments has grown tremendously from 21 million lamps in 2000 to 397 million lamps in 2007.

Below are some tips from testing and certification organization CSA International on what to look for when purchasing CFLs:

1. Choose only a CFL that is certified by a nationally recognized testing and certification organization to ensure it has been tested and certified to the applicable standards for safety and performance. A certification mark should appear on both the product and the packaging.

2. Choose an Energy Star qualified CFL to ensure it will provide the greatest amount of energy savings. Energy Star Qualified CFLs also have a minimum two-year warranty.

3. Choose the bulb that best suits the fixture. CFLs with globes are available in various sizes and shapes to fit most fixtures. They look similar to traditional incandescent bulbs and may look better in fixtures with exposed bulbs.

4. Determine how much light is needed. Check you fixture to ensure the light is the proper size and wattage. Light output is described as "brightness" and is measured in lumens.

The chart below shows the energy use in watts of an incandescent light compared to the energy use of a standard CFL for the same amount of brightness.


Richard McNitt is the business development manager for CSA International's lighting sector, where he works to balance the changing nature of technology and the safety needs of regulators with the needs of consumers.

Image courtesy of the
U.S. Department of Energy