Survey: Incandescence vs Fluorescence ?


A few years ago when we bought our first compact fluorescents, there was an annoying lag before they came to full brightness. The colour temperature was far cooler than incandescent lights, and people did not look good under the lights. Now, they come on instantly, and the colour is close enough to the warmth of incandescent that I am sitting happily under it now.

That's why William Hamilton's article in yesterday's New York Times is so off base. "In trying to replace — depose — incandescent light bulb light, you're asking people to disengage from a gravitation as primal as the attraction to the sun's light or fire, which are incandescent. Like the bulb and its filament, they make light from heat, to create a glowing focal source, or a "flame.""More important, incandescence operates on the red, or warm, end of the color spectrum. Fluorescence works at the opposite end, with cool blue. Incandescent light burns warmly with radiance, like a flushed, happy face. It smolders, hearth-like, when it's dimmed. Fluorescent light coats surfaces coolly like ash, looks pale when dim. And not all bulbs will dim."

He goes on to say " fluorescent light's greatest setback in conquering the home might be its own great success with having conquered the workplace and other commercial spheres. People's associations with it are not only not good, they're actively bad. Anyone who has ever sat under flat fluorescent light in an office cubicle, a waiting room, a government bureau, a cheap restaurant or a dirty motel understands this pretty well. You equate fluorescent light with your boss, license renewal, indigestion and divorce. Not beautiful sunsets, blush wine, fireside s'mores, and candlelit dinner dates. An "incandescent" evening."

We disagree, and so does Russell Leslie, director of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "With current technology, you can't distinguish the difference unless you see the light bulb," he said. "We've done tests." ::New York Times

See also: Our Convenient Truths Contest with about $30,000 in prizes. Submit a video entry!

Related Content on