Energy-saving lamps: pros and cons

Our life cannot be imagined without artificial lighting. For life and work, people simply need lighting using lamps. Previously, only ordinary incandescent bulbs were used for this.


The principle of operation of incandescent lamps is based on the conversion of electrical energy passing through the filament into light. In incandescent lamps, a tungsten filament is heated to a bright glow by the action of an electric current. The temperature of the heated filament reaches 2600-3000 degrees C. The flasks of incandescent lamps are evacuated or filled with an inert gas, in which the tungsten filament is not oxidized: nitrogen; argon; krypton; mixture of nitrogen, argon, xenon. Incandescent lamps get very hot during operation. 


Every year, the needs of mankind for electricity increase more and more. As a result of the analysis of the prospects for the development of lighting technologies, the experts recognized the replacement of obsolete incandescent lamps with energy-saving lamps as the most progressive direction. Experts believe that the reason for this is the significant superiority of the latest generation of energy-saving lamps over “hot” lamps. 


Energy-saving lamps are called fluorescent lamps, which are included in the broad category of gas-discharge light sources. Discharge lamps, unlike incandescent lamps, emit light due to an electric discharge passing through the gas that fills the lamp space: the ultraviolet glow of the gas discharge is converted into light visible to us. 


Energy-saving lamps consist of a flask filled with mercury vapor and argon, and a ballast (starter). A special substance called a phosphor is applied to the inner surface of the flask. Under the action of high voltage in the lamp, the movement of electrons occurs. The collision of electrons with mercury atoms produces invisible ultraviolet radiation, which, passing through the phosphor, is converted into visible light.


Пbenefits of energy saving lamps


The main advantage of energy-saving lamps is their high luminous efficiency, which is several times higher than that of incandescent lamps. The energy-saving component lies precisely in the fact that the maximum of the electricity supplied to the energy-saving lamp turns into light, while in incandescent lamps up to 90% of the electricity is spent simply on heating the tungsten wire. 


Another undoubted advantage of energy-saving lamps is their service life, which is determined by a period of time from 6 to 15 thousand hours of continuous burning. This figure exceeds the service life of conventional incandescent lamps by about 20 times. The most common cause of incandescent bulb failure is a burnt filament. The mechanism of the energy-saving lamp avoids this problem, so that they have a longer service life. 


The third advantage of energy-saving lamps is the ability to choose the color of the glow. It can be of three types: daytime, natural and warm. The lower the color temperature, the closer the color is to red; the higher, the closer to blue. 


Another advantage of energy-saving lamps is their low heat emission, which allows the use of high power compact fluorescent lamps in fragile wall lamps, lamps and chandeliers. It is impossible to use incandescent lamps with a high heating temperature in them, since the plastic part of the cartridge or the wire may melt. 


The next advantage of energy-saving lamps is that their light is distributed softer, more evenly than that of incandescent lamps. This is due to the fact that in an incandescent lamp, light comes only from a tungsten filament, while an energy-saving lamp glows over its entire area. Due to the more even distribution of light, energy-saving lamps reduce the fatigue of the human eye. 


Disadvantages of energy saving lamps


Energy-saving lamps also have disadvantages: their warm-up phase lasts up to 2 minutes, that is, they will need some time to develop their maximum brightness. Also, energy-saving lamps flicker.


Another disadvantage of energy-saving lamps is that a person can be no closer than 30 centimeters away from them. Due to the high level of ultraviolet radiation of energy-saving lamps, when placed close to them, people with excessive skin sensitivity and those who are prone to dermatological diseases can be harmed. However, if a person is at a distance no closer than 30 centimeters from the lamps, no harm is done to him. It is also not recommended to use energy-saving lamps with a power of more than 22 watts in residential premises, because. this can also negatively affect people whose skin is very sensitive. 


Another disadvantage is that energy-saving lamps are not adapted to operate in a low temperature range (-15-20ºC), and at elevated temperatures, the intensity of their light emission decreases. The service life of energy-saving lamps significantly depends on the mode of operation, in particular, they do not like frequent switching on and off. The design of energy-saving lamps does not allow their use in luminaires where there are light level controls. When the mains voltage drops by more than 10%, energy-saving lamps simply do not light up. 


The disadvantages include the content of mercury and phosphorus, which, although in very small quantities, are present inside energy-saving lamps. This is of no importance when the lamp is operating, but can be dangerous if it is broken. For the same reason, energy-saving lamps can be classified as environmentally harmful, and therefore they require special disposal (they cannot be thrown into the garbage chute and street garbage containers). 


Another disadvantage of energy-saving lamps compared to traditional incandescent lamps is their high price.


Energy saving strategies of the European Union


In December 2005, the EU issued a directive obliging all its member countries to develop national energy efficiency action plans (EEAPs – Energie-Effizienz-Actions-Plane). In accordance with EEAPs, in the next 9 years (from 2008 to 2017), each of the 27 EU countries must achieve at least 1% annually in electricity savings in all sectors of its consumption. 


On the instructions of the European Commission, the EEAPs implementation scheme was developed by the Wuppertal Institute (Germany). Starting from 2011, all EU countries are obliged to strictly comply with these obligations. The development and monitoring of the implementation of plans to improve the energy efficiency of artificial lighting systems is entrusted to a specially created working group – ROMS (Roll out Member States). It was formed in early 2007 by the European Union of Lighting Manufacturers and Components (CELMA) and the European Union of Light Source Manufacturers (ELC). According to the estimated estimates of experts from these unions, all 27 EU countries, through the introduction of energy-efficient lighting equipment and systems, have real opportunities for a total reduction in CO2 emissions by almost 40 million tons/year, of which: 20 million tons/year of CO2 – in the private sector; 8,0 million tons/year of CO2 – in public buildings for various purposes and in the service sector; 8,0 million tons/year of CO2 – in industrial buildings and small industries; 3,5 million tons/year of CO2 – in outdoor lighting installations in cities. Energy savings will also be facilitated by the introduction into the practice of designing lighting installations of new European lighting standards: EN 12464-1 (Lighting of indoor workplaces); EN 12464-2 (Lighting of outdoor workplaces); EN 15193-1 (Energy assessment of buildings – Energy requirements for lighting – assessment of the energy demand for lighting). 


In accordance with Article 12 of the ESD Directive (Energy Services Directive), the European Commission delegated to the European Committee for Standardization in Electrical Engineering (CENELEC) the mandate to develop specific energy saving standards. These standards should provide for harmonized methods for calculating the energy efficiency characteristics of both buildings as a whole and individual products, installations and systems in a complex of engineering equipment.


The Energy Action Plan presented by the European Commission in October 2006 set out stringent energy efficiency standards for 14 product groups. The list of these products was increased to 20 positions at the beginning of 2007. Lighting devices for street, office and domestic use were classified as goods subject to special control for energy saving. 


In June 2007, European lighting manufacturers released details regarding the phasing out of low-efficiency light bulbs for domestic use and their complete withdrawal from the European market by 2015. According to the calculations, this initiative will result in a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions (by 23 megatons per year) from household lighting, saving about 7 billion euros or 63 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year. 


EU Commissioner for Energy Affairs Andris Piebalgs expressed satisfaction with the initiative put forward by lighting equipment manufacturers. In December 2008, the European Commission decided to phase out incandescent light bulbs. According to the adopted resolution, light sources that consume a lot of electricity will be replaced by energy-saving ones gradually:


September 2009 – frosted and transparent incandescent lamps over 100 W are prohibited; 


September 2010 – transparent incandescent lamps over 75 W are not allowed;


September 2011 – transparent incandescent lamps over 60 W are prohibited;


September 2012 – a ban on transparent incandescent lamps over 40 and 25 W is introduced;


September 2013 – strict requirements for compact fluorescent lamps and LED luminaires are introduced; 


September 2016 – strict requirements for halogen lamps are introduced. 


According to experts, as a result of the transition to energy-saving light bulbs, electricity consumption in European countries will decrease by 3-4%. French Energy Minister Jean-Louis Borlo has estimated the potential for energy savings at 40 terawatt-hours per year. Almost the same amount of savings will come from the decision taken earlier by the European Commission to phase out traditional incandescent lamps in offices, factories and on the streets. 


Energy saving strategies in Russia


In 1996, the Law “On Energy Saving” was adopted in Russia, which, for a number of reasons, did not work. In November 2008, the State Duma adopted in the first reading the draft law “On Energy Saving and Increasing Energy Efficiency”, which provides for the introduction of energy efficiency standards for devices with a power of more than 3 kW. 


The purpose of introducing the norms provided for by the draft law is to increase energy efficiency and stimulate energy saving in the Russian Federation. According to the draft law, state regulation measures in the field of energy conservation and energy efficiency are carried out by establishing: a list of indicators for assessing the effectiveness of the activities of executive authorities of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and local governments in the field of energy saving and energy efficiency; requirements for the production and circulation of energy devices; restrictions (prohibition) in the field of production for the purpose of selling in the territory of the Russian Federation and circulation in the Russian Federation of energy devices that allow unproductive consumption of energy resources; requirements for accounting for the production, transmission and consumption of energy resources; requirements for energy efficiency for buildings, structures and structures; requirements for the content and timing of energy saving measures in the housing stock, including for citizens – owners of apartments in apartment buildings; requirements for mandatory dissemination of information in the field of energy conservation and energy efficiency; requirements for the implementation of information and educational programs in the field of energy conservation and energy efficiency. 


On July 2, 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, speaking at a meeting of the Presidium of the State Council on improving the energy efficiency of the Russian economy, did not rule out that in Russia, in order to increase energy efficiency, a ban on the circulation of incandescent lamps would be introduced. 


In turn, Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina, following a meeting of the Presidium of the State Council of the Russian Federation, announced that a ban on the production and circulation of incandescent lamps with a power of more than 100 W could be introduced from January 1, 2011. According to Nabiullina, the corresponding measures are envisaged by the draft law on energy efficiency, which is being prepared for the second reading.

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