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Green Lighting

            Green initiatives in corporate and at home lifestyles are becoming more popular in Lancaster County as well as around the world. More specifically, eco friendly lighting in households and in corporate settings are becoming the new standard of lighting because of the many benefits they have to offer. An explanation of why we should conserve electricity will help readers to appreciate the importance of green lighting. Starting with identifying the problem of wasting this non-renewable energy source, this site will be taking a closer look at what green lighting is, how it works, and the advantages of switching. Materials used in green lighting that are beneficial to both the environment and the consumer will be introduced as well as evaluating their effects on sustainability. Lumen Logix, a national distributor that provides services around the world will be introduced because of their excellence in the knowledge and application of green lighting for high bay areas.

Examples of green lighting in Lancaster, PA

Lumen Logix

Why switch to green lighting?

What is green lighting?

How green bulbs work

The Different Types of Green Bulbs

Estimating Your ROI (Return on Investment) Cost Analysis

Tips on How to reduce electrical lighting usage

Recycling Mercury-Containing Light Bulbs

Examples of green lighting in Lancaster, PA

There are many different examples of green light implementation all around Lancaster city. Here are some places that are on PPL electric’s honor roll for taking steps in reducing their impact on the environment involving energy saving lighting:

1. Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park: This amusement park recently installed energy efficient lighting including the use of LEDs.

2. East Lampeter Township: This township recently installed LEDs into their traffic signals.

3. Goodhart Sons, Inc.: This company installed energy efficient bulbs, fixtures, and timers.

4. Lancaster General Hospital

5. Royer’s Flowers and Gifts: This company replaced old fluorescent lights with new, energy efficient CFLs.

Lumen Logix           

Lumen Logix is a company that was introduced a couple years ago and is headed by Scott McCaffrey, who is both president and CEO of the organization. Lumen Logix is a national distributor that provides services not only in the U.S., but all around the world as well. According to the Lumen Logix website, their goal is to support customers through innovative lighting solutions and smart business tools that reduce energy consumption and operating costs.

            Lumen Logix has contributed to the Lancaster community by replacing lights at the Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster City, and the softball field lights at Millersville University. Using metal halides for both the Clipper Magazine Stadium and the MU softball field, Lumen Logix has provided an energy efficient light source. The installation of these green lighting solutions will help the Clipper Magazine Stadium and Millersville University save a large portion of money each year they are in use. Other customers of Lumen Logix have found savings up to 70% in energy and maintenance costs, a system pay back in one to three years, and a budget-neutral purchase, which is a system cost that is covered through savings.

Lumen Logix lighting at the Millersville University softball field.

Lumen Logix ligting at the Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster City.

Why switch to green lighting?

According to the International Dark-Sky Association, which is an environmental group located in Arizona, the U.S. wastes about one third of all lighting. Because electricity is generated by fossil fuels (coal and oil), we end up releasing about 14.1 million tons of CO2 per year into the atmosphere. These CO2 emissions contribute to global warming, which is harmful to our environment. Since wasted light is wasted energy and can have a profound effect on our environment, you can do your part by purchasing lighting products to reduce your impact on our world.

What is Green lighting?

Green lighting or eco-friendly lighting is a relatively simple concept that encompasses energy saving bulbs that can last several time greater than non-green bulbs, light fixtures that are made from recycled products, and changing our daily habits to reduce our electrical usage. This site will be discussing important concepts in green lighting such as:

  • How green lighting works

  • The different kinds of green lighting materials, including different bulbs and fixtures

  • Advantages of going green

  • Tips on how to reduce electrical usage

  • A cost analysis

  • And where to find green lighting materials

How green bulbs work

The inner workings of a green bulb is quite simple. Bulbs like CFL’s, T5’s, and T8’s all have a common component: Mercury. Mercury emits light when excited which causes it to glow and has been made more efficient through the use of electronic ballasts, which are devices used to operate fluorescent lamps and high intensity discharge lamps such as metal halides and high pressure sodium lamps. They provide the necessary starting voltage, while limiting and regulating the lamp current during the operation.

            Green bulbs are considered eco friendly because they emit the same amount of light, only at a lower wattage. Take for example an incandescent bulb: a traditional 100-watt light bulb requires a 100 watts to light, but a green bulb can put out the same amount of energy at a lower wattage. Incandescent bulbs are by far the least eco friendly bulb a person can buy because they require a lot of energy, most of which is wasted. Only 5% of energy used by incandescents is converted to visible light, while the remaining 95% is converted to radiant energy, or heat. They only have a rated lamp life of 1,000-6,000 hours, which in comparison to green bulbs, is very poor and can cost the consumer more money in the long run because they will have to replace the bulbs more frequently. Although they do have their strengths such as a good CRI of about 95+, the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 legislated standard incandescent bulbs out of production by 2009 due to their low energy efficiency. With this in mind, it is easy to see how much green bulbs can save, not only in the means of energy but for your electric bill as well.

The Different Types of Green Bulbs

Before going into the different green bulbs, we need to first discuss some important terms that will be used. First is the lamp lumen depreciation factor (LLD). This is important when discussing bulbs because it represents the reduction of lumen output over time, lumen meaning the unit of light flow. The lumen rating of a lamp is a measure of the total light output of the lamp, so the depreciation is an important aspect of learning about bulbs. The second term that will appear frequently is the color rendering index, or CRI. The CRI is a scale of the effect of a light source on the color appearance of an object compared to its color appearance under a reference light. The CRI is expressed on a scale of 1 to 100, 100 indicating no color shift. A low CRI rating suggests that the colors of objects under the light source will appear unnatural and will be unappealing to the human eye. When thinking about which bulb would give you the most bang for your buck, here are a couple different options:

1.You can buy a CFL (Compact Fluorescent light bulb). The CFL bulb is one of the most popular green bulbs to buy because not only do they have a rated life of 10,000 hours, but they use less electricity to supply the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb. CFLs cost more than an incandescent, but they pay for their higher price after about 500 hours. CFLs also have a good CRI of about 85. CFLs also come in different types, each sporting a different shape.
            a. Twin tube bulbs- these use two twin bulbs that run together vertically.
            b. Quad tube bulbs- these types of bulbs use four bulbs that run together vertically.
            c. Triple biax bulbs- these create even more light because it’s a shorter bulb.
            d. Spiral bulbs- these are the most popular type of CFL because they are the most similar to incandescent bulbs.
            e. F bulbs- these are two twin bulbs that run together horizontally.
            f. Circular bulbs- these are made for lamps that use circular light.
            CFLs are primarily used for low bay applications such as office applications of for personal use.

An Example of a CFL bulb that you can buy at any lighting store

2. LEDs (Light Emitting Diode)- LEDs are an illumination technology that has a rated life of greater than 80 years. LEDs have a good color temperature and have a wide range of colors available. They have an extremely long lamp life expectancy of 40,000 to 50,000 hours. LEDs differ from CFLs because they concentrate light in a specific direction whereas CFLs emit light and heat in all directions. LEDs overall use light and energy more efficiently, however they are very expensive and are still in the development stage. There is also a high glare effect when using LEDs and they can put out more heat than power.
LEDs are starting to gain popularity in cities, for example in East Lampeter Township, they have started installing LEDs in traffic lights. LED Christmas lights have also become increasingly more popular throughout the years because they help homes and business to save money on their electric bill. Since LED Christmas lights use a significantly less amount of wattage compared to the traditional Christmas lights. According to, a 70 count strand of LED mini lights require 4.8 watts, while a 50 count strand of standard mini lights require 20.4 watts.

3. Induction Lighting
            Induction bulbs have an extremely long lamp life of 50,000 to 100,000 hours and have an instant start. The mercury within the bulbs is in a solid form and can easily be recovered for recycling purposes. Their use enables them to be placed in difficult locations that stress lamp life more than light quality.
            As energy efficient as induction lighting is, they do come with some disadvantages. They tend to be very expensive and the wattage is limited because they do not come in higher wattages. There is also a color shift as the bulb ages to pink. They also contain mercury so they will have to be disposed of properly.

4. Metal Halide
            Metal halide lighting is the best lumens per wattage for high bay applications such as warehouses, stadiums, gymnasiums, factories, and general area lighting because they have a lamp life of 25,000 to 30,000 hours. For low wattage lamps in the 200-400 watt range, they can last up to 16,000 hours, with lamp life decreasing as the wattage increases. Metal halides have a good CRI, typically 70, however when used with ceramic, metal halides have an increased CRI of 90+. Fewer lamps are needed per fixture than fluorescents creating a lower maintenance cost. They also have the lowest up-front cost in new lighting technology and have a low cost for repair or re-lamping.
            Just like all lamps, metal halides have their disadvantages. They contain mercury, so they will need to be properly disposed of. They are not ideal for office applications and have a more expensive upfront cost than other lighting solutions. They have a shorter lamp life than LED bulbs and induction lighting.  

5. Two Types of Energy Efficient Fluorescent Tubular Lights
            a. T8 Fluorescent- T8 fluorescents were introduced in the U.S. in 1981 as a replacement for T12 lamps and have now become the new standard for construction because of their energy efficiency. T8s are an inch in diameter and are tubular (the T stands for tubular and the number after stands for eighths of an inch in diameter). T8’s are specifically designed for new construction and for retrofit applications because they can easily replace T12 lamps, which are not as energy efficient. T8s have a rated lamp life of 20,000 hours and have a low LLD, meaning the quality of light life is extended. The lamps are inexpensive and you can usually find inexpensive fixtures for lower upfront costs making them an inexpensive lighting solution.
            These fluorescent bulbs contain mercury as well and will need to be disposed of properly, which can up the costs of disposing them in an environmentally safe way. While they are a relatively inexpensive lighting solution, each fixture requires multiple T8’s, which leads to expensive maintenance costs. Dust is attracted to T8s in open fixtures, which increases LLD. T8’s are at a disadvantage for outside environments also because of the significant lumen loss from either hot or cold temperatures.
            b. T5HO Fluorescent- T5HOs are an energy efficient version of T5, which was first developed for aquarium lighting. The “T” in T5HO represents the shaper of the lamp tubular, while the five represents the diameter of the bulb in eighths of an inch. The “HO” tacked on the end simply means “High Output” and they deliver more light than standard T5’s. T5’s are particularly at an advantage because they are available at higher wattages. They have a diameter of 5/8” and are about 40% smaller than T8 fluorescents. Some strengths of the T5HO are their instant starts and they have low lumen lamp depreciation which means the unit of light flow will not decrease at a fast rate. They have a good lamp life expectancy, and they diffuse the light source, which increases the lighting quality. They are primarily used for high bay applications and are very good for office applications.
            Although T5HOs have a high output, they do have their disadvantages just like the other bulbs we have talked about. They contain mercury so they will need to be disposed of properly just like CFLs. When compared to T8 bulbs, T5HOs have an expensive up-front cost and have a higher maintenance requirement. They are not as aesthetically attractive and dust is more attracted to T5HOs in open lamp fixtures, which adds to the lumen depreciation.

6. High Pressure Sodium Bulbs (HPS)
            High-pressure sodium lamps are an extension of sodium vapor lamps. Sodium vapor lamps differ from the other bulbs mentioned above because they do not use mercury to produce light. Instead they are a gas discharge lamp that uses sodium to produce light, which has an advantage over bulbs that use mercury because they cause less light pollution. HPS lamps are an improved sodium vapor lamp that operates at a high efficiency and produces a better color. HPS lamps contain mercury, which differs them from regular sodium vapor lamps. They have an estimated lamp life of 30,000 hours and are mainly used for outdoors. The monochromatic lighting (appearing to only have one color) of HPS helps for eye adaptability for darkness in outdoor applications. Because they are a great lighting option for the outdoors, they can be used for roadway way lighting.
Due to HPS lamps monochromatic lighting and poor CRI of 20-30, they are unacceptable for indoor applications. Because they contain mercury, they need to be disposed of properly.

Estimating Your ROI (Return on Investment) Cost Analysis

When applying green lighting materials into your home or business, the upfront costs can be expensive. Although it is expensive at first, implementing these green materials is an investment because you will ultimately save more money in the long run, hence the name return on investment. Generally, people tend to think only of the reduction in their electric bill as the sole means of savings. Savings on your electric bill is only the start of the ROI. Green lighting not only uses less power, but the lamps last two to three times longer meaning lower maintenance costs. Each ROI is specialized because there are so many contributing factors affecting the ROI. Which light bulbs are used and the amount of lighting used per day will be the biggest components in calculating you ROI.
            Here are some important definitions to know before starting your ROI:

  • Watt: this is the unit for measuring electrical power. It defines the rate of energy consumption by an electrical device when it is in operation.

    • A Kilowatt = 1000 watts

  • Kilowatt hour: This is the kilowatts divided by the number of hours of energy draw. This is provided on utility bills and can be easily found.

Tips on How to reduce electrical lighting usage

            Habits are perhaps the most common cause of wasted energy. Forgetting to turn off the lights before you leave the house, keeping electronics plugged in, and using the wrong kind of bulbs can all contribute to wasted energy. Here are a few tips to reduce your carbon footprint and even decrease your electricity bill:
                        1.Turn off lights that are not needed
                                    According to, the use of electrical lighting consumes about 10% of a households electricity use. Turning off lights is a key aspect in saving money on your electricity bill and for helping to reduce your impact on the environment. It is also important to realize when to turn off your lights based on which type of bulb is currently on. Because incandescent bulbs are the least energy efficient, they should be turned off every time they are not needed. Fluorescent lights however are more complicated. Because they have a rated life way greater than incandescent, they are more affected by the number of times they are switched on and off. recommends fluorescent lights should be turned off after 15 minutes after leaving a room.
                        2. Unplug devices needing electricity
                                    Unplugging lamps that are not needed can also be a way of reducing your energy usage. Electrical devices that are plugged in, but not turned on still draw energy and heat from the outlet. This is called “Vampire Power” and devices that are plugged in are still sucking out power, which increases your electricity bill. A simple solution to “vampire power” is investing in a surge protector because they allow you to turn off all power with the flip of a switch.  
                        3. Take advantage of the daylight
                                    The great thing about the sunlight is its ability to light an entire house during the daytime hours. Allowing the sun into your home can also warm during cold, winter days. To maximize the amount of sunlight in your home, try a few of these:
                                                1. Keep the blinds open to allow sun light into your home. This might seem simple but it can reduce your energy use. Keeping the blinds open increase natural light and can heat your home in the winter.
                                                2. Install skylights. This allows the sun to penetrate into your home and make it even brighter. This can significantly reduce your lighting costs because you will not need to use artificial light during the day.
                                                3. If you are in the middle of constructing a house, try and place windows facing the south side. The south is the best option because the sun is south the longest and that’s when it is the most intense. 
                        4. Install motion sensors
                                    Installing motion sensors into your home or office is a great way to save money on your electric bill. Motion sensors are programmed to turn off any lights that are not needed and turn them on when a person walks into the room. If installing motion sensors in the home, it is best to install them in low trafficked areas. This helps to ensure that you are not leaving lights on in unneeded places and can help to reduce your electrical usage. While motion sensors are a good for reducing wasted lighting, it can also consume electricity if used in a household.
            The best place for motion sensors is usually in a company building. Companies can waste countless amounts of money on wasted electrical lighting and one way to cut back would be to install motion sensors. Motion sensors can help companies to significantly reduce their lighting usage, which helps cut their electricity bill and decrease their impact on the environment. Although the installation of motion sensors is an investment, companies will end up saving more money in the long run than if they didn’t have the technology.
                        5. Install Light Dimmers
                                    Dimmers are used to replace light switches and give the consumer many options of how bright they would like a particular room to be. Not only do dimmers help save you money on your electric bill, they also increase the longevity of bulbs. Because dimmers increase the longevity of bulbs, you won’t have to buy new bulbs as much as you would if you didn’t have a dimmer. Not only will you save money by using an eco-friendly bulb, you can save even more money by installing dimmers.
                                    Dimmers only work for eco friendly bulbs. The dimming of incandescent lights produces no savings. Instead, the reduction in voltage to dim an incandescent light is achieved by converting the excess voltage to heat.

Recycling Mercury-Containing Light Bulbs

            Since most energy efficient light bulbs contain mercury, it is important to dispose burnt out bulbs properly. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives two important reasons for recycling them. First, recycling mercury containing bulbs prevents mercury from being released into the atmosphere. When improperly disposed of, bulbs tend to break and release the mercury inside. The second important reason to recycle is the materials in the bulbs can be reused. They can reuse the mercury, glass, metal and other elements of the light, reducing our impact on the environment.
            Finding places to recycle your used bulbs is easy. You can always contact your local waste energy or check with a local retailers, including hardware stores and even some furniture stores.














This site was created by Jessica Clark at Millersville University of Pennsylvania

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