Guide to fluorescent lighting fixtures and design
Fluorescent lighting is, along with LED lighting, one of the most environmentally friendly options available to homeowners. The average fluorescent light bulb is four times more energy-efficient than incandescent alternatives, and manufacturers have been making a concerted effort to reduce the amount of mercury contained in fluorescent lights since the 1990s; today, fluorescent lights contain about one-quarter of the mercury they once did.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Fluorescent Lighting
The energy efficiency of fluorescent lighting means significant savings on your electricity bill. It provides every bit as much light as incandescent sources, but for one-third the cost. Also, fluorescent lights tend to use less rather than more energy when they're used for long periods of time, and they do not emit heat when in use. This makes them safer for use in garages and workshops.
However, there are some drawbacks to consider. Fluorescent bulbs are considerably more expensive than incandescent bulbs, and if you want to install large fluorescent lighting fixtures, you may have to hire professional building contractors or electricians, because the wiring is quite complicated. Also, fluorescent light tends to flicker and is only available in bright white bulbs, making soft or mood lighting an impossibility.
Fluorescent Lighting Design Tips
To soften the harshness of fluorescent bulbs, you can use lampshades or pendant lighting fixtures rather than letting the bare bulb shine unabated. This can mask the signature bright, clinical quality of fluorescent lighting if you want to use it throughout your home.
Fluorescent kitchen lighting is one of the style's most common applications. In kitchens, practicality tends to trump aesthetics, though recessed fluorescent lighting in the kitchen is an attractive way to incorporate its functionality.
Finally, you should be aware of the compact fluorescent lighting options that are compatible with standard lamps and fixtures that would normally house incandescent bulbs. If you have a favorite lamp that you want to convert, all you need to do is purchase a compact fluorescent bulb that matches the lamp's electrical flow specifications. If you want a more calming, warm effect, you can also get soft compact fluorescent light bulbs that aren't as bright or harsh as standard ones.