It wasn’t that long ago that compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) were considered the future of both residential and commercial lighting. And for a little while that assumption held some water. They saved significant energy compared to incandescent lamps, they fit in many existing fixtures, and their longer life were all very strong points in their favor.
But times change and, when it comes to technology, change quickly. The fame and future of CFLs came quickly and left even quicker.
So, what happened? Several factors conspired to knock CFLs out of the lighting arena. Primary among them is the rise of the far superior lighting technology, LED. LED lamps provide superior efficiency, better performance, color temperature (CCT) and color rendering index CRI), and better fit with both existing and new fixtures.
LED lamps have superior versatility over CFLs. These newer LEDs can be dimmed, are compatible with existing light fixtures, come in different color and lighting temperature options, and come to full illumination immediately without any warmup time. In contrast, most CFLs cannot be used with dimmer switches, are performance-sensitive to colder ambient temperatures, and typically generate a uniform, bright white light. Both LEDs and CFLs are available in a variety of different shapes and configurations, but here again, LED technology is advancing regularly to include more aesthetically-pleasing bulbs that have better beam patterns and that spread light more uniformly rather than uni-directionally.
So what’s the lesson here? First, there will always be disruption, be it in lighting technology or the taxi industry. Blockbuster revolutionized the movie rental business, taking it from a small store with limited titles to one with hundreds. Despite a great run, Blockbuster, through failure to modernize and some poor decisions, went from market leader to bankrupt in a flash. Understanding the nuance of any given business or technology is clearly important. It isn’t realistic to expect every commercial or industrial facility manager or building owner to know every detail of the various lighting trends and technology. This is where we come in. Relying on a trusted partner who’s expertise and sole focus is creating the right solution for its customers is paramount.
Replacing CFLs with LED lamps will provide an additional step forward in lighting technology that further improves the efficiency of your lighting system, reduces maintenance costs and time, as well as improves lighting performance. In the battle of LED vs. CFL, and Fluorescent vs. LED, there is only one victor.