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Light Facts

(237 words)

  • Energy efficiency pays. An average Canadian home has 30 light fixtures that consume close to $200 worth of electricity every year. Replacing just five bulbs with ENERGY STAR® qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs in areas that require more than three hours of light a day saves approximately $30 a year. Many CFLs are available to work with dimmer switches and can increase your savings even more. Using only energy-efficient lighting systems in a new home can reduce electrical bills by as much as $150 a year. ENERGY STAR is an international symbol for energy efficiency that will help you quickly identify products that are the most energy efficient.

  • Every little bit helps. Replacing just one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a 20-watt compact fluorescent in every Canadian household (more than 12 million of them) would save up to $73 million a year in energy costs. It would also reduce emissions by almost 400 000 tonnes – the equivalent of taking more than 66 000 cars off the road.

  • Choosing a light bulb can help combat climate change. The federal government has issued a challenge to all Canadians to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Choosing energy-efficient lighting is one way to help reach that goal.

  • Energy-efficient lighting can make you look better than you feel ... Modern fluorescent and compact fluorescent lighting is specially treated to produce a warm colour that enhances your appearance and flatters your skin tone.

  • ... and turn your home into a place of mystery. Indirect or accent lighting from compact fluorescents combined with design features such as symmetrical coves flanking an entry to a sunroom or hallway makes an admiring visitor wonder where the soft light is coming from.

  • Watts the difference? The wattage rating listed on light bulb packaging is a measure of the power used rather than of light output. Different types of lamps, such as compact fluorescent and halogen bulbs, deliver the same light output as incandescent bulbs but use two-thirds less energy.

  • Incandescent light bulbs eat energy. Only 4 to 6 percent of the electrical power in an incandescent bulb is converted into visible light. The remaining energy is lost as heat.

  • Buyers beware. Incandescent light bulbs advertised as "long life" or "extended life" may last a long time (1500 to 10 000 hours compared with 750 to 1000 hours for a standard bulb). But they emit up to 30 percent less light while using the same amount of energy.

  • The light bulb is a Canadian invention. Canadians Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans patented their invention in 1875 but were unable to raise the money to commercialize it. With the help of a syndicate of American industrialists, Thomas Edison bought the patent rights for $50,000. Using a lower current, a carbonized filament and an improved vacuum inside the globe, Edison demonstrated "his" light bulb in 1879.

For more information on the ENERGY STAR international symbol or tips on energy-efficient products, call Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) toll-free at 1 800 -387-2000, or visit the OEE's Web sites at or, or write to Energy Publications, Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada, c/o S.J.D.S. Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L3.