Lighting Systems - Bulb Choices
Lighting system for your home
A good lighting system should allow the different light sources to work together to provide appropriate lighting for any time of the day and any situation. When planning your lighting design it is essential to choose appropriate light sources.
Suitable sources for home lighting need to light up immediately with no start-up delay and need to be dimmable. Lighting controls should allow each element to be dimmed. Pendant lighting is often combined with up-lights and such as floor lamps to provide add more dimension and ambience to a room.
The most common form of lighting is incandescent light bulbs which have tungsten filaments which are electrically heated to provide light and heat. They provide a warm light during the evening but are not as effective during the day so should be combined with other types of light source.
Halogen bulbs contain halogen gas which combines with the tungsten to produce a bright, white light and are popular for up-lighting. They are much brighter than incandescent lights and can be used for task lighting. Low-voltage lighting operates at 12 volts (v) as opposed to the standard 120v. The light fittings can be made much smaller which is ideal for discreet, precision lighting such as lighting a painting or another feature. Recessed light fixtures using low-voltage light bulbs are available.
Fluorescent lighting fixtures use phosphor powder which, when heated up, emits light. Fluorescent light fixtures are usually produced as strip lighting intended for kitchens and worktops, but compact fluorescent light bulbs are also available and these can be used in place of standard light bulbs. Fluorescent lights fixtures are far more energy-efficient than incandescent ones and the lamps are more long-lasting but they produce a flat, stark light. Lighting systems usually use fluorescent lighting sparingly for task lighting, such as for lighting kitchen work surfaces.
Fiber optic lighting, once the preserve of museums, is becoming more popular for home use. It does not emit heat or UV rays and therefore does not damage museum exhibits. Light is emitted from a halogen light source down a black glass tube and reflected to emit light. In the home it can be used to provide lighting in awkward corners because the light source is removed from where the light is emitted, allowing more flexibility. It is available in different colors and can be used to create interesting lighting effects.