Dr. Goldsworthy Paper
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) – What you need to know about low energy lighting
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are smaller versions of the familiar fluorescent strip-lights
found in schools, public buildings and many people’s kitchens. Like the strip-lights, they are about
five times more efficient than tungsten incandescent lamps at turning electrical power into light.
They also last many times longer and the saving in energy over their lifetime more than offsets
their extra cost. Governments all over the world are either encouraging or coercing us to replace
our tungsten lamps with CFLs to save energy and reduce our carbon footprint.
The principle of operation is the same as a fluorescent strip-light. An electric current is driven
through a tube containing argon and a small amount of mercury vapour. This generates invisible
ultra-violet light that excites a fluorescent coating (the phosphor) on the inside of the tube, which
then emits longer-wavelength visible light.