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Types of Lighting

You'll find that you have several options to consider when selecting what type of lighting you should use in your home.

When selecting energy-efficient lighting, it's a good idea to understand basic lighting terms and principles. Also, it helps to explore your lighting options for indoors and/or outdoors if you haven't already. This will help narrow your selection.

Types of lighting include:

  • Fluorescent lighting
  • High-intensity discharge lighting
  • Incandescent lighting
  • Low-pressure sodium lighting
  • Outdoor solar lighting

You can use the chart below to compare the different types of lighting.

Lighting Comparison Chart
Lighting Type Efficacy
Color Rendition Index
Color Temperature
Standard "A" bulb 10–17 750–2500 98–100 (excellent) 2700–2800 (warm) Indoors/outdoors
Tungsten halogen 12–22 2000–4000 98–100 (excellent) 2900–3200 (warm to neutral) Indoors/outdoors
Reflector 12–19 2000–3000 98–100 (excellent) 2800 (warm) Indoors/outdoors
Straight tube 30–110 7000–24,000 50–90 (fair to good) 2700–6500 (warm to cold) Indoors/outdoors
Compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) 50–70 10,000 65–88 (good) 2700–6500 (warm to cold) Indoors/outdoors
Circline 40–50 12,000     Indoors
High-Intensity Discharge          
Mercury vapor 25–60 16,000–24,000 50 (poor to fair) 3200–7000 (warm to cold) Outdoors
Metal halide 70–115 5000–20,000 70 (fair) 3700 (cold) Indoors/outdoors
High-pressure sodium 50–140 16,000–24,000 25 (poor) 2100 (warm) Outdoors
Low-Pressure Sodium 60–150 12,000–18,000 -44 (very poor)   Outdoors

U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20585
www.eere.energy.gov www.energy.gov