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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
(lumens/watt)
Lifetime
(hours)
Color Rendition Index
(CRI)
Color Temperature
(K)
Indoors/Outdoors
Incandescent          
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
Fluorescent          
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