Here's some of the highlights of what Randall had to say on upcoming govt mandates, energy efficient options in lighting, decoding lighting accronyms & what you can do to make your dimmers "dimmable" with the new mandates on lamps...
LEDs: light emitting diode, available since the 1960s but have improved & offer many more colors than original primary colors, making great improvements-especially in use for holiday lighting! check out www.cree.com or www.progress.com for great LED options.
CFL: compact fluorescent lamp, have gotten a very bad "rap" as original roll-out was a cheap version to compete w/incandescent light that was in most of our homes. Also bad rap due to usage of mercury in the bulb. Only 5 ml grams of mercury is allowed per EPA, however, CFLs now on market only contain 1 ml gram per the Oct '09 Consumer Reports. Can last up to 10,000 hours AND can be recycled and many places across the country like IKEA. However, a CFL can only "dim" up to 70% if using with a dimmer!
CCFL: cold cathode fluorescent lamp (i.e. a "tasty" bulb per Randall!) has up to 100% dimming capacity, is energy efficient AND can last in a range of 18,000-25,000 hours! Comes in a standard lamp, a flame-tip that can be used in chandeliers and a globe that can be used in bathrooms. Cost is approx $12/lamp BUT can save up to $73 in energy costs!! Check out www.litetronics.com or www.a1000bulbs.com.
ESL: electronic stimulant luminescents, THE NEWEST thing in lighting!! Full range dimming and instant on capabilities. First item on market, and featured on www.vu1.com website is a R30 lamp (reflector to be used in overhead/recessed fixtures) as 80% of American households use R30 incandescents in their spaces. Check out website for a demo.
Dimmers? Randall's suggestion is to use CCFL's to get the energy efficiency AND dimmability (sp?) of an incandescent.
Randall suggested www.earthled.com for reflector CFL and LED lamps for your recessed fixtures. And www.maxlite.com for CFL lamps to use with your dimmers.
Some LIGHTING Dos & Dont's:
Whenever you're doing a remodel, redesign or want to maximize and/or highlight items in house, contact a lighting designer and invest in the 1 or 2 hours to have them go over your lighting scheme. Especially as we age, this becomes more important as we get over the age of 35 (or in looking at an elderly relative's space!) the lens of our eyes starts to "yellow" to to excessive/constant exposure to UV light. This "yellowing" cuts down on our depth perception. Randall suggests using a COOL temperature light to help highlight/define colors.
Color temperature is defined in "kelvins"...the HIGHER the #, the cooler the color, the LOWER the #, the warmer the color. A "daylight" lamp is rated 5000 degrees kelvin, a "regular" incandescent is 2700 degress kelvin. Use COOL or HIGHER # kelvin lamps for TASK lighting (closets, kitchens, bathrooms, artwork, plants, landscape lighting). Use WARM or LOWER # kelvin lamps for AMBIENT/GENERAL lighting (bedroom, general light on ceiling lights/fans). Randall also suggests a COOL AND a WARM light in the closet-the COOL lamp is to be used to see the true colors of your clothes to properly match them (not a black & navy sock...) and the WARM lamp to be used to see how you will look out at night-time.