CFL Sizes and Shapes : ENERGY STAR

September 8th, 2007 § 2 Comments


For clients who are planning to purchase new lighting the task can be daunting. What type of bulb? Is it energy efficient? Recently a client showed me the fixtures she hopes to purchase.

“I saw a light fixture I want in the Pottery Barn catalog. Can I use a CFL in place of the Type G-10 bulb, What about a Type A?”

Can’t figure out the differences between light bulbs types? Type G, Type A, Par 38. It’s enough to make your head spin. What do they all mean? Are we talking about a high strung guy on the golf course or lighting for God’s sake? Don’t fret, you can impress at your next cocktail party if you know the difference between bulbs. Even a seasoned designer will defer to a lighting consultant for advise. So here is a cheat sheet to get you started in identifying the differences between bulbs courtesy of Energy Star.
CFL Sizes and Shapes : ENERGY STAR

Where to Use CFLs Around Your Home

Now that you know CFLs are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, where should you use them?

The following chart provides guidance on how to choose the best CFL for a specific fixture. You can either look for the fixture you want to use a CFL in, or pick your favorite CFL and see where the best fixtures to use it in. In many cases, a certain CFL type can be used in multiple fixtures. For example, today’s bare spiral CFL is small enough to use in table lamps, wall sconces, ceiling-mounted fixtures, ceiling fans, etc.

Now that you have got your bulbs identified, don’t forget…

Color Temperature — Specify the light color you want

Different light bulbs emit different colors of light. Lighting color ranges from cool to warm tones, and is known as color temperature. The color temperature of a light source indicates the color of the light emitted measured in degrees Kelvin. Color Temperature is not an indicator of lamp heat. Refer to the chart from Energy Star for help getting the color right. The chart shows a range of color temperatures, from warm to cool.

Below is a handy chart explaining color temperature from Light Bulbs Direct, a retail web source for purchasing bulbs on line.

By convention, yellow-red colors (like the flames of a fire) are considered warm, and blue-green colors (like light from an overcast sky) are considered cool. Confusingly, higher Kelvin temperatures (3600–5500 K) are what we consider cool and lower color temperatures (2700–3000 K) are considered warm. Cool light is preferred for visual tasks because it produces higher contrast than warm light. Warm light is preferred for living spaces because it is more flattering to skin tones and clothing. A color temperature of 2700–3600 K is generally recommended for most indoor general and task lighting applications. Color Temperature is not an indicator of lamp heat.

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§ 2 Responses to CFL Sizes and Shapes : ENERGY STAR

  • Anonymous says:

    So what’s the answer to the question. Can you use a CFL in place of a G10 in the Pottery Barn fisture?

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  • Laurie says:

    Yes, you can get a screw type CFL although pay attention to local code requirements. Your local jurisdiction may require a 4 pin connection for a CFL. The Pottery barn fixture cannot be retrofitted as a 4 pin.

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