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So which is the better green lighting alternative, CFL or LED?

All Lit Up

It’s time to change your world, one light bulb at a time.

Text Angie Tan Images courtesy of respective brands Great ideas and new innovations make green living even more accessible and affordable today, even in the form of simple, everyday items like light bulbs. Many people overlook lighting. In any home, office or building design, interiors that have been designed to take advantage of natural lighting means less reliance on artificial lighting. But wherever and whenever lighting is needed, choose options which consume less energy, especially in main living spaces where you spend most of your time.

CFL stands for compact fluorescent light or the energy-saving light bulb. Most bulbs resemble the creamy swirl of an ice cream. It uses less energy compared to conventional incandescent light bulbs and although CFLs may be pricier than the conventional bulbs, they last longer and require less energy. According to Energy Star, CFLs cut lighting energy use by 75% and lasts about nine years, leading to lower bills and more savings in the long run. The only downside is that CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, approximately 4mg sealed within the glass tubing; in contrast, a thermometer contains at least 500mg. So while some argue that they are not as green as it should be, just make sure that you dispose of them properly – sealed in at least 2 layers of plastic before disposing it with the trash but recycling is the always the better option. Manufacturers are currently looking for ways to reduce the mercury content, which is what allows the bulb to be efficient. The other green option is LEDs or Light Emitting Diode bulbs. These save up to 80% more energy than conventional bulbs and have a longer lifespan, lasting 25 times longer than ordinary incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs also contain no hazardous materials, thus it is a more sustainable choice. Apart from choosing between CFLs and LEDs as your light source, also look into the different kinds of lights. How are they designed and what are they made of? We are not short of designers who have taken on the concept of green, giving us options of beautiful works of arts made from salvaged, recycled or repurposed materials, which make them one-of-a-kind additions to your home. Now who says you can’t make a green statement in style? Check out these bulbs and lamps that are working hard to make a difference.

Baby Plumen 001 Smaller than the Original Plumen 001 design, the Baby can work with more

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shades designed for incandescent bulbs. Like most high-quality, low-energy bulb, it saves up to 80% on bills and last eight times longer than the standard incandescent bulb. (Baby Plumen 001: Photography © Andrew Penketh)

Philips LED Bulbs

The latest green line-up from Philips includes designs that cater to various tasks and fit the standard lighting fixtures in homes. Unlike conventional incandescent bulbs that emit as much heat as light, Philips’ energy-saving bulbs do not contribute to heat build-up in homes or offices.

Bleu Nature Outline Collection

Looking for something organic to match your green theme? Bleu Nature latest collection takes on the free and natural shape of driftwood, turning it into modern, industrial pieces that are simply chic. Who knew bare branch plus matte black steel can be so eco-friendly and sexy?

BradStebbing:CraftedDesign Samba Designed by Australian Brad Stebbing, the Samba lamps spell fun with nature. Just like dancing hips, Samba’s natural curves are the result of coiled rattan. Inspired by a traditional Vietnamese bowl and vase crafting process using bamboo, Stebbing opted for rattan instead which is thicker and requires far fewer coils, making the process more efficient. The lamps were handcrafted in the Philippines by Kenneth Cobonpue’s HIVE.

ENERGY STAR® is a programme between the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy to protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practises. Today it is a recognised, international standard of energy efficiency. In lighting, only products that meet its stringent tests and requirements on efficiency, quality and lifetime criteria are awarded the ENERGY STAR.


Ukraine designer Max Ptk has come up with the Maridalen desk lamp made from 90% ecologically friendly materials including wood, white glass, rubber and recycled plastic.

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SPACE Magazine #4 2012 with Maridalen Lamp  
SPACE Magazine #4 2012 with Maridalen Lamp  

Maridalen Lamp by Max Ptk in SPACE Magazine #4 2012