Alternatives to Fluorescent Lighting

Cassandra Cochrun

If you don't like the look of fluorescent lighting, would like a more energy-efficient bulb or are concerned about fluorescent safety issues, you should know that there are plenty of alternatives on the market today.

From the highly publicized compact fluorescent bulbs to cutting edge LED lights, there is sure to be a lighting alternative on the market that suits your needs.

CFL Lighting

Even though compact fluorescent lighting is technically fluorescent lighting, full spectrum fluorescent and compact fluorescent bulbs recently gained popularity over traditional fluorescent bulbs because they have a higher color rendering index, which some people find more comfortable. Compact fluorescent bulbs are also currently more popular partly due to the growing concern for the environment. CFLs are an economical solution to lighting problems because they last much longer than incandescent lighting but can be used in the same way, so you can avoid unsightly traditional fluorescent light fixtures.

LED Lighting

LED lights are low-output, tiny bulbs, so they are usually used in conjunction with each other, sometimes in the form of strip lights. LED light bulbs have an extremely long life--between 30,000 and 50,000 hours. Because LED lights don't require a ballast, fire safety is also improved. While LED lighting is an alternative to interior fluorescent lighting, the technology is new, so LED lighting is still relatively expensive.

CMH Lighting

Ceramic metal halide (CMH) lighting is another energy efficient alternative to fluorescent lighting. While CMH bulbs provide a truer color than CFLs, they do not last as long.

Safety Issues

Traditional fluorescent lighting produces light by utilizing a small drop of mercury in the bulb, which is how fluorescent bulbs produce UV light. This may be the reason you want to switch from fluorescent lighting, but you should be aware that compact fluorescent bulbs also contain mercury. However, the risk of a compact fluorescent bulb releasing the mercury is low, and some manufacturers now offer very low mercury bulbs.