I replaced the bulbs in the overhead fixture in my study with compact fluorescents, and I'm not crazy with the quality of the light they're producing. But I may not have chosen the best new bulbs. I have been replacing outdoor lights with fluorescents, though, as I don't care as much about the light quality there.
Then Glenn, I have something for you: Full-Spectrum lighting. Not quite as energy efficient as fluorescent but much better. Full-spectrum (really "fuller spectrum" since only the sun is full spectrum) light is more natural light. So reading is easy. They are quiet and they last for years. We have them at our Chiropractic office and use them constantly. They required changing only every five years, or so, with constant daily use. Not bad. They use 60% less energy than incandescent, but more than fluorescent. The downside? About 10x the expense. But in my opinion, for an office and other works spaces, it is definitely worth it.
Lighting designer Stefan Graf, IALD, principal of Illuminart in Ypsilanti, Mich., says to think of full-spectrum lighting in audio terms. "Full-spectrum sound has bass and treble frequencies, as well as everything in between," he says. "Most light sources have peaks and valleys across the spectrum of light frequencies, but a full spectrum lighting system delivers nearly all light frequencies equally."
Graf inserts the word "nearly" in that phrase because he says that the only true full-spectrum light source is the sun. Many electric light sources come close to full-spectrum—some labeled as full-spectrum and some not—but none truly are so. "They should be labeled ‘fuller-spectrum,'" Graf says.*********
Full-spectrum lighting does offer some positive human effects. Graf points to recent research that proves that fuller-spectrum lighting helps improve visual acuity and accuracy. "Almost everyone who lives or works under a fuller-spectrum lighting environment says the space just ‘feels' better," Graf says. "It enables your eyes to work more efficiently because of better visual acuity and depth perception, so almost every task is easier and more comfortable to perform in some way."
Perhaps that is where the greatest benefits for full-spectrum lighting are: in areas and for tasks where visual acuity, accurate color rendering and comfortable light levels are needed. Spaces such as offices, retail stores, print shops and design studios may benefit from the improved color quality and visual acuity offered by full-spectrum lamps.
I should note here that there is controversy over health benefits with "full spectrum" lighting. They may or may not exist due to "full spectrum" bulbs.
It is universally recognized, though, that all people should spend at least 20 minutes per day out in the sun with little sunblock (depending on your skin tone--darker pigmented skin requires less sun-block) or sun glasses to help with Vitamin D production. This action significantly reduces colon and other cancers, as well as prevents osteoporosis. Get your young girls, elementary to teenagers, into the sun for bone development! Good diet alone will not meet the needs of your daughters bone formation. They do need Calcium (lactate cheap and effective, no carbonate) supplemented as it is imposssible to get the calcium needed through diet.
The sun isn't bad. Excessive burning is bad. There is a difference.
Update: Reader Sharon sent this link. Looks like Wal-Mart is changing the world one Rainbow Flag at a time, too.
Update II: Oh my goodness! I've been Instalanched!!! Thanks, Glenn & I really do hope you buy some full-spectrum lights.
Update III: Now, that I'm back on the granny computer, I just got an Apple (woo hoo!), I'd like to point you new people in the direction of a post or two you might like. Two days ago, I posted about the "neuterization" of America where any gender tendencies are scorned. Also, the Duke case has bugged me since the beginning. The NYT's article made it more irksome. More today, too. Thank you for visiting! I hope you come back soon.