Halogen and Metal Halide Light Bulbs: Overlooked Options for Eco-Friendly Lighting

When it comes to environmentally friendly light bulbs, consumers have more options than they usually think. Of course, CFLs and LEDs are the longest lasting and most efficient options for green lighting, but customers should be cognizant of the fact that neither of these technologies is ideal in every situation and they do not always provide the highest quality light or CRI. Halogen and metal halide bulbs are often overlooked because of their technological likenesses to incandescent and HID bulbs respectively, as well as their short life spans. Halogen light bulbs can typically burn from anywhere between 2,000 – and 10,000hrs before failing. Halogen bulbs are available for most bulb types and are used in nearly all applications from home & garden lighting, stage lighting, aviation lighting, and much more. The reasons for this are simple: halogens have among the best and brightest light and feature light with a rating near, if not at 100CRI. This means that halogens can render color nearly identically to sun light’s rendering of color. Though CFLs and LEDs do not expend as much energy generating heat as halogens do and burn longer, they often cannot match the brightness and wonderful color quality of halogens. For these reasons halogen MR16s and PARs are great options. Furthermore, because the light created by halogens lends itself to being focused, halogens are good for both general illumination and more focused applications like track and task lighting.

Metal halide bulbs are a similar story. Ranging for 15,000-20,000hrs, metal halide light bulbs last for a long time while producing light in the 60-90CRI range. What is remarkable about metal halide is their luminous efficacy, or efficiency. Metal halides produce between 65-115lm/w, which makes them an excellent bright light source. Because of their excellent CRI and luminous efficacy, metal halides are great for general illumination—making metal halide PARs a good choice for larger spaces that require great light like museums. Metal halide MR16s and PAR20s are also good for track lighting.

The bottom line is that for environmentally friendly lighting CFLs, LEDs, halogens, and metal halide bulbs are all good options. Though CFLs and LEDs are the longest lasting and among the most efficient, often by using them you sacrifice light bulbs that feature better light and color quality. Though halogen and metal halide bulbs are not the greenest, they may be the best compromise of environmentally friendly lighting and great light quality available. Hopefully this article has been illuminating, if you have any remaining questions please leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook, or call us at 1-888-505-2111. Also, be sure to look at our extensive MR16, automotive, stage lighting and medical light bulb offerings and make us your one stop light bulb shop today!

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