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There is something warm, comforting and, dare we say, romantic about candlelight. There was a time when burning candles was necessary, but now with the wealth of contemporary lighting options that we have, burning candles is an indulgence.

And it seems to be an indulgence that lots of us really enjoy. According to the National Candle Association (yes, it is a thing):

  • Approximately 35% of candle sales occur during the Christmas/Holiday season. Non-seasonal business accounts for approximately 65% of candle sales.
  • More than 1 billion pounds of wax are used in producing the candles sold each year in the U.S.
  • It is estimated that more than 10,000 different candle scents are available to U.S. consumers.

 

Candle Cautions

You should never leave a burning candle unattended – that’s the first thing you need to remember if you want to safely light your interior spaces with candles.

As the Chicago Tribune reports, you should also be aware of what your candles are made of.   “Paraffin wax is made out of petroleum, while soy or other vegetable-based waxes and beeswax aren’t, said Ted Myatt, senior scientist at Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc., professor of environmental science at Brandeis University and director of research Integrity at the University of Rhode Island. A 2009 study by researchers at South Carolina State University found that long-term exposure to paraffin wax can be hazardous to your health and may cause poor indoor air quality,” the paper reported.

Certain scented candles also pose the possibility of contributing to indoor air pollution. And, of course, there is the issue of soot with some candles.

There are plenty of safe options if you want to use candles as bath lighting to treat yourself to a some relaxing “me time.” If you like using candles because of the fragrance, you can always investigate the use of essential oils, which might be a healthier than lighting your interiors with scented candles.

Thomas Edison will never be forgotten and his incandescent lightbulb will always stand as a testament to human ingenuity, but contemporary light fixtures and lighting design allow for the use of different kinds of lightbulbs.

“The incandescent light bulb has been around since the late 1800s, but the venerable technology’s dominance seems just about over,” National Geographic reported. “On January 1, 2014, in keeping with a law passed by Congress in 2007, the old familiar tungsten-filament 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs can no longer be manufactured in the U.S., because they don’t meet federal energy-efficiency standards.”

The Next Generation in Lighting

If you need to change the lightbulb in today’s contemporary light fixtures – from bath lighting to designer exterior lighting and contemporary chandeliers – you will be using a CFL lightbulb or, perhaps, an LED bulb. With either, you won’t need to change them nearly as often as you did their incandescent precursors.

“By the late 1920s and early 1930s, European researchers were doing experiments with neon tubes coated with phosphors (a material that absorbs ultraviolet light and converts the invisible light into useful white light). These findings sparked fluorescent lamp research programs in the U.S., and by the mid and late 1930s, American lighting companies were demonstrating fluorescent lights to the U.S. Navy and at the 1939 New York World’s Fair,” the Department of Energy says. “These lights lasted longer and were about three times more efficient than incandescent bulbs. The need for energy-efficient lighting American war plants led to the rapid adoption of fluorescents, and by 1951, more light in the U.S. was being produced by linear fluorescent lamps.”

The need for energy conservation continued to drive innovation. “It was another energy shortage — the 1973 oil crisis — that caused lighting engineers to develop a fluorescent bulb that could be used in residential applications,” the Department of Energy says.

In the 1970s, Edward Hammer at General Electric created the first compact fluorescent light (CFL) by bending the fluorescent tube into a spiral shape. While they were more energy efficient, until fairly recently, the price of CFLs was a deterrent to their use. Now, according to the Department of Energy, “Nearly 30 years after CFLs were first introduced on the market, an ENERGY STAR® CFL costs as little as $1.74 per bulb when purchased in a four-pack.”

For more information on fluorescent lighting and other options in designer home lighting, feel free to contact your friends at Sculpta Contemporary Lighting.