Light Bulbs with Friday Apaliski

sustainability Apr 28, 2021

Friday Apaliski is the San Francisco-based authority on sustainability and has developed a process through her company Sustainability Concierge to aid homeowners in developing a more holistic and sustainable home. 

If you would like to get in touch with Friday, you can reach her by email at [email protected].

Watch our interview or read the transcript below: 


Friday: We talked about systems, right? We talked about heating and cooling talks about water. We talked about cooking. We also talked about insulation. I think that's really important. Two other things quickly. I want to mention, if you are not planning to change all of the light bulbs in your house to LED. Please do that. That is a key component to my low electricity bill. They have so many great properties, but the first is, they use 85% less electricity than a normal incandescent light bulb. So that is a huge jump. 

The problem is that in order to get the right color of an LED light bulb, you have to choose it based on degrees kelvin, which is temperature of the sun. Nobody thinks of light based on the color of the sun. Nobody does that, but that is how you have to find an LED light bulb. And rather than looking for watts, usually we say I'm looking for a hundred watt light bulb, meaning I want a really bright light bulb. Well, watch is the actual unit of electricity as being used. A hundred watt light bulb in LED is going to be 15 watts. So you don't want a 15 watt light bulb. You want something bright. You have to use lumens. Lumens is the actual measure of brightness. 

So we're learning a whole new language when we buy led light bulbs. And because marketing is what it is, the front of every light bulb package is going to say 40 watt equivalent, 60 watt equivalent, 100 watt equivalent. Well, there's no regulation around that. So I have literally in my office right now, five different light bulbs packages that say they're 60 watt equivalent. One of them is 400 lumens. One of them is 500 lumens. One of them is 800 limits. One of them is 850 lumens. That is a very wide range for what they're calling a “60 watt” equivalent light bulb.

So you really, you have to look at what is the color and what are the lumens. Color you want in your house is warm and cozy. That's going to be approximately 2,700 degrees. 2,700 K is what you're looking for, or a little bit less. So 2,500. When you get down really low to 2,200 or even 2,000, that's going to feel very yellow. 

In a bathroom where you would like to put your makeup on or in a kitchen, even where you want things to feel kind of bright and white and fresh, then you're going to want something that's more like 3000, maybe 3,500. Anything beyond 3,500 in your house is going to feel blue and like a dentist office or a warehouse. You don't want it unless you're in your garage. 5,000, 6,000. That's totally fine. If you really want that, like bright blue light. 

But marketers being marketers, I was one in my previous career, so I can make fun of them. We'll say that those colors 4,000 to 6,000, they call them “daylight” or “bright white” and usually people are like “Oh yeah, daylight. That's sounds great. Yeah I want daylight.” Nope. And you'll find that a lot of outdoor fixtures have this bright daylight, 5,000, 6,000 color. And if you are walking around your neighborhood, as I do for mine and these motion sensor lights go off and it's like, this crazy beacon, and I'm thinking, what can we not? It’s nighttime?

There is nuance to picking light bulbs. I happen to be very good at it. So if you're feeling concerned about your ability to pick the right light bulb for the right location, please don't hesitate to give me a call. But I encourage everybody to change their bulbs to LED. It is absolutely worth it. 

Jenny: What is your favorite source for purchasing light bulbs?

Friday: For the longest time, I told people that I didn't have a favorite place because every place carries different inventory and every situation requires kind of different lighting. But I will say that my favorite brand of light bulb for dimming is Phillips. Phillips has the most beautiful dimming technology. They're the only lights that dim warmer. So if you start with a 2,700 bulb, and you dim it, it might end at 2,200. Which is what we are used to feeling. The dimmer light should be warmer. Oftentimes technology will dim, cooler. All other light bulbs will dim cooler, and it just doesn't have that same feel. So I think Phillips has great technology for dimming, and I really liked them. They are almost exclusively sold at either Home Depot or Amazon. Have a very difficult time finding them almost anywhere else. 

If you're trying to look for a really good range of light bulbs and you need maybe a bunch of different shades, you want to try it a couple different colors or even a couple of different brands. Your local ACE hardware has a ton of light bulbs and they're great. They don't carry Philips, which just bums me out. Sometimes they do, but not always. And then Lowe's and Home Depot also carry a ton of LED lights. Of course they carry different brands. Home Depot has Feit and Phillips and CRE and a couple of others. And they have tons of bulbs too. 

It's easy to go to a store and purchase them, but what I will say is do one whole room at a time. Do not replace them one bulb at a time, because if you go to Home Depot today and buy one bolt, and then you go back there three months from now, you won't be able to find that same goal. Inventory changes all the time, do your whole room at once. Couple of reasons there. One, your light will be more consistent, so you will get a really beautiful look. And that's really important too. You'll see your energy bill change. You'll see it go down. And that is important. I think people like that kind of instant gratification. You're not going to have to change them, but altogether, if you put them all in and change them all now, then 10 years from now, you can change them all. 

Jenny: Well, that's the other thing. They last forever. 

Friday: Oh, they last forever. So regular incandescent light bulb lasts about 1,500 to 2,000 hours. An LED bulb is going to last 15,000 to 20,000 hours. And some that you might get for your garage, like a tube light or something, might even last 50,000 hours. It's a long time, which is part of also why you want to make sure you get the right bulb. Cause they're going to be, you're going to have it for a long time. 

So we have reviewed the systems. Now the next step to this is going to be about toxics and health. As you think about what goes into your house. There is a whole avenue to talk about. The way that these products are produced, what are they made from, and how that affects our environment. But also there is a very important aspect of human health. If you're bringing these products into your home, want to make sure that they're healthy for your family and for the workers who are using them.

The last thing I think anybody wants is to be choosing products that can cause harm to anybody. And sometimes that choice is very simple, but it's just a matter of making one choice over the other. It's the same thing with paint and other things like that. But as you get down into the weeds of construction. Oh, man, there are a lot of products. And it really is important, especially if you're planning to move in right away, or if you are living through a renovation. You want to be really careful about what's in the air and what is going to be in the air. 

If you, the viewer has questions about it or concerns about that. This is what I do. This is my business. So call me and we'll work together on making sure that there are the least toxic products going into your home remodel. I will say there's almost no way to avoid them entirely. But there are definitely some better choices that can be made. 

Jenny: Well, thank you so much. And I hope that more people reach out to you and your service is amazing. 

Friday: Thank you so much. You can email me. It's [email protected] or you can find me on my website, which is sustainabilityconcierge.com. And we talked about this before. I'm also on Patreon. If that is a place where you want to get some tips and tricks, as things go on, as time goes on, I post there.

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