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Lamp basic glossary

In addition to energy consumption, many other properties play a role when selecting a lamp for a light. Important terms and explanations of the units and abbreviations can be found below.


A burn-in time of 100 hours under full load is generally recommended with discharge lamps such as fluorescent lamps. During this time, the lamps should not be moved (e.g. taken out and put back in), not be dimmed, switched on and off as little as possible and not be exposed to any draughts. In some cases, T5/16 mm lamps do not reach their photometric data at all without a sufficient burn-in period.

Burning position

26 mm (T8) and 38 mm(T12) fluorescent lamps can be used in universal burning positions, for example vertically.

Colour rendering

The general colour rendering index Ra, which is derived from a set of eight test colours from our daily environment is used to evaluate the colour rendering properties of lamps. The theoretical maximum value of the general colour rendering index is 100. The lower the colour rendering index is, the worse the colour rendering properties of the lamp are. Lamps with a colour rendering index >= 90 are used where preferably realistic colour rendering is important, such as in graphic arts, in museums, sales rooms for textiles and leather goods.

Compact fluerescent lamps

Compact fluorescent lamps differ from rod-shaped fluorescent lamps in that the glass tube has a smaller diameter and the length of the tube required to produce light is "folded" and held on one base. 4-pin lamps are dependent on external ignition through a starter or electrical ballast; in return they are dimmable and suitable for emergency power with appropriate accessories. The life span of compact fluorescent lamps is crucially dependant on the switching rhythm. The nominal life span is calculated in a certain switching rhythm, generally 165 min. on, 15 min. off. Their average life span is 10,000 h. Compact fluorescent lamps may only be used outside in closed, well ventilated lights.


Compact fluorescent lamps and fluorescent lamps are only dimmable with suitable electronic ballasts. Meanwhile, \"energy-saving-lamps\" (compact fluorescent lamps) which can be dimmed smoothly or progressively have reached the market. A suitable phase control dimmer must be used. Halogens lamps are fully dimmable. If the lamp should blacken by dimming it for too long, it can burn clearly again by operating it at a nominal voltage.


E14, E27, GU10, GX5.3, GU5.3

These are the descriptions for different types of lamp bases. For example, on an E27 base, "E" stands for "Edison screw" and the 27 for the diameter of the base in millimetres.

Energy efficiency

The energy efficiency reveals whether lamps are economical or wasteful. The energy efficiency category goes from A = efficient to G = inefficient. This information is mostly found on the packaging of the lamp. It is recommended to buy class A energy-saving lamps. Special models and cheap lamps often have energy efficiency class B. Halogen lamps mostly fall under class C or D and incandescent lamps under class G.

Ingenuity technology

By introducing ingenuity technology using an "intelligent" IC, an average life span of 15,000 hours in energy-saving lamps is achieved. This newly developed generation of energy-saving lamps always starts the lamps with the same current, regardless of whether the lamp is cold or already warmed up. Therefore the ignition electrode is always started with the same current which massively increases the life span. Our tests in our photometric laboratory have reached a switching capacity from 500,000 - 600,000 switches to date (as of 10/2004).

More advantages of this technology:

  • Smaller dimensions: the components used for this technology are extremely small. As a result of this, we can make the dimensions of the lamps smaller and, to some extent, supply them more easily than original incandescent lamps.
  • Longer service life by gentle starting process: the leading ingenuity technology offers energy-saving operation and increases the average life span to 15,000 hours.
  • Constant pre-heating stage, always within 1 second
  • High light efficiency due to fewer losses in the electronic ballast: compared to a traditional electronic ballast, an ingenuity electronic ballast has up to 7% fewer losses.

IRC technology

Lamps with IRC technology produce more light from less electricity: the heat in IRC lamps is reflected back to the coil by the coating in the bulb (infra-red coating). Therefore, these lamps need less energy than standard halogen lamps.

Life span

The life span of a lamp is generally understood as the "average life span". This is the burning time at which 50% of all lamps still work. Certain lamps may fail before as well as after this time. Standard incandescent lamps have an average life span of 1,000 hours.

Light colour

Another aspect when selecting a lamp is its colour. This characterises the appearance of the lamp in terms of colour. Incandescent lamps have a relatively high amount of red, warm light. The bluer the light, the colder it is named. Light colour is measured in kelvins (K) and divided into three kinds.

  • Warm white (ww) 2,700-3,299 K
  • Neutral white (nw) 3,300-5,299 K
  • Daylight white (dw) > 5,300 K

In offices and workshops, mostly neutral white or daylight white lamps are used, while in living rooms, warm white lamps are preferred. Often, the packaging displays a three-digit number, such as 827. Most people do not understand this, here is the solution: the first digit is the colour rendering index (1 = bad, 9 = very good) and the last two digits are the light colour, in this case 2,700 kelvins.

Light efficiency

The light efficiency is the degree of efficiency of a lamp. It states how much electrical energy is converted into light. It is given in lumens per watt [lm/W]. The higher the light efficiency is, the more efficient the lamp is.

Lumens [lm]

Lumen is the unit of luminous flux [lm]. This value states how bright a lamp shines. As of September 2010, the lumen value must be stated on the packaging of energy-saving lamps but this is already common nowadays. In the Energy Saving Shop, this value is stated as "brightness".

Luminous energy

The luminous energy is the whole luminous flux generated during a certain period of time, for example during the service life of a lamp. Luminous energy is given in lumen hours [lmh] or kilolumen hours [klmh].

Luminous flux

This is the measurement of the whole visible radiation of a lamp. The luminous flux is equal to the luminous energy that a light emits per unit of time. It is given in lumens [lm]. The more lumens the lamp emits, the brighter it shines. However, in the eyes of the observer the size of the luminous area has an influence on the perceived brightness: a dazzling filament seems particularly bright. The measurement of luminous flux is lumen hours.

Luminous flux start-up

As with all fluorescent lamps, energy-saving lamps need time to reach their full brightness. The luminous flux start-up states the time taken for a lamp to reach 60% or 80% of its full brightness or full luminous flux. The value can be 3 minutes for \"slow\" lamps. Fast lamps can reach this value in 5 seconds

Natural light

Natural light lamps (e.g. Megaman NATURE COLOUR, Narva BIO VITAL) generate an artificial light that is almost completely equal to sunlight in terms of its spectral composition. Unlike standard lamps, the light of lamps described as full-spectrum lamps shines not only in the visible part of the spectrum but is also included in the ultra-violet part in the same proportion as sunlight. Particularly the ultra-violet part of sunlight is important for human welfare. It has a stimulating and regulating effect on the metabolism, blood pressure and the function of the glands. Vitamin D synthesis required for healthy bone structure is promoted by UV radiation.

Replacement lamps

When selecting a replacement lamp for a traditional standard lamp, such as an incandescent lamp, the power supply in watts is no longer suitable as a fixed value reference for the brightness. This is because the different modern technologies need different power to produce certain luminous energy. Therefore, giving the luminous flux in lumens is more informative. This unit designates the luminous energy emitted from a light source in all directions. This is how the brightness of different lamp technologies can be compared more quickly.

For example, a 60 watt incandescent light has 710 lumens. Now, an energy-saving lamp (such as Osram DULUX SUPERSTAR MINI GLOBE) with 11 watts / 630 lumens (more efficient) or the same model with 15 watts / 850 lumens (brighter) can be chosen. The Energy Saving Shop recommendations are described in the general recommendations of the manufacturer.

Service life

Just like fluorescent lamps or compact fluorescent lamps, energy-saving lamps lose their brightness over time. This is technology-related and cannot be avoided. The service life is the burning time up to the time that the lamp emits less than 80% of its starting luminous flux. Generally this is shorter than the \"average life span\" often stated. Each lamp becomes darker and darker during its life span and must eventually be replaced, even if it has not completely gone out. Frequently the number of burning hours until the time that the lamp emits less than 80% of its given lumens is selected as the basis for its service life.

Shatter protection

No more problems with dangerous shards of glass. If traditional incandescent lamp or energy-saving lamps break, dangerous shards of glass are spread all over the floor which can injure you. Lamps with shatter protection have a special plastic sleeve shrunk over the bulb. This prevents shards of glass falling if the lamp is smashed and reduces the UV radiation of the lamp at the same time.

Size and shapes

Not every energy-saving lamp wins a prize for appearance. The classic tube shape is distributed the most but manufacturers have recently come up with a few new ideas. In addition to the classic incandescent lamp shape, you will also find candle shaped, globe shaped lamps and spotlights.  Simply look for a suitable lamp in our shop.  Moreover, the length and the size of the lamp are also important. Only certain sizes fit in many designer lamps. You can find the width and the length of the individual energy-saving lamps in the detailed view of each lamp.

Switching capacity

The switching capacity is a reference as to how often an energy-saving lamp can be switched on and off without breaking. The higher the number is, the more robust and high-quality the energy-saving lamp is. Very good models can be switched infinitely or reach more than 500,000 switching cycles.

Temperature dependence

In all fluorescent lamps, the luminous flux depends greatly on the ambient temperature, and in some cases, such as in T5 lamps and compact fluorescent lamps, on the burning position. Since the maximum luminous flux in most lamps is created at an ambient temperature of 25°C, all luminous fluxes are measured and quoted at 25°C. Exceptions to this are indicated.

Watt [W]

The unit watt [W] stands for the power consumption of a lamp. The wattage of a normal light bulb is approx. 60; a classic energy-saving lamp has a wattage of around a fifth of this, i.e. 11 to 12 watts. The less power the lamp has, the less electricity it uses. The saving potential of energy-efficient lamps such as energy-saving lamps is obvious; the same brightness using less power. In the table below, you will find a few striking comparisons:


Energy-saving lamps vs. incandescent lamps

5 watts

is equivalent to

5 watts

8/9 watts

is equivalent to

40 watts

11/12 watts

is equivalent to

60 watts

15/16 watts

is equivalent to

75 watts

20/21 watts

is equivalent to

100 watts

23 watts

is equivalent to

120 watts

Xenon technology

Filling lamps with xenon slows down the vaporisation of the tungsten atoms on the filament. Additionally the heat loss of the tungsten filament is reduced due to the low thermal conductivity of xenon. This is why these lamps need less energy for the same luminous flux than the past high voltage halogen lamps.


We have a wide range of products available from our shop. On the left navigation we have organised all of our products according to categories so that you can find the required lamps much quicker. If you are still unable to find a product, please call us on 07271 2867.

All of the prices quoted in the shop are gross prices and include statutory value added tax and do not include delivery costs.


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