is an eco web that develops ethical imagination and environmental stewardship. introduces what design is, what design does and why design is important through over 100 journeys.

Each journey may be associated with scales:

and subjects:

Back to all Journeys

Artificial Light

And then there was light! It’s a 24/7 existence. Work all night, sleep all day. We humans are no longer tied to the light of the sun. Nor do we light our world with candles, oil or gas! Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in 1879 and we have been lighting up ever since. We can use electricity to keep going whenever we want if we are willing to pay the price. Artificial lights have a lamp or fixture wired to bring electricity to the bulb. When electrical current comes to the bulb, the bulb glows or emits light that is measured in foot-candles or lumens per square foot. There are thousands of fixtures and bulbs. The closest artificial light to sunlight is the incandescent bulb. Standard 100 watt bulbs produce 1600 lumens. Fluorescent bulbs last longer and use less energy than incandescent. We have emergency lighting (20 foot candles for safety), general lighting (40-60 foot candles to see at night), mood lighting (for atmosphere), accent lighting (for sparkle), and task lighting (for reading and writing, at 80-200 foot candles).

Light up your life!!!

Activity 1 Bulb Identification

Make an hourly chart like the one shown from 6:00pm to 10:00pm in your house with the hours on the left and the types of bulbs across the top. Each hour, mark how many lights are on in your house, what types of bulbs they are, and what the lights are used for. Use a yellow marker to highlight those bulbs that could be changed to more efficient types of bulbs that still give off the same amount of light but use less energy. To save energy, use compact fluorescent lamps that burn longer and use less energy. Choose task lighting specific to the task at hand rather than illuminating an entire room! Use three way bulbs so you can self-select how much light you need.

Activity 2 Lamp Study

Visit a hardware store. Look at all the light bulbs that are available. The bulbs differ in shape, size, watts, lifespan and cost. All of these features must be taken into consideration before selecting the right bulb for the right use for the right fixture. Using the web links, internet or other resource, sketch five different light bulb types. List their characteristics. Paste these in your journal.

Activity 3 Light a Bulb!

In this activity, you will actually construct and light a light bulb! All you need is two AA batteries, a metal clamp ….Take a look at the full exercise here on the ITSI Lighting a Bulb. Take a picture of your bulb and post it to the gallery!

Activity 4 The Color of Light

Sunlight is considered to be warm light with its full spectrum, or rainbow, of visible colors. Direct sunlight is the whitest. Indirect sunlight as in a northern painting studio is a blueish light. In addition, lamps of artificial light give off different colors of light. Some light bulbs are considered warm or in the sunlight range. Other lamps are considered cool or blue. When light, natural and artificial mix, it causes us to perceive color differently. Take a look at this additive color experiment to learn how mixing color, unlike mixing pigment, leads to a whiter light.


  1. 24 / 7 means:

  2. What two parts does a light have?

  3. A foot candle is:

  4. An incandescent bulb looks most like sunlight.

  5. Fluorescent bulbs are less efficient than incandescent bulbs:


Back to Top