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Farm lighting a key to worker safety

Farm lighting is a key factor for worker safety, animal production and overall farmstead security.

Farm lighting is a key factor for worker safety, animal production and overall farmstead security.

Many farm facilities use incandescent bulbs in a variety of settings, but the upcoming phase-out of incandescents among U.S. retailers demands consideration of energy efficient lighting alternatives.

A variety of bulbs and fixtures already are available to replace incandescent bulbs. A new publication from Iowa State University Extension compares some of the indoor and outdoor lighting options and their features.

Energy Fundamentals for Farm Lighting” (PM 2089N) is available to download from the Extension Online Store,

“The incandescent bulb produces light using electrical resistance and much of its energy is wasted as heat,” said Jay Harmon, ISU Extension agricultural engineer. “In spite of low initial cost, the short bulb life and lack of energy efficiency make these bulbs a costly source of lighting.”

The incandescent phase-out officially begins with 100W bulbs in 2012 and will grow to include the lower wattage bulbs during the next few years.

Alternative options for farm lighting include energy efficient technology such as compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL), light-emitting diodes (LED) and tube fluorescent fixtures. This publication also explains lighting terminology for comparing the energy efficiency of different bulbs.

“Incandescent bulbs will begin disappearing from hardware store shelves throughout the coming months,” said Dana Petersen, ISU Extension program coordinator with ISU Farm Energy. “Contact your local electric utility provider to learn about available rebates on energy efficient lighting alternatives.”

For more tips on energy efficiency around the farmstead, visit

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