How many eco-friendlies does it take to change a light bulb? Just you! Swap your regular bulbs for CFLs – no special parts or fixtures are required and the benefits are huge.
CFLs are so efficient because they use less energy (watts) to produce the same light (lumens) as a comparable incandescent bulb—in some cases a full 80% less! For example, a 15W CFL produces the same amount of light as a 60W incandescent bulb, so the CFL saves 45 watts of energy for every hour it is on. Multiply that savings by several hours and several light fixtures, and you will save watts and watts of cash. (See Financial Benefits below.)
The efficiency of CFLs means less demand for energy and fewer environmental impacts from energy production—impacts that include the generation of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
The use of CFLs also reduces waste sent to landfills since one may last as long as 10 incandescent bulbs.
Remember that wattage and light output are different, and it can be confusing at first when identifying a CFL that is equivalent in light output (lumens) to, for example, a 75W incandescent. To help, manufacturers are now required to label light bulbs with their lumens. You can also rely on charts like the one below, produced by Energy Star, to determine the light output equivalency between standard bulbs and CFLs.
Eventually CFLs will burn out, and since CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury they should be handled and disposed of properly. State and local laws determine how to dispose of spent fluorescent lamps. Look up lamp recycling and disposal options by state: http://www.lamprecycle.orghttp://www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling/
Did you know that lighting accounts for 20% of
home energy use?
According to a U.S. Department of Energy survey, only 9% of U.S. households use
CFLs; so the majority of us haven’t yet begun to reap the savings from the use of energy efficient lamps. Annually, the
average home consumes 1,940 kWh for lighting. Upgrading to Energy Star-qualified fixtures and bulbs could save the typical
household paying $.10/kWh $147 a year.
Did you know that CFLs produce 75% less heat than incandescent bulbs?
Ninety percent of the energy used by incandescent bulbs goes towards producing heat, not
light, and an incandescent bulb can reach 300 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the California Center for Sustainable Energy.
CFLs are cooler and therefore safer to use.
Did you know that changing a light bulb can significantly reduce your individual
contribution to greenhouse gases?
One 10,000 hour, 18W CFL used
in place of a 75W incandescent can prevent 900 pounds of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere over its lifetime.
According to the Energy Star website, if every U.S. household replaced the bulbs in their five most frequently used
light fixtures with Energy Star-qualified ones, we would prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from nearly 10
know that we can actually reduce mercury pollution by using mercury-containing CFLs?
A typical CFL contains
about five milligrams of mercury sealed inside its glass tube. While this fact has given people pause when committing to
their use, not using them can actually lead to more mercury pollution. When coal is burned to produce electricity, the
mercury in the coal is released into the environment. The average coal-fired power plant emits 13.6 milligrams of mercury to
power a typical incandescent bulb, but only 3.3 milligrams for a CFL, says the Union of Concerned Scientists. CFLs, by
requiring less energy, can help reduce mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants.