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May 11, 2011

Use Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL) rather than Incandescent

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The Environmental Defense Fund said it best when they spoke about CFL's and incandescent lighting:
"Though we call them light bulbs, traditional incandescent bulbs are actually small heaters that give off a little bit of light--something you know if you've ever touched a bulb that's been on for a while.  These bulbs were technological wonders when they were patented in 1880, but today they are inefficient dinosaurs.  They waste energy and money, and they are responsible for millions of tons of global warming pollution."
Although slightly more costly than incandescent lightbulbs, CFL's will very quickly pay for themselves. They are exactly what their name implies, a compact fluorescent bulb. They can emit nearly the same amount of light that an incandescent bulb could, but uses much less energy doing so.


A CFL bulb rated for 15 watts uses the nearly the same amount of energy of an incandescent bulb using nearly 60 watts of energy. You can see, just by that comparison, what the difference in energy use really is.

Example: Say you have 10 75 Watt incandescent bulbs at use in your home at a given time and are generally on for an average of 8 hours per day. The incandescent lights will cost you $329 to run per year. Switching the 10 bulbs to CFL's will cost you around $79. A drastic difference in price.

Pros of CFL bulbs:
- Incredible reduction in energy costs.
- Less heat emitted from the bulb (less wasted energy).
- They last much longer than incandescent bulbs.
- Less of a fire hazard.

Cons of CFL bulbs:
- Contains levels of Mercury and cannot be disposed of in a normal way. (Mercury levels should not deter one from purchasing CFL bulbs. The level is Mercury is far from exceedingly dangerous. The only way one would come in contact with the Mercury is if the bulb were to shatter.)
- Doesn't immediately have full powered lighting. Takes a few seconds/minutes for the bulb to warm up/ reach its full brightness.
- Not all CFL bulbs are capable of being dimmed with a dimmer switch. This is unfortunate because even more energy can be saved if the luminescence were to be changed.

Neutral specs of CFL Bulbs
- Emits a different color temperature than that of an incandescent bulb.

One Response so far.

  1. Brad Buscher says:

    CFLs do save energy, but they also contain small amounts of mercury. As this article states, it is important for consumers to realize that CFLs and fluorescent bulbs contain mercury and require special handling. The mercury vapor can be detrimental to handlers' health—from those involved with handling new bulbs to people involved with storing, packaging and shipping used lamps. Mercury vapor, which can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled, can cause neurological damage, and when it gets into water, it can enter the food chain through fish. Read more about the dangers of mercury exposure here: http://vaporlok.blogspot.com/2010/05/preventing-health-and-safety-hazards.html.

    If a bulb is broken or burns out, it should be properly cleaned up and recycled—it should not be disposed of in landfills. To reduce the risk for mercury vapor exposure, CFLs and fluorescent lamps should be safely handled, stored and transported to recycling facilities in a package that is proven to effectively contain hazardous mercury vapor. Find out more about how to minimize environmental risks and safely package CFLs here: vaporlok.blogspot.com/2010/05/layers-of-protection-packaging-used.html
    If a bulb breaks, consumers can learn more about clean-up procedures here: epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup-detailed.html

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