Replace your incandescent light bulbs with more efficient bulbs
Ever burned yourself on a light bulb? Ever think about where that heat comes from?
All that heat is energy that is used, but does not create light. There is waste in just that realization. But if you also think about how much energy you use (read: “money you spend”) to cool your home, you realize that you can save even more. If your light bulbs don’t create so much waste heat, your cooling system will not have to work as hard, either.
So replace those incandescent bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs). If each household in the US changed just ONE incandescent bulb to compact fluorescent, the US would save enough energy to power all the homes in Delaware and Rhode Island combined. And because of that, CFLs save money that can be spent on other things. The money saved could be spent on necessities (right now, with the credit crisis, this might be the most important point), or on other things that will increase your quality of life.
Congress agrees that this is important, as in December of last year they passed an energy bill which included a phase out of incandescent light bulbs. In actuality, what the bill said is that all light bulbs sold after a time period phasing in between 2012 and 2014 must use 25% to 30% less energy than today’s products. By 2020, all bulbs must use 70% less energy. CFLs already meet the 70% requirement.
Between 2012 to 2030, consumers will save $40 billion in energy costs. 14 coal-fired power plants will avoid construction. And 51 tons of carbon emissions will be avoided annually, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.
But what about CFL’s mercury content? Well – this is a concern; however, bear in mind that a compact fluorescent light bulb holds an amount of mercury about the size of the tip of a ball-point pen. If you are considering avoiding CFLs based on this, take a look around at your mercury thermometer. It holds MUCH more mercury than a houseful of CFLs.
But if this is a huge concern for you, there is another option: Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Bulbs!
Read a comparison of Incandescent Bulbs, versus CFLs, versus LED bulbs.
A. Caleb Hartley
Do you use CFLs? What do You think of them? How about LEDs? Light up the comments and tell us what you think!