One of the easiest and most cost effective way for people to reduce their energy bills and carbon emission is to start using compact florescent light bulbs in their home.
CFLs fit in existing incandescent lamp holders, which means it is simple to make the switch. The major benefit of the CFL’s is that they use about a quarter of the energy of incandescents, while generating the same amount of light. So you are using 25% of the electricity to produce the same amount of light. The average CFL can save more than $40 in electricity costs over its lifetime. 1 So if you have around 20 light bulbs in your place like I do, you can save about $800 just by switching to CFL’s.
How the CFL’s work:
- An electric arc is drawn along the length of the glass tube.
- The ultraviolet light produced by the arc activates a phosphorescent coating on the inside of the tube wall, which then emits visible light.
Many people have misconceptions about CFL’s due to one of the drawbacks of early compact fluorescent lighting. There we limitations that included higher startup surges, poor color rendition, and incompatibility with dimmers and 3-way switches. People often see price as an issue with CFL’s and although modern compact fluorescent lamps are generally more expensive than incandescents, high-quality ones no longer suffer from these issues and can save the user a considerable amount of energy.
Two drawbacks still remain: in cold temperatures, it can take up to a few minutes for the lamp to fully brighten; and CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, requiring that they be disposed of properly. It’s also important to pay attention to the color shade of the CFL— lamps identified as “cool” give off a blue-white light, like traditional fluorescent tubes, while “warm” lamps offer light more like the color from incandescent bulbs.
While CFL’s do contain some mercury, the average CFL has about ¼ of the mercury of a watch battery. Furthermore, because of the mercury produced by coal-burning power sources, a CFL, using far less energy than an incandescent bulb, will be responsible for lower mercury emissions while in use, and a lower total mercury load over its lifetime.
Despite the higher upfront cost, compact fluorescent lamps can save money over time, while saving energy.
Given the efficiency and longevity of compact fluorescent lamps compared to incandescent bulbs, it’s no surprise that CFL’s have become the most utilized type of lamp in homes and business trying to go green and save money. Are you ready to start saving???