Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ways to Cut Expenses - Make the CFL Switch

Back in the day I used to work for a lighting company, and boy did I learn a lot about bulbs. More than I ever cared to know actually. Color temperature and lumens and wattage, it was a whole new vocabulary. Did you know that a light bulb in the industry is actually called a lamp? And what the average person calls a lamp is actually a lighting fixture? I know. I'll stop now.

You've probably noticed that greater attention is being paid to ways to make this planet a greener and cleaner home for us and our children. While researchers try to come up with alternative, sustainable forms of energy for the future, there are simple things you can do now in your own home to save yourself money and reduce your carbon footprint.

The fixtures in most homes in America are lit by incandescent bulbs. Incandescent light, as you are probably aware, produces the warm, inviting glow that most of us prefer and are accustomed to. But did you know that 90% of the energy consumed by a light bulb is lost as heat?

The alternative is compact fluorescent lamps, known as CFLs. You probably recognize them as the spiral tube bulbs that look slightly intimidating. They may conjure images of shady motels with flickering lights. Don't let the shape or the reputation make you nervous. CFLs have come a long way and very closely resemble the attractive light of incandescents. They work exactly like an ordinary bulb, except that they last a lot longer and consume a whole lot less energy. How much longer is their life? The average incandescent lasts 1000-2000 hours. CFLs, on the other hand, will last about 8-15 times as long. A 60 watt incandescent can be replaced with a 13 watt CFL, quite a difference in energy consumption. And remember, wattage is not a measure of how bright the bulb is. It is a measure of how much energy it consumes.

What does this mean for you? Well, while each CFL costs more initially to purchase than itss incandescent counterpart, a single CFL can save you up to $50 in energy costs over its lifetime. In fact, if you replaced the five most highly used bulbs in your house with CFLS, you could save up to $70 in energy costs each year.

The Energy Star website has some great statistics on CFLs. It states that "if every American home replaced just one light with a light that's earned the ENERGY STAR, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars." Amazing, right?

Consider making the switch.


Larissa said...

Hey, Curious George here: how do halogen bulbs compare?


Becky said...

Halogens produce a whiter, brighter light, much more intense and are not energy efficient. They burn a lot hotter than ordinary incandescents.