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Compact Fluorescent Bulbs: Save Money, Save the Planet

Posted Oct 30 2008 3:21pm

So everyone is talking about these new light bulbs that are good for the environment. I'm sure you've heard of them by now. Compact flourescent bulbs or CFLs to us greenies, not only look a lot different than your average bulb, but offer significant advantages to those boring old fashioned ones. These alternative bulbs are supposed to reduce your power usage by 75% as compared to incandescent bulbs. Also, they last up to 10 times longer. And if you replaced all the bulbs in your home, you could effectively reduce your electric bill significantly. Could one little bulb do so much good?


There has been some resistance and confusion about this bulb. Here are the major objections that I have heard, with my response indicating that they are rubbish.

1. They are expensive. This was true, but the prices are coming down significantly. One bulb was said to have cost between $3-$10, but if you factor in an average life of up to ten times the incandescent, it still costs you less. I was recently able to purchase a four pack at Home Depot for $11, which was a bit less expensive. Also, I found that sellers anxiously await your purchase on EBAY, where they are selling them for @ $2 or less in many cases. A reputable seller that I would recommend is Rob, Seller id 6801goodbuy.

2. They cast an cool, unfriendly light. In my experience, I have not found this to be true. And as a young woman who is gracefully maturing, I certainly know about the necessity of good lighting! Seriously, manufacturers have improved on this from the original prototypes. I suggest those who still believe this one to be true, that they purchase these bulbs for outdoor, basement, hallway, garages and other nooks and crannies. You can still benefit, people!

3. They contain hazardous mercury vapor. Ironically, compact fluorescent bulbs are responsible for less mercury contamination than the incandescent bulbs they replaced, even though incandescents don't contain any mercury. The highest source of mercury in America’s air and water results from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, at utilities that supply electricity. Since a compact fluorescent bulb uses 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb, and lasts up to ten times longer, it is responsible for far less mercury pollution in the long run. A coal-burning power plant will emit four times more mercury to produce the electricity for an incandescent bulb than for a compact fluorescent.

The bottom line is that if every American family switched to CFLs, we could save 31.7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity every year - enough to light about one third of all U.S. households for an entire year! But every little bit helps, so pony up a few bucks now and count your rewards later. Read more!

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