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Dirty Energy & FuelEnergy ConservationGreen Your Life

Cheap and Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient – Bulbs

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Whether you want to do your bit for the planet or you just want to cut down your electricity bill, changing to compact fluorescent bulbs is not only sensible, but damned easy as well.

The Why

Compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFL’s, are a different sort of bulb altogether. Instead of heating a wire filament like in a candescent bulb, CFL’s drive an electric current through the curled tubing which heats vapour contained within, which excites a fluorescent coating that emits the light that you see.

As a result of this change in technology, a CFL uses 20 to 33 percent of the power of equivalent incandescent lamps. Additionally, as well as using such a smaller amount of power, a CFL also gives off a substantially smaller amount of heat, making them safer to use in a house.

Changing to a CFL light bulb can save you anywhere up to $30 over the lifetime of the bulb, which when you consider how many light bulbs you have in your house amounts to a nice saving. The CFL will also pay for its somewhat pricier self over 6 months, while lasting 10 times longer than a standard bulb.

According to the Energy Star website, “if every American home replaced just one light with a light that’s earned the ENERGY STAR [typically a CFL], 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.”

The How

Changing to CFL’s is as easy as heading to your local supermarket or hardware store and finding the right bulb for you. It might be worthwhile talking to someone to gauge how strong or what colour your bulb needs to be, as there are a few options and the right one can make your house feel more comfortable, as well as saving you money.

Conversely, in many countries there are organisations and government run groups which, for a small fee or for free, will come into your house, help you make the decisions about which light bulbs to change and what sort to change to, and provide the bulbs on the spot, saving you any trouble. The best way to find one of these groups is to look at your local government website.

Image Source: AZAdam




2 comments
  1. david shapiro

    I fear this oversimplifies, because it ignores various characteristics Compact Fluorescents (CFLs)share with other fluorescents. They may not be dimmable, for example. When they break, you are exposed to poison, and after the room inwhich they break has aired out, you need to take due care cleaning up by following the Hazardous Material instructions. Inexpensive fluorescents can trigger illness in some people who are vulnerable to flickering.

    In some cases, substituting the more-expensive LED replacements, rather than CFLs, will help, but LEDs have their own limitations.

    1. Zachary Shahan

      Yes, I think LEDs are a better option. But the minuses of CFLs are really overblown. The reduced mercury emissions from less electricity use (coal power plants are responsible for a considerable amount of mercury) are greater than the risk posed by mercury in CFLs… & heck, no one freaks out about the mercury in thermometers like they do with CFLs. as far as the health concerns of cheaper, flickering CFLs, again, i think including this alongside the benefits of CFLs presents a false equality… the benefits far outweigh the costs

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