Let there be light

If you still have incandescent light bulbs in your home, you really need to think about switching some of them to fluorescent bulbs.  Recycla knows that there are some folks out there who really hate the light given off by compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s), but things have improved in recent years and you no longer have to live with lights that are as cold and impersonal as the ones in stores.

Even if you hate them, CFL’s are great energy savers.  They use 75% less energy than regular lightbulbs and last ten times longer, which saves you money on your electric bill and on replacement bulbs.

Recycla’s family built a new house a couple of years ago and one of their criteria for lights was that they be fluorescent.  As it happens, of the several dozen lights in the house, all but two are fluorescent.  Recycla would like to say that she’s torn up with guilt about those two lights, but she’s not. No one is perfect, fellow Eco Warriors.

So yes, Recycla lives with a lot of “curly light bulbs” and her family is so used to them that they’ve never noticed any difference between them and incandescent.  And thank goodness they do have all those energy-efficient lights because her daughters still leave them on all the time. Things have started to improve in recent weeks since Recycla told the girls that every time they leave a light on in an empty room, that’s money spent on the electric bill that could have gone toward the family’s vacation fund. (Yes, Recycla is willing to fudge the truth a bit if it gets her children to turn off some of the lights.)

Here’s the deal:  incandescent bulbs are being phased out worldwide — Brazil and Venezuela in 2005; Australia, Ireland, and Switzerland in 2009; and other countries in 2011 and 2012.  The U.S. will start between 2012 and 2014, but some stores have already started.  Soon you won’t be able to find the old school light bulbs, so you’re going to have to find a more energy efficient option.

Unfortunately, according to a recent newspaper article, some folks are not going quietly into the well-lit night.  There are reports of people hoarding incandescent bulbs, including one woman who said she cannot afford CFL’s, yet has purchased hundreds of incandescent bulbs for future use.  Clearly, people with that mentality either do not understand or care that their energy use (and related utility bills) will go down if they switch lightbulbs.

So here is Recycla’s challenge to those of you who are resisting getting curly light bulbs:  Give it a try.  Find one light in your home and swap out the bulb.  Once you get used to it, replace another one. Don’t throw away your old incandescent bulbs, but as they burn out, replace them with CFL’s.

If every house in the U.S. replaced just one regular lightbulb with a CFL, it would be the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road or lighting 2.5 million homes for a year. Now imagine the energy savings if every household swapped out two or three or more!

Tell the Eco Women: What kind of lightbulbs do you have in your home?


3 thoughts on “Let there be light

  1. Florescent lighting gives me a headache and makes me look like I am dying of cancer. That said, since I discovered the CFLs that have an extra glass shield around them, that looks like a regular light bulb, I’ve been gradually switching to them. The curly ones are awful and I won’t use them.

    I hate how CFLs take longer to light up and I hate that they have mercury in them. I am hoping that a better option will come along. I’m also seriously annoyed because I used an amazon gift card I got for Christmas to stock up on the CFLs that I can tolerate, and they came packaged in styrofoam peanuts, which has to be even worse for the environment than incandescent bulbs.

  2. Almost all the bulbs in my house are compact fluorescent, except the opaque globes in the bathroom. The color of light and the speed at which they come on vary quite a bit. I don’t like the fact that they contain mercury either, but you can recycle them at Home Depot (at least in the Boulder-Denver area) or take them to your local hazardous waste collection site. If you keep the used ones at home until you have enough to take in for disposal, please keep them in a plastic bag in case they break–that way the mercury should be contained (I think).

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