Let's Be Bright About This
How do compact fluorescent bulbs compare with incandescents in cost, light quality, return on investment, and environmental impact? How can we change our habits and the way we use light to use less energy without living in the dark?
With the exception of a few odd-sized and shaped bulbs, we’ve changed out all of our incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. We’ve spent around $120 to replace 31 bulbs in the house, garage, and basement. By doing so we have reduced our lighting wattage requirement by 1739 watts. That's an energy draw reduction of 83% for our lighting. That seems significant.
The packaging that these CFLs come in show the wattage numbers for the requirement of the bulb plus the equivalent incandescent wattage for the light output. They also estimage a savings in dollars over the expected lifetime of the bulb. According to those estimations, we've just spent $120 to save $1700 over the service life of the bulbs. I'll take that deal.
We also prefer the light quality of the soft white bulbs signnificantly over the bright white or daylight styles. The soft whites appear more like the incandescents they replaced.
In addition to swapping out bulbs for the lower wattage CFLs, we’re training our kids and ourselves to turn around when we leave a room to check for any lights we left on and shut them off. Plenty of times have we walked by a room to see all the lights on with no one there to make use of the light. It’s a simple habit that can waste quite a few KwHs. Leave a 100 watt bulb on for an hour just ten times, and that’s a kilowatt hour. Multiply that by the actual number of bulbs you leave on that no one is using, and imagine how often you do that.
After using our compact flourescents for a few months, we've also noticed that when used in an enclosed fixture such as a glass ceiling light, they tend to burn out or otherwise fail much sooner than expected.
This page last updated on: 2009-11-23