Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Practically Eco: Switch out Your Bulbs

Perhaps you've heard, or maybe you haven't, but designers everywhere are despairing over the lighting change that will hit in 2012.  At that time, incandescent bulbs will have been phased out of the lighting market in the United States and will no longer be available for purchase.  Now, Edison had a good thing going when he invented what has evolved into the incandescent light bulb, but "green" wasn't exactly a buzzword at the time.  Because of the government mandated switch, homeowners won't have much of a choice, but there are several benefits to switching to compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs:

Image: Energy Pal

But what about the horror stories?  What about the compromising effect of fluorescent lighting on children in elementary schools?  What about the headaches these lights are blamed for?  The good news is, fluorescent lighting has come a long way.

So, if you're making the switch (and why wouldn't you?!), what do you need to know when you're standing in the light bulb aisle?  Start here:
·  CFLs can appear brighter than a traditional bulb.  Err on the side of caution and drop down to the next lowest wattage available.
·  "Soft white" is the best fit for bedrooms and living areas
·  "Daylight" is a great choice for kitchens and baths
·  "Full spectrum" is ideal for offices and basements
·  Save "bright white" for outdoor spaces
·  Once you get the bulbs home, don a pair of gloves when twisting the bulbs into place to protect yourself from the chemical coating inherent to the bulbs.


  • A single CFL replaces approximately 10 traditional bulbs, lasting 5-7 years! 
  • CFLs use about one quarter of the energy of a traditional bulb.  Make the switch for the next month and watch your electric bill fall.
  • Incandescent bulbs utilize a phenomenal amount of coal.  Switching even one traditional bulb for a CFL saves 500 pounds of coal!

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