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GardenVoice.com
» Articles » Green News » CFL: A Better Idea In Light Bulbs

CFL: A Better Idea In Light Bulbs

by Douglas L. Bishop on 4/12/2008 11:59


I have an idea for a one-frame cartoon drawing. I see a scientist in his laboratory, wearing his white lab coat. Lots of scientific apparatus surrounds him. The “thought bubble” above his head contains the classic symbol for a new idea—the incandescent light bulb. Another smaller “thought bubble” arises from the first, this one containing the new CFL “corkscrew” light bulb. The caption under the drawing reads, “Evolution Of An Idea.”

In the wake of the green revolution, corkscrew light bulbs, or Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) as they are called, are an energy efficient idea whose time has come.

CFL bulbs save you money and they are helpful to the environment.

First let’s consider the monetary aspect.

Although the initial cost of the CFL bulb is usually greater than that of the incandescent bulb, the money saved over the lifetime of the bulb is very real. Since the CFL lasts about 10 times longer than the incandescent, you won’t be buying replacement bulbs for a very long time; and since the CFL only uses about ¼ as much electricity to operate, your electric bill should be less over the long run.

Also, since the incandescent light bulb is quite inefficient and actually gives off most of its energy as heat, your warm weather home cooling expense should decrease with the use of CFL given that your AC unit won’t have to work as hard to compensate for the heat generated by those incandescent bulbs.

Here’s a quick numerical comparison of the two light sources:

A typical 60 watt soft white incandescent light bulb uses 60 watts of energy, produces about 825 lumens of light, and has a life expectancy of about 1,000 hours. A 60 watt equivalent CFL uses about 14 watts of energy, produces about 900 lumens of light, and has a life expectancy of about 10,000 hours. Multiply this times the number of light bulbs in your home and you start to see how the savings add up.

How can the use of CFL help the environment?

Much of the electricity used to light our homes is generated by coal-fired power plants. The burning of coal releases massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas most commonly linked to global warming. The burning of coal also releases the pollutants sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide into the air; these gases being a contributing cause of acid rain.

Therefore, if we replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL bulbs, we will use less electricity, causing less coal to be burned in those coal-fired power plants and less polluting gases to be released into our atmosphere.

Save yourself some money and be a good steward of the environment; illuminate your life with Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs.

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