Why Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Are Awesome
NOTE: Lighting technology is changing quickly. We will also accept LEDs and other better bulbs. You should also do other things, like driving less and writing letters to politicians -- but other wbsites cover this better than we could!
Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) use less energy, last longer and save money.
- CFLs use about four times less electricity than normal incandescent bulbs.
If you live in Canada you'll remember the One Tonne Challenge, a government campaign that aimed to get all Canadians to cut their CO2 emissions by one tonne. Amazingly, this can be achieved by switching just two bulbs to CFLs.
- CFLs cost more to purchase, but you'll make money back after using them for only 500 hours, or to put it another way after 42 days of using them for 12 hours a day - way faster than a mortgage!
- CFLs last a long time. Most of them are guaranteed for 8,000 hours or more, as opposed to incandescent bulbs, which last 500 to 2000 hours. They'll last a bit less if you switch them on and off a lot -- but it won't cost you any more than switching a regular bulb on and off a lot.
But Do They Work OK?
CFLs have advanced way beyond the buzzy, flickery, greenish fluorescents we've suffered through in office buildings. Many look a lot like regular bulbs and can be plugged into regular sockets. They come in many colors (warm white, soft white, yellow) and types (globe lights, flood lights, lights that work with a dimmer). Explore the many options, if you want. The lighting may look a little different than what you are used to, so buy just a few at first and try them out. Also, they sometimes take a couple minutes to become fully bright.
When the 8,000 Hours Are Up
CFLs have a tiny bit of mercury in them. It's negligible compared to, say, a coal burning power plant, but it could add up in a landfill. Take your bulbs back to the store where you bought them, or to a recycling plant.