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Green Light: Switch to CFL’s

written by: Laura Jean Karr•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 2/8/2010

Green living means making adjustments to your regular daily living. Here we are going to take a look at the benefit of switching to the best green light alternative on the market today: CFL bulbs.

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    Compact Florescent Bulbs

    Regular incandescent light bulbs are marked with the electrical energy that they consume, which is their wattage. The higher the watts listed on a light bulb the brighter the light will be as it consumes more energy. The more energy consumed the more of a drain on the local power supply and so on. Incandescent bulbs radiate the higher pull of energy as heat and not as light. Up to 90% of the power that is consumed by these bulbs is emitted as heat and because of the power drain; the bulbs don’t have a very long lighting life to them.

    The only bonuses to incandescent bulbs are that they are cheap to produce and are sold at an affordable rate. Though it is not much of an affordable rate in the long term when you have to keep running out to buy more bulbs. Looking at the rates in that way, you can see how the manufacturing of these bulbs is a long term money maker for the companies who produce them.

    Incandescent bulbs are on the down swing here in America, though. On December 18th, 2007 an energy efficiency bill was signed into law after passing both the House and Senate that seeks to eradicate all incandescent bulbs in our country by 2014. The ban has begun with getting rid the 100-watt bulb by 2012 and end in 2014 with the 40-watt.

    Compact fluorescent bulbs use only one fourth of the same power than an incandescent bulb does, while providing the equivalent or more light. CF’s also do not emit heat in lieu of light as the regular light bulb does and they have a much longer light life in terms of years rather than months. This means that over the long term, a regular household can save money on their electrical bill for both lighting and air conditioning, as the CF’s won’t produce the heat in the hotter months that would require the a/c to be turned on; in compensation as you would do with the incandescent bulb.

    There are some down sides to using the compact fluorescent bulbs. They are more expensive at the moment than the older bulbs but with the economical push to get them into more homes the price is starting to go down. The CF’s contain trace amounts of mercury and need to be recycled and not just thrown in the trash. They don’t always fit the older screw lighting fittings and require an extender as an additional purchase.

    When making the switch to from incandescent to compact florescent bulbs there are many things to consider. The Environmental Defense Fund has a great web site that answers all manner of questions from what type of new bulb to get, to how much of an impact will one home switching make? Have a visit over to their site section entitled How to pick a Better Bulb.