Genii Weblog

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Mon 18 Dec 2006, 10:14 AM

by Ben Langhinrichs
My daughter is home from the Mexican border (she spent the last semester living in Ciudad Juarez and taking classes in both El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, and so crossing the border practically every day), and actually staying here for a few weeks, something which has not happened since she started college.  It has shifted routines a bit, but it has also brought a fresh perspective and energy to the household.This past weekend, that has meant buying Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs and placing them in many of the frequently used light fixtures inside and outside the house.  We have always been a fairly energy conscious family, but this is something we had never gotten around to doing.

According to the EnergyStar website:
If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR, we would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars.
We replaced twenty.  Time to invite Al Gore over, I guess.  There are some very slight differences, such as the bulb hesitating a fraction of a second before turning on, and taking a minute or two to get up to full brightness, but otherwise it seems to make no difference at all, and the 75 watt equivalent bulbs take only 20 watts of power.  We also replaced some 100 watt light bulbs with the 75 watt equivalents (we really don't like the place so bright, but the previous owners did), so they now take 20% of the power and look just about the same.  It feels good to do something, even if it is not a huge something.

Copyright 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

534.1. Charles Robinson
(12/18/2006 08:00 AM)

Glad to see others getting on the compact fluorescent bandwagon. I like that the CF bulbs use less energy overall, but a much bigger impact for me is that the CF bulbs generate much less heat. You can comfortably touch a CF bulb that has been on for a while. Try that with a regular incandescent or a halogen.

Where I live the cooling season is 7 months, and I live in an old house with poor air circulation. Some rooms would be stifling while others were freezing. By switching to CF it's more comfortable everywhere, and we have noticed a decrease in our cooling costs.

534.2. Ben's Daughter
(12/19/2006 06:36 AM)

now if only I could get them to switch to LEDs for all the dimming lights, or recessed fixtures, and especially for the Christmas lights, and buy a blanket for the hot water heater.....

no, I'm proud of you guys for doing something. well done Dad!

534.3. Joe Litton
(12/30/2006 01:49 PM)

We've switched about 20 of our bulbs. The toughest were some recessed lights - rather high up - for which I needed to use a small grinding stone on a drill to make the sheet metal openings wide enough to accept the CF bulbs ...while hanging at odd angles from the ladder. Result is full-spectrum (much brighter and whiter) light for a fraction of the energy use ...and my right elbow being rather severely messed up for 6 weeks or so ...slowly rehabilitated the elbow over time with very gentle weight training and is finally back in shape.

Last year we switched to LEDs for the outdoor Christmas lights ...VERY nice. They are brighter, should last longer, and use much less energy.

Next up ...whenever one of the cars dies ...will be switching to at least a hybrid if not full electric car, hopefully with solar panels installed by then to offset the energy consumption of the car. Goal is a zero-carbon footprint, generating electricity from the Florida sun to equal at least the full amount of electricity used to keep the car charged.

An ongoing process, and if we each keep doing what we can, we CAN make a rather significant difference.

534.4. Charles Robinson
(01/02/2007 10:09 AM)

Interestingly enough, yesterday on the TLC show MythBusters they did a comparison of lightbulbs. The myth they were testing was whether the energy used turning a light on and off was greater than the cost of leaving it on. They busted the myth, but I was extremely interested in the results they were showing.

On the scale they were using an incandescent light rated a 90 in terms of energy per hour. A compact fluorescent producing the same lumens rated a 10. An LED bulb with the same lumens rated a 1. In another test they set up a machine that turned the lights on and off every 2 minutes. After 10,000 cycles (equivalent to 5 years of use) everything but the LED light had failed. The down side: $23 per bulb.

534.5. Max Flatshare
(05/09/2010 00:04)

Here in England they give away energy saving bulbs at the supermarkets. There is a drive to get everyone on energy savers! I run a property and flatshare site and will be promotng energy savers and other green ideas!