Project Green, Day 1: Compact Florescent Lights

You know those funny light bulbs that are shaped sort of like an ice-cream cone? They could save you around $30 over the life of the light for each one you switch out with a regular bulb. They also put out much less heat, making cooling your home easier on the old A/C.

Even Wal-Mart has gotten on the CFL bandwagon. They aim to sell 100 million CFL’s in the next year. That’s basically one per household in the U.S. If that happens it would be like taking 1.3 million cars off the road in terms of greenhouse gases generated by the power companies.

When first introduced these CFL bulbs were slow to turn on, rather weak, and many didn’t quite live up to the promises of long life. Today, if you’re careful and buy energy star approved brands you’re almost guaranteed a light bulb that will pay for itself in the first few months of use and light your home just as well as any old fashioned incandescent light while staying much cooler. About 100F instead of 1,000F.

One downside is that the CFL bulbs contain trace amounts of mercury. Don’t worry if you break one, there isn’t enough mercury in one bulb to pose a hazard to users, but this does mean that you can’t just throw them out with the coffee grinds. They need to be recycled. Just take them to the local hardware store or recycling facility. Either one should be able to take care of them for you at no charge. A small inconvenience for the money savings you get when using one. Not to mention all the good you’ll be doing the environment. Like you’ll ever have one go bad anyway, they last 15,000 hours!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_fluorescent_lamp

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