One of the easiest things most people can do to reduce the amount of energy they use is to replace standard or incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs. Generally, when people refer to lights that are energy efficient, they mean compact fluorescent lights or CFLs. Replacing standard bulbs in a home with CFLs reduces power use to light a home by approximately 75%. This saves money, and if it were adopted on a wide scale by lots of people, it could greatly reduce environmental debt.
A quick explanation of CFL or energy light bulbs is that they provide more light at a lower wattage. A 25-watt CFL will provide about the same amount of light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb. Most packages of CFLs will offer useful conversions charts so that people can determine which CFL wattages will adequately replace incandescent lights.
Switching to energy-efficient bulbs would seem so easy, and yet there are many people who haven’t stopped buying incandescent lights. One reason for this is the upfront expense of CFLs, as they do cost more. However, consumers should know that not only will these energy-efficient bulbs save money on electricity bills, but they also may be longer lasting than standard bulbs. It’s also possible to find deals by buying these in bulk at warehouse stores like Costco®. Some electricity companies provide a rebate if a person buys CFLs.
Other concerns some people have are that the bulbs won’t fit in older lamps, or that they can’t be used with three way lamps or light dimmers. It is very easy and inexpensive to purchase socket extenders for lamps that won’t accommodate a CFL. People can also find three-way CFLs and those that are appropriate for use with dimmers. These may be a bit pricier, but can be a good investment in the long run.
There is another form of energy-efficient bulbs that many may find especially helpful around the holidays. LED or light emitting diodes are now common replacements for the average Christmas or holiday lights. These also cost a bit more to buy but are typically brighter and will save money on holiday electric bills, in addition to using less energy. Each bulb uses less than one watt, per hour, while the standard Christmas light uses about eight watts. It’s easy to see how quickly energy use goes up when employing standard bulbs instead of LEDs.
People who do decide to replace fluorescent bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs should be aware of some safe disposal methods. In particular, CFLs cannot be thrown into the trash. They do have a tiny amount of mercury, which can pollute ground water and cause great problems for the environment. Check with local communities to see which methods they offer for safe disposal of CFLs in order to avoid this potential hazard.