Change Your Bulbs to CFLs

The Compact Fluorescent Light bulb (CFL) is a fluorescent light that screws into a regular socket, available in the same shades of white light as incandescent and halogen bulbs.Lighting accounts for 20% of all electricity used in our country.

A typical CFL uses only 25% of the electricity of an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light, so if every U.S. household replaced its most heavily used incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, electricity use for lighting could be cut in half. This would cut our annual carbon dioxide pollution by about 62.5 million tons, halting the growth in our country’s global warming pollution.

Replacing just one bulb with a CFL makes a big difference.

Where electricity is produced from coal, each CFL will cut carbon dioxide pollution by about 1,300 pounds over its lifetime. If every household in the U.S. replaced just one incandescent light bulb with a CFL, the pollution equivalent of one million cars would disappear.

CFLs save you money and the more CFLs you use, the more you save.

. . .as if saving the planet weren’t enough reason to buy CFLs!

Here are the facts:

* A CFL uses 75% less electricity than an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light—so a 15-watt CFL is just as bright as a 60-watt incandescent.

* A regular 60-watt light bulb costs 59 cents,

* and a basic 15-watt CFL costs $3.99.

* A typical house has 45-50 light sockets.

Now let’s do the math. Assuming a household only replaces 10 of its 45-50 bulbs with CFLs in high use areas where lights are on 10 hours a day:


Plus, CFLs typically last about five times as long as incandescent bulbs, so you’ll buy only one CFL for every five incandescents.

CFLs now come in all shapes, sizes, and shades.

New CFLs reach full brightness as quickly as incandescent bulbs. Electronic ballasts and better start-up technology have eliminated the old flickering and slow-start problems that some CFLs once had. Plus, CFLs produce light that’s as warm and friendly as your favorite incandescent. And now, you can even buy CFLs that work in three-way fixtures and with dimmers. So almost anywhere you need a bulb, you can use a CFL!

Look for CFLs recommended by the U.S. EPA’s Energy Star program. Home improvement centers, hardware and grocery stores—CFLs are everywhere! Plus, dimmable and three-way CFLs are available for purchase on-line.

Dispose of CFLs properly.

CFLs contain a trace amount of mercury—much less than what a coal plant emits to power just one regular light bulb, and less than 1% of what’s in a mercury thermometer. You can just throw away a burned-out CFL, but it’s better to dispose of it properly. Go to Earth911 and enter your zip code to find out how. And if you break a CFL, be sure to clean it up properly. Go to this page at the U.S. EPA website for instructions.