Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Environmental Good Deed for the Day

I changed a light bulb. Actually, I changed two. When I noticed a bulb had burned out in my bathroom, I decided to replace both bulbs in the fixture.

From this:

to this:

These compact fluorescent light bulbs fit into the same space as the old fashioned ones, and with the cover in place, you can't tell any difference.

The color is a little bluer than the incandescents over the bathroom sink,

or the CFL I have in the light fixture by my back door.

Here, the temperature rating of "Daylight" is about 6000 Kelvins. I am still getting used to this look.

In retrospect, I think I would look for bulbs labeled "warm white," "soft white," or "bright white," which are rated in the 3000-3500 Kelvin range, as being a little more natural.

These CFLs give off the equivalent light of a 60W bulb while only using 14W of energy. That's an estimated $37 savings per bulb over the life of the bulb, about 8000 hours, in electricity use. They cost $2 a piece, on sale from $4 each. This is more than standard bulbs would cost, but it would take 10 incandescent bulbs to equal the life span of one CFL.

So far, I have put CFL's in the outdoor light fixtures at my front and back doors and in this one in the bathroom. I have at least two other ceiling lights slated for replacement with CFLs. I'm starting with those since they are the harder bulbs to change.

The draw-backs: CFLs have a slight delay in start time as compared to incandescents. I notice this in my outdoor lights in cold weather, but it is not a big problem. The larger issue is that all CFLs contain mercury. Finding a way to safely disposed of the used bulbs is a problem I will have to deal with in the future.

Oh yeah, and I recycled the cardboard packaging, too.


A rhetorical question: Why, if we can put a man on the moon and make compact fluorescent light bulbs, why do we still use these teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy thumb screws to attach the covers onto ceiling light fixtures?


Susan Gets Native said...

I'm with ya on the tiny screw thing. Seems like a pretty flimsy apparatus to keep GLASS from crashing to the floor.
I love CFL bulbs! I'm soaking in it right now!

Lisa said...

Recycling CFLs

Click on "Where you live" and follow the links to your local solid waste authority to find where/how to recycle fluorescents in your area.
(Hint: Home Depot.)

NCmountainwoman said...

We've been doing the same thing and have most of our bulbs replaced. I still can't get used to the harshness of the light, but that's a small price to pay.

Lisa said...

Home Depot has a line of CFLs called N:Vision that includes one that I can't tell apart from incandescent (in terms of light quality.) I don't remember what it's called - "soft white?" - but it's the one with the green stripe on the packaging.

Mary said...

We're slowly replacing our bulbs with them. I notice they turn on like theater lighting - slowly from dimming to bright.