Saturday, January 3, 2009

Whose bright idea was this?

No, I didn't fail third grade.  In fact, Edison and I hail from the same cheery childhood home of Port Huron, Michigan.  But as much as I honor the fact that the man was a genius of his time, there are better ways to light a room now.  

I say all this because this morning the lightbulb in my favorite lamp in the house died.  Not only did it put a cramp in my early morning plans but it has given me the opportunity to replace one of the last dinosaur incandescent bulbs in my house with a more efficient Compact Florescent Light (CFL).  

In case you aren't familiar with CFLs they are the slightly pricier but so worth it version of light bulb.  To produce the same amount of light they use 1/4 to 1/3 of the energy, which means that you totally save money in the long run, plus you don't have to make so many annoying trips to the store like I have to today.  CFLs have about 10,000-20,000 hours use in them, which is approximately 10-20x more than Edison's old faithful.  

Some environmentalists will tell you that this energy (and cost) efficiency is so great that you should go out and replace all your incandescents today.  If you are up for it, more power to you.  I have just been replacing mine as they go out.  Part of the reason for this is I don't have any good place to recycle the old ones.  Any ideas?  

But when you do get your CFLs, be a little careful.  They contain trace amounts of mercury.  If they break follow proper pick up procedure (i.e. don't touch with your hands or let the little ones at 'em).  And when your CFLs run out, years and years (and years) from now, just drop the old one off at Home Depot or another such store with a recycling program for them when you pick up the new one.  How simple is that?  

Another bright idea I wanted to tell you about while we are on the subject is LED lights.  These are also highly energy efficient and super safe but they are quite pricey and most cost effective in small items like flashlights, night-lights, strings of lights for your Christmas tree, etc... So if you are in the market for those little things or something that runs at a real low wattage, feel free to opt LED.

Now I know, when you are at the store and you are looking at $4.99 for the CFL compared to about $1.50 for the incandescent you are going to think, "Money is tight and if I could save over $3 that might be worth it."  But think about this my friends, the bulb I bought today claims a $59 savings over the life of the bulb.  $59!!!  So resist the call of the incandescent for green gracious and think long-term for your pocketbook and the planet!

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