Why Switch To Fluorescent Lights
As it turns out you and I can change the world. If you change just a few light bulbs you can help both the environment and interestingly enough your budget.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, if every U.S. household replaced just one regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb, it would prevent 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the equivalent of taking 7.5 million cars off the road. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that by replacing regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs at the same minimal rate, Americans would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year.
Choosing the Right Fluorescent Bulbs
To make sure you get the same amount of light when replacing standard bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs, check the lumen rating on the light you are replacing and purchase a compact fluorescent light bulb with the same lumen rating. (A lumen rating is the measure of light the bulb puts out.)
Wattage varies greatly between standard light bulbs and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs typically use about one-quarter of the wattage used by standard bulbs to produce the same amount of light. So to replace a traditional 60-watt bulb, look for a compact fluorescent light bulb that is about 15 watts.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs are available in many different sizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture—from three-way lamps to dimmer switches—for both indoor and outdoor use.
Replacing one regular light bulb with an approved compact fluorescent light bulb would save consumers $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use at least two-thirds less energy than standard incandescent bulbs to provide the same amount of light, and they last up to 10 times longer. Compact fluorescent light bulbs also generate 70 percent less heat, so they are safer to operate and can also reduce energy costs associated with cooling your home.
For the average person switching from incandescent to compact fluorescent bulbs offers a lot of opportunity for energy and cost savings. Lighting accounts for 20 percent of the electric bill in the average U.S. home, and the average home has approximately 30 light fixtures. This should give you the information to calculate your personal cost savings.
You Do Need to Properly Recycle
The only real drawback to using compact fluorescent bulbs is that each one contains about 5 mg of mercury, a toxic heavy metal that can cause serious health problems if inhaled or ingested over a period of time or in large enough doses. As a result you need to recycle compact fluorescent bulbs to make sure they don’t end up in landfills.
Use Google to locate sites run by your city or businesses within your city that will recycle fluorescent bulbs at no cost.
I live in the city of Kirkland (recycling sites in Kirkland). Under recycling hazardous waste on their website they identify 12 locations that will take fluorescent bulbs to recycle at no cost. My county government (King County) has 3 mobile facilities that will take this hazardous waste and 4 permanent sites. Google is a pretty miraculous tool in the right hands.