As you can see by the picture to the left and the badge added to the right side of the blog, the Mahoning Valley is doing a good job of conserving energy by switching from incandescent light bulbs to the newer, more energy efficient compact flourescent bulbs (CFL). The site is 18Seconds.org. It was set up by Yahoo! in order to promote the use of these CFL bulbs (18 seconds is how long it takes to change a bulb). According to the site and other sources switching to CFL's are a good idea for the following reasons:
- Incandescent bulbs waste 90% of the energy they use as heat. Only 10% is used as light. CFL's produce 70% less heat.
- One CFL can prevent the release of more than 450 pounds of greehouse gas emissions over the course of its lifetime. That is the equivalent of 200 lbs of coal not being burned.
- CFL's reduce the amount of coal burned to generate electricity.
- Replacing just the 5 most used bulbs in your house with CFL's can save about $60.00 in electricty over the course of a year.
- If every home in America swapped out one 60 watt bulb with a CFL bulb enough energy would be saved to power a city of 1.5 million people.
Personally, I like CFL's because they last longer than normal bulbs, up to 8,000 hours versus about a 1,000 hours for an incandescent bulb. They are also much, much cheaper to operate. A 20 watt CFL bulb is equivalent to a 75 watt incandescent bulb. If you replace all of the 60 watt lamps in your home with 20 watt CFL's you will get 25% more light and use one-third the electricity doing so. This savings in electricty adds up, too. A CFL can save as much as $36.00 per bulb over the course of its life. That's $36.00 per bulb. And you may not have to change light bulbs again for years.
The drawback in the short term is the price of the CFL's. They vary in price depending on where you buy them but the cost is being reduced as more and more of them are sold. In this area I bought 4 GE's for about $16.00 at Target and they were similarly priced at K-Mart. However, Wal-Mart had a pack of three for sale for under $8.00 this weekend. Wal-Mart is trying to improve its public image by selling one CFL bulb to each of its 100 million customers. It definitely pays to comparison shop.
Changing these bulbs is easy. It's something that everyone can do and it's good for all of us. We can't all afford hybrid cars or put solar panels on the roof but just about all of us can afford to change one light bulb. If we all pulled together we could move the region's ranking up to number one at 18seconds.org. It would be great to be number one on a list for a positive reason.