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There is no excuse not to change your bulbs!



Why do we need to save power – electricity ?

Atmospheric CO2 Content Rises 1.7 Parts per Million/Year

Source: Fossil Fuel CO2 and the Angry Climate Beast, W.S. Broecker

The average American is responsible for 22 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2 a greenhouse gas) in a single year, six times the global average. Collectively, we produce about 6 billion tons each year by burning fossil fuels. Add to this what our fellow humans in other countries produce annually and you have a staggering 20 billion tons of CO2, half of which ends up in the atmosphere. The other half is taken up by the oceans and the terrestrial biosphere (plants and soils), with the oceans soaking up the larger portion.


If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an CFL, we would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars.



Compact fluorescents AKA CFL’s

ENERGY   CFL’s consume up to 75 percent less energy!

DURABILITY    CFL’s last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

COST   Save $30 or more in energy costs over each bulb’s lifetime

HEAT        Generate 70 percent less heat, so they’re safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling.

Incandescent bulbs operate at 350 degrees F in order to produce light while CFLs operate at 90 degrees F to produce light. The lower operating temperature of CFL’s means they are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs, not to mention easier on the air conditioner !


Equivalent light output


25 W

5-6 W

40 W

9 W

60 W

11–14 W

75 W

18–20 W

100 W

20-25 W

125 W

26-30 W

150 W

35-42 W






 CFL energy consumption compared to incandescent bulbs CFLs are typically guaranteed for 8,000 hours. (Incandescent bulbs typically last 500 to 2000 hours, depending on exposure to voltage spikes and mechanical shock.)



To get the most savings, replace bulbs where lights are on the most, such as your family and living room, kitchen, dining room, and porch.

Some CFLs have trouble operating in enclosed fixtures. Check the CFL’s packaging for any restrictions on uses.



 Matching the right CFL to the right kind of fixture helps ensure that it will perform properly and last a long time. Read the package to be sure that the type you choose works for the fixture that you have in mind.

Look before you buy Label identification

When purchasing florescent bulbs, be sure to check for COLOR quality and the WATTAGE. There are a variety of fluorescents that are available, but to get the right effect out of a particular room, you would need to identify the color chart presented on the packaging.

Color effect

Soft white                     Bright white                   Day light






Color temperature: The lower the color temperature, the warmer the light. Warmness (red) or coolness (blue) can be measures in degrees Kelvin by a chroma meter.

 Lumens vs. lux: Manufacturers use a complex process to measure lumens, the total quality of light emitted by a bulb. We use a light and chroma meter to measure lux, the light intensity a bulb shines on a surface.

Watts and efficiency: Our ammeter’s CFL wattage results were all within 3 watts of manufacturer rating – but all CFL use about 70 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs. The average U.S. household has 45 light bulbs – replacing that number of 75-watt incandescent bulbs with CFLs would save $180 per year.


A photograph of various light bulbs illustrates the effect of color temperature differences (left to right): 1. Compact Fluorescent: General Electric, 13 watt, 6500 K; 2. Incandescent: Sylvania 60-Watt Extra Soft White; 3. Compact Fluorescent: Bright Effects, 15 watts, 2644 K; 4. Compact Fluorescent: Sylvania, 14 watts, 3000 K

CFLs are produced in varying shades of white:

  • "Warm white" or "Soft white" (2700 K–3000 K) provides a light very similar to that of an incandescent bulb, somewhat yellow in appearance;
  • "White", "Bright White", or "Medium White" (3500 K) bulbs produce a yellowish-white light, whiter than an incandescent bulb but still on the warm side;
  • "Cool white" (4100 K) bulbs emit more of a pure white tone; and
  • "Daylight" (5000 K–6500 K) is slightly bluish-white.

The "K" denotes the correlated color temperature in kelvins. Color temperature is a quantitative measure. The higher the number, the “cooler”, i.e., bluer, the shade. Color names associated with a particular color temperature are not standardized for modern CFLs and other tri-phosphor lamps like they were for the older style halo phosphate fluorescent lamps. Variations and inconsistencies exist among manufacturers. For example, Sylvania's Daylight CFLs have a color temperature of 3500 K, while most other bulbs with a "daylight" label have color temperatures of at least 5000 K. Some vendors fail to include the kelvin value on the package, but this is beginning to improve now that the Energy Star Criteria for CFLs are expected to require such labeling in its 4.0 revision.


Design compromises and challenges

Apart from durability, the primary purpose of good CFL design is high electrical efficiency.

These are some other areas of interest:

Efforts to encourage adoption

Improving the efficiency of household lighting is part of the effort to increase energy efficacy. However, people have been hesitant to transition from incandescent bulbs to CFLs, despite their three- to twelve-month payback period. The initial capital investment is higher, which may deter some people. The warm-up period associated with CFLs discourages others (although the new CCFL mitigate that objection). Professionals who install lighting fixtures sometimes do not consider installing CFLs, because the electrical bill is not their concern, and the CFLs have a higher cost.

Some governments have attempted to encourage CFL usage by distributing them for free and by appealing to people's moral beliefs. Some activists in Britain have lobbied Parliament to tax or ban incandescent bulbs, a measure that has generated controversy, and websites like have been created in support of the ban.