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Compact Fluorescent Bulbs - Cut Your Energy Usage...

Compact fluorescent bulbs are all the talk these days. It seems like the environmentally, eco-friendly thing to do, but is it really? There have been vast improvements in compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) for short, in the last few years and here are some things you should consider before you make the plunge.

First of all be sure the CFL bulbs you purchase have an Energy Star rating. This the the Department of Energy's standard of which all energy-using devices are rated. With Compact Fluorescent Bulbs with an Energy Star rating you can expect:


  • A 75% energy usage decrease over incandescent bulb of the same lighting output.
  • The have an expected bulb life of up to 10 times that of an incandescent bulb.
  • They produce 75% less heat than incandescent bulbs.
  • CFL bulbs are now available in a wide variety of shapes, light output and light color making them usable for nearly every application.
  • Special application CFL bulbs can now be used with a dimmer or three-way sockets. These are known as dimmable compact fluorescent bulbs.

Be sure to compare what your existing incandescent bulb wattage is and compare to the bulb on the Energy Star rating on the package. For instance a 100w incandescent bulb has 1600 lumens of light output. An Energy Star Compact Fluorescent Bulb of similar lighting output has between 23 and 30 watts. That is up to 75% less energy with the same amount of light output.

Also look for color in your bulbs. If you are used to a "soft white" appearance then the CFL will have an output that leans more toward the yellow, red and orange or warm spectrum of light. This is what most of us are accustomed to in our home environments. In the office you may want to go toward the blue colors.

Also if you are confused by the "K" numbers which stand for Kelvin in the lighting color spectrum, just remember the lower the number the warmer the light will be and the higher numbers are more blue, bluish white or white. Such terms as "bright white" "natural" or "daylight" will mean cooler colors.

The nasty thing about CFL's if the mercury content that is used to produce the bulbs. It has been lowered drastically over the last few years and is now down to an average of 4 mg for each bulb. The environmental trade-off is that we use 75% less electricity with them and reduce our carbon footprint and this alone makes them a viable option. Just be sure to follow recycle directions on the packaging or on DOE's Energy Star website for proper disposal.

  • For additional green and eco-friendly green tips visit my blog at lilgreendress.

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