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Light, ah what would we do without it? One hundred-thirty years ago Mr. Edison revolutionized light with his invention of the familiar incandescent bulb.
Today we have the CFL and LED bulbs, to name just a few.

Why fiddle when it ain’t broke?

Well, let me share why.

Mr. Edison’s bulb generates 90% more heat (energy) than light. Energy burns coal, and coal emissions generate the most mercury emissions, contribute to greenhouse gasses, and add to global climate change. Do I have your attention?

Back in 2007, a Bush bill set new standards for more efficient light bulbs. Pot-bellied bulbs must become 30% more efficient, while 100-watt incandescents will be banned from stores by 2012 and 40-watt bulbs by 2014. This incentive means that a fully implemented law could reduce the need for thirty additional power plants and 100 million tons of CO2 emissions per year will fail to manifest on the planet. From where I stand, these statistics are compelling. Want to know more?

Today we appear to have a zillion bulb choices on store shelves, similar to the cereal choices at Whole Foods. Where are the manuals? I shall now shed my “light” on this topic:

The CFL stands for compact fluorescent lighting. This spiral shaped bulb uses 75% less energy than incandescents. They are four times more expensive than incandescents, yet the lifespan increases tenfold. Some folks are opposed to the CFL’s quality and color of light emitted, yet this problem is drastically improved from the earliest editions.

The main concern with the CFL is the slight amount (1-4 mg) of mercury in the bulb, which involves a bit of special handling when installing and disposing. Updated information regarding these matters is found at http://www.energystar.gov/. In a nutshell, handle the bulbs at the base-never force, and recycle them in sealed plastic bags at most home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. Heaven forbid if you break one…just kidding. There is specific protocol for handling a broken CFL, so do check out the website.

The last bulb I plan to address today is the LED (light emitting diodes). These sexy lights last four times longer than CFL, yet are wildly expensive. Similar to all new technology, prices will decline over time. If you feel flush, go for it, and remember to leave them in your will.

In closing: Lighting accounts for 20% of home electric bills. Heating and cooling devour another chunk, yet that is a subject for another day. If I taught you nothing else today, please remember: when we turn on a light, the majority of the time, we are burning coal.

I look forward to your comments. This blog is my personal soapbox regarding topics closest to my heart. I hope to educate and inspire.

Copyright (c) 2012 By Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved