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Thomas Edison called his invention the light bulb, but in truth incandescent bulbs are actually small heaters that produce a little light. Now we have far better alternatives for generating more light using far less energy and creating far less heat. Here are a few key things to know about CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs and keeping your light green.

CFL Bulb


Why are CFL’s a Better Deal than Incandescent Bulbs?

  1. CFL’s use 25% the electricity to give the same brightness as an incandescent bulb.
  2. CFL’s last up to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs.

CFL Bulbs Last Longer than Incandescent Bulbs

What about Brightness? Here’s the confusing part – the brightness of incandescent bulbs is measured in watts, which is really the amount of electricity the bulb uses. Brightness should be measured in lumens. But we are used to thinking watts when we think about brightness. Well, we have to get over it. Here’s a table that will help.

Incandescent Bulb Wattage CFL Bulb Wattage Lumens (brightness) Cost Savings ($0.10/kWh) CO2 Savings (pounds)
40W 11W > 490 $39-$44 507-572 lbs
60W 15W > 900 $62-$68 806-884 lbs
100W 26W > 1,750 $107-$112 1,391-1,456 lbs

CO2 savings refers to the power plant pollutants that would have been created generating the electricity we didn’t use. Cost and CO2 savings are calculated over the 15,000-hour life of CFL bulbs. Data calculations developed by the Environmental Defense Fund.

The good thing is that most stores that sell CFL’s will indicate the equivalent brightness of an incandescent bulb to help with the conversion from watts to lumens.   Some stores will even indicate the savings of the CFL over a conventional bulb.

The Bottom Line The main thing to remember is that every time we change an incandescent light bulb for a CFL we will save us lots of money over the life of the bulb.

Dare to Compare Remember to log the amount of electricity you use.  Go to your Baseline Energy Tracker and Login.  If you don’t already have an account, just Sign up and then enter the amount of electricity you used in June on the Energy Tracker Spread sheet.  You can find the amount on your power bill.  At the end of the month Greening Neighborhoods will post energy use and you will be able to see  how much electricity you use compared to your neighbor.

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