Energy Tough Love (Compact Flourescents)

August 7th, 2007

Stopping burning stuff to be happy is easy once you get the hang of it. For instance lighting is a very simple way to at least cut down. I was asked by a Mayor of a pretty good sized town what was the greenest thing I thought he could do. My answer was ban incandescent lightbulbs tomorrow! When you think about electrical lighting its kinda like burning the candle on both ends. You are burning coal (or someother major source) at a power plant and then burning something to make light at the other end. This might have been acceptable 100 years ago but NOT NOW. At least not the way Thomas Edison wanted it done. Incandescents simply burn a wire inside a glass case until the wire breaks.

There are several ways to minimize this. If everyone switched to compact flourescent light bulbs right now, We could shut down almost all of the 100+ nuclear power plants or the equivalent of the “dirtier” coal fired power plants immediately. Compact flourescent light bulbs still burn things, in this case a electric modulating balast that interacts with a gas to produce light, but they are at least 5 times more efficient than a lightbulb and last 5 times as long. While this is an extreme example, I currently have a compact in my basement that i bought in 1990 and it is still going strong!!! It cost me $15 then, but that is now less than a $1 a year. How many of you can say that you spent $1 on bulbs last year? And they have gotten a lot cheaper. You can get them now on sale for $3.

2 to 200 Watt
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

you can find out more at,, or, and wikepedia has a listing on them as well

But there so much more out there. There is LCD lighting that is again, 5 to 10 times more efficient than compact florescent light bulbs. For day time lighting there are light tunnels to bring daylight into the house. My ultimate dream is to have biological lighting that is totally renewable but that is another blog. Today get rid of your incandescent bulbs. 

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