Top / Earth Day 2006 / Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Factsheet


Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) last longer than typical incandescent light bulbs, and use less energy.
If every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with a CFL, it would prevent enough pollution to equal removing one million cars from the road.
Replacing a 100-watt incandescent with a 32-watt CFL can save you at least $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.
CFLs operate at less than 100° F, they are also safer than typical halogen bulbs, which are frequently used in floor lamps, and burn at 1,000° F. Due to their high heat output, halogens can cause burns and fires. CFLs are cool to the touch.
CFLs provide the same amount of light (lumens) as standard incandescent bulbs, but have lower wattage ratings.
CFLs are lower in mercury compared to other types of bulbs.
Electricity production is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and lighting accounts for about 25 percent of American electricity consumption. Standard incandescent lights are notoriously inefficient. Though CFLs cost more at the outset, over the life of the bulb they will save you money.
By replacing four standard bulbs with CFLs, you can prevent the emission of 5,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and reduce your electricity bill by more than $100 over the lives of those bulbs.
Replacing one incandescent light bulb with an energy saving CFL bulb reduced carbon monoxide emission to the atmosphere by 1,000 pounds.
CFLs last about eight times as long as incandescent bulbs. They only need to be replaced every five to six years.
To maximize savings, use CFLs in places where lights are on for long periods of time. Frequent switching on and off will shorten the CFL's life.
CFLs contain four milligrams of mercury, approximately half the mercury found in a linear fluorescent lamp. Mercury vapour will only be released when the lamp is broken while operating. Most lamp manufacturers offer a "low mercury" or environmentally friendly lamp. The green socket or end cap identifies these lamps.
Lighting accounts for about 20% of all electricity use in the country and about 15% of electricity use in our homes. The typical household spends about $110 per year on lighting and most of this is wasted on inefficient incandescent light bulbs. These bulbs are actually heaters in disguise, converting 90% of the electricity to heat and only about 10% to visible light.
If every household replaced its most commonly used incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, electricity use for lighting could be cut in half. Doing so would lower our annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 125 billion pounds. This action alone could halt the growth in carbon dioxide emissions from the United States, given recent growth rates.
By installing CFLs in their most commonly used light fixtures, consumers will do good for the environment and for their own pocketbooks. If more households did this, we could take an important step towards protecting the planet from global climate change.


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