Monday, June 30, 2008

You Haven't Changed Your Lightbulbs Yet?

The far peak is finally in view after days of fog and rain. Very hazy, which means a muggy day in New England.

I had a conversation with a good friend, a person who is outdoorsy, thoughtful and someone I thought had embraced the green movement. So I jokingly said, "Have you changed all your light bulbs yet?" His answer "No" shocked me and so here we are talking about it.

It seems the number one reason, and his, why folks have not gotten around to changing their light bulbs to CFL's (compact florescent lights) is..."My other ones haven't burnt out yet." My friend took it one step further and said he had some extras he still needed to "use up." Come on!

Now I know we Yankee frugal types do have a really hard time throwing things out, especially when they still work. It just goes against our grain. But if you look at the numbers, the cost savings of CFL's far exceed keeping those dinosaur of a light bulbs.

The math is really simple: A CFL uses only 25% electricity of a regular incandescent bulb. If you want the bottom line, your regular bulb costs you $1. compared to your CFL at only 25 cents. With these facts, why on earth would someone keep waisting their electric money continuing to burn a regular light bulb at 4 times the cost? Throw those darn things out! Remember, saving electricity use means saving money too. (yes I know it's about saving the planet but some people have to save it in their pockets too.) So here's another fact: If every American household changed only one of their regular bulbs to a CFL, that electrical savings would be enough to power the entire State of New Hampshire.

What other excuses do people have? The second biggest reason is the mercury content in a CFL. You know long office type fluorescent bulbs, that people have over their work benches and in closets? They have been around for decades and they have always contained mercury and no one seemed to be concerned about those. One CFL has about 1/6th the mercury of a watch battery. Okay, so a CFL can break more easily. Let's look at it another way. The electricity produced to burn your regular light bulb spews out more mercury into the air than than the difference in the mercury contained in the bulb. Since we have a major mercury problem in a our New Hampshire waters, I will continue to cast my vote with the CFL.

Those are the two major reasons why people have not changed their light bulbs. Here is a list of 10 reasons I have come across why people have not yet changed their light bulbs:

1- My regular light bulbs have not burned out yet.
2- I have to use up all my old light bulbs first.
3- I don't want mercury in my house. (try LED's)
4- CFL's are expensive. (not anymore! down to a buck)
5- CFL's are ugly. (to paraphrase our V.P. "So")
6- They don't fit my socket. (try a socket extender)
7- They are too big. (they come mini now)
8- I need dimmables and 3-ways. (they make them)
9- They flicker. (not the new ones)
10- I don't like the light. (try different types)

If you have come across any other reasons please let me know as I would love to add to this list.
Though this seems about money, it really isn't from an environmental standpoint. This is about being able to make a major impact in reducing CO2 emissions but it can only happen with power in numbers. That means we all have to change all the light bulbs we can if we are going to quickly reduce the numbers the experts say we must in order to avoid planet failure.

So what's your excuse?

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