In anticipation of next year’s federal phaseout of incandescent light bulbs, some consumers are hoarding the less-efficient bulbs, according to USA Today. “While CFLs use at least 75 percent less energy, some consumers complain the lighting is dimmer, doesn't look as warm and doesn't come on right away. Some also worry about the disposal requirements because of the bulbs' tiny mercury content,” Jayne O'Donnell and Wendy Koch report.
While the evidence of consumer hoarding at this point is anecdotal rather than statistical, there’s simply no reason to fear the phase-out. Today’s compact fluorescents are improving rapidly—and switching to the super-efficient bulbs is one of the easiest ways to pare your energy use. “Perhaps the quickest, most profitable way to reduce electricity use worldwide — thus cutting carbon emissions — is simply to change light bulbs,” Earth Policy Institute’s Lester Brown writes. “Replacing old-fashioned, inefficient incandescent bulbs that are still widely used today with new CFLs can reduce the electricity used for lighting by three fourths. Over its lifetime, each standard (13-watt) CFL will reduce electricity bills by roughly $30. And though a CFL may cost twice as much as an incandescent, it lasts 10 times as long. Each one reduces energy use compared with an incandescent by the equivalent of 200 pounds of coal over its lifetime.”
Mother Earth News readers weighed in on CFLs in a lively discussion a little more than a year ago. Given the rapidly improving technology and the emergence of LED lights (still too expensive for most, but promising nonetheless), it might be time to take up that conversation again. What do you think? Are you ready to make the switch?
Cree's LED-based A-lamp meets Energy Star performance requirements.