You Light Up my LIfe

20 Feb


In the Spirit of a Belated Valentines Day, No Waste Wednesdays is looking at things that make our lives a little brighter.Those things that we love i.e a good laugh, good food and great wine are often done indoors-using some sort of light to brighten up the room. This week we’re looking at light bulbs as part of our month on disposables.

CFL (compact fluorescent light bulbs) light bulbs have come to replace the ordinary incandescent light bulbs that many of use grew up with. Why is there a shift to these as a lighting alternative?

More Light with Less Heat Emission

They produce more lumens (the technical term for light emission) than an incandescent. A 13 Watt CFL light bulb produces the same amount of light as a 60 Watt incandescent. This means they use less energy while putting out more light. They may cost more initially but end up saving you more in the end.

They are Better for the Environment because they lessen Household Energy Use.

Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs use 75% less energy than old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. For every bulb you swap, you will cut greenhouse gas emissions and save up to $50 on your energy bill over the lifetime of the bulb.

Not All Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Last a Long Time

Some discount brands of compact fluorescents have disappointed consumers with short lives and relatively poor light quality. It is true that rapid switching is especially hard on them, so they often aren’t good candidates for closets. Cold temperatures also decrease their lifespans.

But to ensure quality, look for Energy Star-certified models, since they must meet a range of criteria that go beyond energy efficiency. They must come with a two-year warranty, have a minimum rated lifespan of at least 6,000 hours and cannot emit an audible noise. They must turn on in less than one second and reach at least 80% of their output within three minutes. They can’t have more than five milligrams of mercury. (taken from the daily green

CFLs are Safe

Any CFL that carries the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety certification has passed rigorous


testing for fire, electrical safety and shock hazard. They do however contain trace amounts of mercury. This has deterred some people from purchasing them but new studies have shown that the amount of mercury actually present is less than the amount found in mercury based thermometers.

 But this does mean that they require special disposal.

Five ways to stay safe from Mercury in CFLs

What to do if a Bulb Breaks?

Check out Project Porchlight for a list of how to best care for your CFLs, what to do if one breaks, where to go for recycling, information on UV ratings and CFLs, and mercury in CFLs among other things.

Recycling of CFLs can happen at most Home Depots as long as the bulb has not broken. Look for the orange recycling bins in the store.

Find a store with this option near you

Inside a CFL
Compact fluorescent lamps, or CFL’s, emit light when electricity excites the mix of gases inside the bulb, creating high energy, invisible, ultra-violet light, which is absorbed by the bulbs fluorescent coating and transformed into visible light.  They are sold in a variety of color temperatures, usually specified in Kelvin (K), providing a range of options to suit your specific lighting needs.
If you need clean, soft illumination for the kitchen or bathroom, a cool white 3500K– 4100K CFL is a good choice.  And for reading areas and work spaces that require more light, the daylight 5000K – 6500K CFL bulb cast a bright, cool glow that is ideal for detail oriented activities.
When choosing compact fluorescents, you should always look for bulbs that are ENERGY STAR® qualified because they have been tested to meet stringent performance criteria established by the U.S. Department of Energy and the EPA.

Thanks for stopping by, see you next week!


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