In February 2007, Australia enacted a law that bans most sales of incandescent light bulbs by 2010. It was the first country to enact such law that aims to cut the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 800,000 tonnes, 0.14% of its current 564.7 million tonnes. The selling and importing of incandescent light bulbs in Argentina has been forbidden since December 2010. The UK government on the other hand announced in 2007 that incandescent bulbs would be phased out in their country by 2011. Many countries are following the actions of these countries with the aim of energy conservation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions responsible to global warming. These countries are bidding goodbye to incandescent bulbs and welcoming the rise of energy-efficient compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs . If you are an ordinary citizen reading this article right now, your main concern would be how the ban of incandescent bulbs and shift to CFL bulbs would impact your own household. What are the benefits or advantages of using CFL bulbs over incandescent bulbs?
Advantages of CFL Bulbs Over Traditional Light Bulbs
A CFL bulb uses 75% less energy than a traditional incandescent light bulb. About 90% of the energy used by an incandescent bulb is wasted as heat but still counted in your electric bill. Twenty percent of an average electric bill accounts for home lighting. Thus, replacing your old incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs will help you cut your monthly electric bill. It was estimated that if the whole USA will cut its light energy usage by 60% to 70%, the energy saved is enough to power all homes in the state of Texas. To demonstrate energy savings further: if every American home replaced just one incandescent bulb with a CFL bulb, the energy saved in a year can light more than 3 million homes.
As of now, a CFL bulb is more expensive than an incandescent bulb but you will be amazed on the return of investment (ROI) if you use CFL bulb. The lifespan of most CFL bulbs is around 10,000 hours while incandescent bulbs last around 1,000 hours. This means CFL bulbs last about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. You will save money by not buying incandescent bulbs nine times more and by not paying more on your electric bill. J.D. Roth of getrichslowly.com calculated at least $575.28 of savings for using CFL bulbs in his home for 7 straight years. It is true that incandescent bulbs are cheaper than CFL bulbs right now (50 cents vs. 4 dollars or more) but expect a price decrease of CFL bulbs in the coming years as they become more popular and in demand.
If your household is using CFL bulbs instead of traditional light bulbs, you are doing your part in the mitigation of global warming caused by greenhouse gases. Lesser greenhouse gases are emitted with the use of CFL bulbs. The energy we use is generated by a power station which emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The more energy we consume, the more greenhouse gases are discharged into the air. The greenhouse gas emissions of 800,000 cars is equal to the amount of gases unreleased when every American home replaces just one incandescent bulb with a CFL bulb. So imagine the positive impact of using CFL bulbs in mitigating global warming.
Unlike incandescent bulb, CFL bulb contains small amount of mercury (1.6 mg), a toxic metal. This is probably the disadvantage of CFL bulb but you will be surprised that you are actually releasing more mercury in the atmosphere when using incandescent bulb. Even though incandescent bulb does not contain mercury, it contributes in atmospheric discharge of mercury through coal-fired power plants. When coal is burnt, mercury is released into the atmosphere traveling into all direction. About 5.8 mg of mercury is released for an incandescent bulb powered by a coal-fired power plant. This is larger than the mercury released when an CFL bulb is broken which can be avoided through proper handling and disposal. There are eco-friendly ways to dispose CFL bulbs without releasing the harmful mercury into the environment.
So if you want to cut your electric bill and greenhouse gas emissions, replace all your house incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs now. See the benefits of using CFL bulbs yourself.