Thursday, November 02, 2006

Shedding some light

65 light bulbs.

Can you beleive that? There are 65 light bulbs in our house. Isn't that crazy? And that doesn't even count any of the fluorescent tubes.

Why do I know this? Because I got it in my head to gradually replace them all with compact fluorescent bulbs. I thought I'd just buy a multipack every time I was at the store, and before I knew it, I'd be done. It's estimated that 25% of the average electric bill goes to lighting. You can save a lot by just replacing the most common four or five bulbs, but I decided to go ahead and gradually swap them all out.

But it kept going, and going, so I started counting. I had no idea how well lit our house was. It doesn't really seem like we have a lot. I mean, we only have probably four lamps in the whole house. But I keep finding more bulbs that need to be switched out. Lots of overhead fixtures with two 60 watt bulbs instead of one 100 watt bulb. Bathroom fixtures with six or eight bulbs... Bulbs outside, in the basement, in the attic... Bulbs everywhere...

Why am I doing this? Here's why:

2 x 40 watts = 80 watts

...compared to:

9 x 9 watts = 81 watts

If I were to turn on every single lightbulb in my house, we'd be drawing about 700 watts from the power company. A good bit of power, but consider that back in college I used to have 3 halogen floor lamps sucking 900 watts between them.

So we could change the equation above to this:

1 x 300 watts = 300 watts vs. 33 x 9 watts = 297 watts

Yes, compact fluorescent bulbs cost more, but they're much cheaper than they used to be. They use way less power, they have a lifetime of five to ten years, so they will pay for themselves in pretty much any scenario.

Some people say they don't like the quality or color of the light, but I'd lay big money that if you were in my house right now, you wouldn't be able to accurately tell which bulbs were CF's and which were not. They've come a long way from the early days of CF lights.

Ten times the lifetime. One quarter of the power consumption. Once I'm done, those 65 bulbs will potentially eliminate somewhere around 84,500 lbs of carbon emissions over their lifetimes.




At 11/09/2006 9:21 PM, Blogger Beo said...

When we moved in we switched the Big Hitters (bedrooms/livingroom)to CFL immeditately. What I am torn with here in our home is that since we don't use those lights much, they ones that came with the house don't burn out.

We had wanted to wait until they burned out, but they aren't-its going on 2 years. What is worse, throwing out perfectly good, but freakily ineffecient bulbs or burning those freaky bulbs? Giving them to neighbors seems bad too-shouldn't I be getting them to switch to CFL too? Ugh.

At 11/09/2006 10:27 PM, Blogger e4 said...

Yeah, I have the same problem. I've got a big bag of incandescent bulbs, and I'm not sure what to do with them. I guess I could donate them to a thrift store or something. I just don't know....

At 11/15/2006 2:01 PM, Blogger rocinante said...

Try out this light bulb calculator at Environmental Defense. It's pretty amazing how the savings add up!


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