Saturday, June 07, 2008

Compact Fluorescent Lamp

Jake had a bright idea today. He decided that he would replace the light bulbs in the house with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). This idea came to him as his was browsing through one of the local stores. The store was having a sale on compact fluorescent lamps and Jake decided that this was probably a good time to make the investment.

So, why compact fluorescent lamps do you ask? Well, if we are to believe the manufacturer's claims, each lamp should save $47 worth of electricity over it's life time. The lamps that Jake purchased use 13 watts of electricity and provide the same amount of light as a 60 watt light bulb. Additionally, the lamps are advertised to last much longer than a standard lamp. The packaging states that each lamp will last approximately 10,000 hours or 5-7 years of normal usage. The lamps cost Jake $2.50 each so they are a little more costly than a standard light bulb. Electricity costs the Pohick family approximately $136 each month on average for their all-electric house in Northern Alabama. If the lamps manage to save a modest 5% from their electric bill they will provide a savings of approximately $80 per year. In the grand scheme of things, this is about what it take to fill up the car with a tank of gas these days, but every little bit helps. On the plus side, the lamps should pay for themselves in a few months and Jake won't have to change the light bulbs as often.

According to the US government, if every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.

Wikipedia Link: Compact Fluorescent Lamps

Government Link: Compact Fluorescent Lamps


Johnny 5 said...

As someone who sells light bulbs for a living, I am constantly bombarded with questions about how much energy is actually being saved by using compact fluorescents and whether they live up to all of the hype that they receive. It seems to me that a lot of the negative things said about incandescent bulbs and their energy usage is borne out of a poor understanding of basic physics. The law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, just changed from one form to another. So many people speak of incandescent bulbs “wasting” energy as though they are defying the laws of physics and destroying energy. I live in a fairly cool climate and during the winter I use an electric heater to heat the particular room that I am in. If I use an incandescent bulb and 90% of its energy usage is for the production of heat, then it is simply generating heat that I would have to generate anyway with my 1000W heater. It’s June here and we are still dealing with cold and rainy weather, so there is a significant portion of the year where the heat energy produced by incandescent bulbs indoors is useful and not “wasted.” For me, it is an obvious choice given the mercury content and poor light quality that comes from compact fluorescents.

Jake Pohick said...

Hmmmmm..... Number 5 is alive..... Sorry, had to say that. Well, Johnny, I can't argue with your logic. Incandescent bulbs do indeed generate heat, and if your circumstances allow you to make good use of waste heat from a light, more power to you. I on the other hand am spending most of my electricity trying to keep my home relatively cool. My family and I can't seem to agree on what relatively cool means, but that is a story for another day. All other things being equal, I prefer to let each of my household appliances do their own little jobs. Let the HVAC take care of the temperature and let the lights take care of the illumination.