Tag Archives: CFL

Better Lighting

With the Sun shining less (at least here in the Midwest), we’re using our lights more. Soon it’ll be dark out by 5 or 6 and we’ll be using our lights more. I’m glad I’ve got my CFLs to ease my electric bill though.

I’ve written on CFLs before, I’m sure. For your standard lighting, it doesn’t get any better. These bulbs use a fraction of the electricity that your incandescents do. And they’re modern. Incandescents haven’t really changed since they were invented. We don’t drive the same cars. We don’t ride the same bikes. Why then would be want to use 100 year old light bulbs?

CFL Bulb

Energy Star Certified CFLs are a great way to go. You know you’re getting quality and energy savings every time. Plus Energy Star has helpful calculators. For consumers and businesses, Energy Star offers an easy way to calculate your savings switching your lights to Energy Star Certified CFLs versus using conventional incandescents. The site also lists helpful information on the minute amount of included mercury. Plus read their guide (PDF) on mercury clean-up in the event you break a bulb.

Popular Mechanics, the magazine responsible for all kinds of crazy technology articles, pitted CFLs against incandescents for their May 2007 issue. I’m sure my readers won’t be surprised to hear that CFLs won out. The website has all the results of the test.

I’ve heard many people complain (my own dear mom included) that they don’t like using CFLs because they don’t fit where they want them or they just look plain ugly. But I disagree! GE has a listing of all the funky shaped bulbs they sell as CFL and you won’t be disappointed. Yeah, they have your typical spirals but they have replacements for your B10 (that almost flame shaped bulb) and your flood lights and everything else. They even offer their own energy savings calculator so that you can put in your bulb types and approximate wattage to find out what switching with save you. This is a tad easier than the Energy Star version. Its not perfect but according to it I’ll save $450 over the life of those bulbs.

Buy your CFLs either at your local store (Wal-Mart and Menards are often the cheapest places though Wal-Mart is slightly evil) or online through various retailers. THEbulb.com offers mostly spirals but does work to offset carbon emissions. Eartheasy Shop also has an awesome selection of the different CFLs but also offers LED lighting and other green products.


When you’re ready to part with that dear old computer, don’t throw in the trash. Earth911 let’s you search for local recyclers who take not only electronics but also plastics, household goods, automotive parts (think oil and tires), and lawn and garden chemicals.

Its especially important to recycle your electronics. Many computers contain lead which if thrown in the landfill, can seep out. I’m personally not big on drinking lead water.

The other interesting part on this is that you can recyclers for your CFLs (compact fluorescent lamp). These lights go a long way in reducing energy demands but the huge downside: mercury. The bulbs work by exciting a small amount of mercury inside the tube to produce light. Wikipedia can explain it much better.

Finally, if there’s a Staples store nearby, you can take your computer, printer, monitor, whatever you have into them. Staples is the first big retailer to offer electronics recycling in store. The big items do cost money. Its $10 to recycle your monitor, printer, or computer tower. However, that price is fairly competitive with everything else I’ve seen. Small items (keyboards, mice, speakers) are free to recycle.

Update Nov 17, 2007 – CNET UK  posted an article on recycling your old electronics.