The River Reporter Special Sections Header

62.6 °F
July 05, 2015
River Reporter Facebook pageTRR TwitterRSS Search

Everything is illuminated; Watts up with light bulbs?

A CFL light bulb

  • Efficient: CFLs are four times more efficient and last up to 10 times longer than incandescents. A 22-watt CFL has about the same light output as a 100-watt incandescent. CFLs use 50 to 80% less energy than incandescents.
  • Less expensive: Although initially more expensive, you save money in the long run because CFLs use 1/3 the electricity and last up to 10 times as long as incandescents. A single 18-watt CFL used in place of a 75-watt incandescent will save about 570 kWh over its lifetime. At 8 cents per kWh, that equates to a $45 savings.
  • Reduces air and water pollution: Replacing a single incandescent bulb with a CFL will keep a half-ton of CO2 out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb. (It’s not the actual light bulb that produces CO2 but rather the generation of electricity; thus, a light bulb that uses less electricity results in less CO2 being produced at the power plant.) If everyone in the U.S. used energy-efficient lighting, we could retire 90 average-size power plants.
  • High-quality light: Newer CFLs give a warm, inviting light instead of the “cool white” light of older fluorescents.
  • (Info via Eartheasy at

Other tips:
• Buy the bulb that gives off the amount of light you need (lumens), not the amount of energy you’re used to wasting (watts). For example, a typical 60W light bulb produces around 800 lumens. But CFLs that produce 800 lumens only use 15W. To help consumers make the transition, bulb packages will likely contain a claim like “as bright as a 60W bulb” or “15W = 60W” to indicate the bulb is a suitable replacement for your old 60W incandescent bulb. (See
• The standard incandescent bulb—what we typically think of as a “basic light bulb”—is a pretty inefficient piece of technology, wasting 90 to 98% of its electricity use as heat rather than useful light. (See
• Finally, for energy-savings, choose a bulb with an ENERGY STAR label.