Week of May 4th, 2008

Green 52.org’s first tip of the 52-week initiative for environmental change

Here’s a bright idea… change your bulbs!

In the Green52 weekly tips, we want to identify not only those ideas that benefit the environment and reduce our carbon footprint, but also those that may bring financial savings or other benefits to you at the same time. With that in mind, our first tip is an easy one, which has immediate and long-term benefits for sustainability, while offering you a direct financial benefit. Look around your house at every lamp and light fixture that uses a conventional or standard light bulb. If you haven’t already changed to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), now is the time to take action. Not only is this a simple and affordable change, but it has immense benefit for you and for the environment.

The direct benefit for you is that Energy Star CFLs have better performance — they can last up to 10 times longer than a standard incandescent, while using up to 75% less energy than the standard bulb. This means you get the benefit of lower energy cost, reduced consumption of energy (which ultimately consumes fossil fuels), and reduced time and hassle in replacing light bulbs (keep the CFLs for 10 years at a time). Adding to the savings is the fact that they produce less heat, so the compact fluorescents won’t add as substantially to the energy costs you incur in cooling your home due to the added heat output of the lights.

If the reason you have avoided the change is lack of availability of compact fluorescents, or a concern that the right size or shape won’t be available, this has changed dramatically in recent years. These bulbs have become far more readily available in all kinds of sizes and shapes.

Since lighting alone can account for up to 20% of your home energy bill (see EnergyStar.gov fact sheet, here), reducing the energy your light bulbs consume can dramatically improve your energy costs. Not only is this good for the pocketbook, but decreased energy consumption and reduced demand on fossil fuels is good for the environment, and is in line with the concept of sustainable thinking.

Learn more about compact fluorescents at energystar.gov, or pick some up the next time you are at your local hardware store to start realizing the savings and doing your part to contribute to a small step toward green living today.

Watch for a new tip next week. In the meantime, be sure to bookmark this site and tell your friends, family and coworkers about Green52.org and our 52-week initiative to help encourage green living and changes to reduce our impact on the environment.