The York County School Division takes the challenge of energy conservation very seriously. Currently we are trying to rein in all of the incandescent bulbs throughout the division and replace them with compact fluorescents (CFL).
If you are visiting this web page because you received a post-it note on a personal lamp, we have taken the liberty to replace your incandescent bulb with a complementary CFL. If the CFL goes bad during your tenure, please do us a favor and replace it with another CFL from home.
Let's all do are part to save energy to help save the environment.
If you have any questions, please contact Russell Payne at 898-0345.
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (sometimes referred to as "CFLs") are replacement light bulbs for normal household (incandescent) light bulbs. The difference is that they last up to 10 times longer and use 75% less electricity. While compact fluorescent light bulbs can cost up to 5 times the price of an incandescent light bulb, in the long run, they end up being cheaper once energy savings and replacement costs are factored into the equation.
How they work
Compact fluorescent light bulbs are more efficient than regular bulbs because of how they produce light. With incandescent bulbs, the electricity passes through a filament inside the bulb. The heat from the electricity then makes the filament white-hot, producing light. The problem with this method is that up to 90% of the energy used to light the filament escapes as heat, making them very inefficient. That is why incandescent light bulbs are extremely hot when you touch them while they are urned on. Compact fluorescent light bulbs on the other hand, have a much more efficient process for producing the same amount of light. Instead of using heat to produce light, a compact fluorescent bulb contains a gas that produces invisible ultraviolet (UV) light when the gas is excited by electricity. The UV light hits the white coating inside the fluorescent bulb and the coating changes it into light. This process requires far less electricity to produce the same amount of light, making compact fluorescent light bulbs much more energy efficient than incandescents.
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs and Global Warming
Compact fluorescent light bulbs use up to 75% less electricity than their incandescent counterparts. Since electric power plants generate CO2 emissions by burning coal, petroleum, and natural gas, using compact fluorescent light bulbs also accounts for 75% less CO2 emissions than incandescent light bulbs. Not only will compact fluorescent light bulbs save you money on your electric bill each month, they are also a great way to lower your carbon footprint, which as a result, helps reduce the effects of global warming.
Many environmental groups have recently started to sing the praises of compact fluorescent light bulbs and have begun to encourage their widespread use in order to help slow the effects of global warming. If every US household replaced six 60-watt incandescent light bulbs with 13-watt compact fluorescent light bulbs, it would be equivalent to taking 3,188,894 cars off the road - for good.
World and domestic leaders are starting to get involved as well. Australia has gone as far as outlawing incandescent light bulbs all together, and states like California, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Rhode Island are trying to do the same.
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs and Mercury
Not all the press compact fluorescent light bulbs receive is positive. CFLs tend to get negative press they due to their Mercury content. Each compact fluorescent light bulb contains less than 5mg (0.00017 oz) of Mercury. This can become a major concern if compact fluorescent light bulbs are not properly disposed of. If CFLs are simply thrown away, they will be broken as they make their way to incinerators and landfills where the mercury may be released and will contribute to air and water pollution. Recycling compact fluorescent light bulbs is a must, especially as compact fluorescent light bulb use becomes more widespread.
The Mercury content in compact fluorescent light bulbs is not all bad news. As it turns out, incandescent light bulbs are responsible for a much greater amount of mercury emissions than CFLs. Coal burning electric power plants are responsible for 40% of the mercury emissions in the US (Energy Star). Since CFLs use less electricity than incandescent light bulbs, using them actually reduces mercury emissions. This is by no means an excuse to throw your spent compact fluorescent light bulbs in the garbage. This fact coupled with proper compact fluorescent light bulb recycling can significantly reduce mercury pollution, another bonus!
Choosing the Right Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Compact fluorescent light bulbs have come a long ways in both quality and variety since they were first introduced. Gone are the days of poor lighting quality and limited styles. Nowadays, compact fluorescent light bulbs come in same styles as the most popular incandescent bulbs and the quality of the light is just as good, if not better than incandescents. However, buying a compact fluorescent light bulb can be slightly more complicated than buying an incandescent. Here are the things you need to look out for:
You can now find compact fluorescent light bulbs in standard "A" shaped bulbs, candle/chandelier, decorative globes, indoor/outdoor floodlights, and more. You should be able to find a compact fluorescent bulb to fit in just about any fixture in your home.
It can be very confusing as to which compact fluorescent light bulbs will replace which incandescents. It's less about trying to figure out how many watts a bulb uses, and more about the light output, or lumens generated by the bulb. Most compact fluorescent light bulb packaging should show the compact fluorescent light bulbs incandescent equivalent. In other words, if you are looking to replace a 60 watt incandescent, look for a compact fluorescent light bulb that says "60 Watt replacement" on the package. If for some reason that information is missing on the package, here is a table that summarizes the Energy Star requirements for compact fluorescent light bulb:
|Incandescent Watts||Minimum Light Output (lumens)||CFL Watt Ranges|
|40||450||9 - 13|
|60||800||13 - 15|
|75||1100||18 - 25|
|100||1600||23 - 30|
|150||2600||30 - 52|
The color temperature of a light bulb can best be described as how the light compares to "natural" sunlight. Outdoor sunlight has a color temperature of around 5,500K. Bulbs with a higher color temperature (closer to 5,000K) will produce light that is more "cool" or blue. Bulbs with a lower color temperature will produce light that is more "warm" or yellow. The color temperature of a light bulb is usually described by how "white" a bulb is, like soft white, bright white, etc.
|"Warm white" or "Soft white"||< 2700 K|
|"White", "Bright White", or "Medium White"||2900 - 3000 K|
|"Cool white"||4000 K|
|"Daylight"||> 5000 K|
The most popular light bulbs in the US are "warm" or "soft" white with a color temperature around 2700K. Choosing the correct color temperature is just as important as choosing the correct wattage, as it has a direct affect on quality of the light, so be sure to pay attention to this when making your purchase.
Unless specifically noted on the package, CFLs will not work with light fixtures on a dimmer switch. Many companies are starting to make dimmable CFLs with varying degrees of success. This technology still has a ways to go, but is available for those who must have it.
References and Resources
*Content courtesy of ECOfuture, LLC.