"Change a Light and Change the World"

"Change a light and change the world." This is a major campaign slogan at Energy Star. Some may feel this is exaggerated, but if you don't believe them here are some facts:

  • Lighting accounts for 5-10 percent of the total energy use in an average US home and nearly 28 percent of total office energy consumption.
  • Lighting is responsible for using about a fourth of all electricity consumed in the United States.
  • The energy used in the average home can be responsible for more than twice the greenhouse gas emissions of the average car.

Okay, so maybe it's time to change out those old incandescent bulbs for CFLs. What's a CFL? CFL, stands for Compact Fluorescent Light, and is a type of fluorescent lamp. Many CFLs are designed to directly replace an incandescent lamp and will screw into most existing light fixtures formerly used for incandescents. Switching from traditional incandescent light bulbs to CFLs can reduce your electricity usage by as much as 80 percent. Also, CFLs have a rated life expectancy eight to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs, which means fewer replacements and less trash produced. Finally, CFLs do not generate heat like incandescent bulbs, so fans and air conditioners can be used less frequently or at lower levels.

So, can changing a light bulb really change the world? Well, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, if every American home replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an Energy Star rated CFL bulb, the United States would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, about $700 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions of about 800,000 cars.

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