It Starts With a Lightbulb

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The other day I was shocked (as a new CA resident) when I looked at my electric bill for the month. Considering that I’m really conscious about turning off lights and appliances and don’t own an air conditioner, it got me thinking about what I could do as a renter to save some energy and some money at the same time.

Because my apartment is already furnished with the main appliances (washer & dryer, refrigerator, and stove) I don’t have the option (or the wallet) of replacing the existing appliances with EnergyStar equivalents… but I can replace all of the lightbulbs. The EnergyStar CFL (compact fluorescent light bulb) lasts much longer (10 times) than the standard incandescent bulb and uses 66% less energy. It is estimated that replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 32-watt EnergyStar CFL can save you at least $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb! Also,

If every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL), it would prevent enough pollution to equal removing one million cars from the road.

Who knew that buying lightbulbs could be so rewarding?!

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About Ann Benoit


  1. You are so right about the difference your light bulbs can make. My NY apt has flood down lights in the main area which suchs the electricty like no other, that i can’t change, but I did notice a difference with my Con Ed bill when we were using more of the floor and table light fixtures that we purchase vs our ceiling lights as much.

  2. I like your title for this, Ann. I think it’s important the people not feel too overwhelmed when figuring out ways to make their lives greener. It’s all about starting with something- like switching your lightbulbs. Then you can move onto something else, like maybe composting (see Ask Chicky about ways you can do that even in an apartment), buying sustainbly-made clothes instead of going to Banana Republic, or figuring out what to do with your old electronics instead of throwing them in the trash. Taking it one step at a time is the sane way to go so you don’t get overwhelmed.

    I also wanted to mention that compact fluorescents aren’t only one-sized anymore. You can find those that fill fit in candelbra sockets, and even floodlight-sized ones. There are also ones that are shaped like ‘bulbs’ if you don’t like the look of the ‘bent-rod’ shaped ones.

  3. Yeah, I think its really important to start with the little steps. Like anything else, those small steps add up and soon it becomes like second nature to be making greener choices. First the lightbulb, and hopefully over time- the hybrid car or the solar powered house. Its imporant to not underestimate all those small daily choices to go green- they really add up.

  4. good points. A buddy of mine, who is a teacher, came across this company that works with schools to do environmentally friendly fund raisers. Not only do the schools make extra money but they help the environment and make people more aware of global warming as well. They also offer lesson plans for teachers who are interested in teaching their students about the environment as well as lesson plans for An Inconvenient Truth with Vice President Al Gore. Their main product is compact fluorescent light bulbs which save a ton of energy and money compared with incandescent bulbs. They are called One Plant Fund raising and their website is http://www.oneplanetfundraising.c
    om. Definitely worth checking out!

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