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. The first place I started was with light bulbs and switches/outlets.

I replaced all of the incandescent bulbs in my house with the compact fluorescent ones – they cost a little more but use 75% less energy and last much longer! I also switched out all of my light switches to dimmers which allows me to use less light when I’m home and save even more energy by not having the lights on 24 hours a day or at full power all the time while I’m away at work during the day time hours when I typically don’t need them anyway.

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 qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL), it would prevent enough pollution to equal removing one million cars from the road. CFLs use about one-fourth the energy of traditional incandescent bulbs and last up to ten times longer—up to ten-thousand hours!2 That’s over eleven years of continuous 24-hour-a-day operation for the average home bulb and more than twelve years for outdoor lights or security lighting where lights are on for longer periods of time each day than in a home setting.

Switching from a traditional “incandescent” to a par36 bulb is the single most effective action you can take to reduce your carbon footprint at home and save money at the same time: The average American family spends $150 a year to light their homes; a switch to Energy Star-qualified light bulbs can save the average family of four as much as 60% on their electric bills.