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Jay Dreyer :: Get Al Gore off your back...Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

Get Al Gore off your back...Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

CFL Bulbs
There is an interesting article in this month’s Fast Company magazine about compact fluorescent lightbulbs and how they will “change the world”. I’m not sure I buy the hype completely, but it does make some sense to me. The bottom line is that a CFL bulb can last about 10 times longer than a conventional incandescent bulb and it uses 75%-80% less electricity. So, although a CFL bulb costs around $3 compared to around 40 cents for a traditional bulb, the energy savings and longer life of a CFL will actually save you money in the long run.

I’m sold on this reasoning. I’m not so sold on some issues I have, though. For one, I question whether a CFL can produce the same type of light as an incandescent bulb. I haven’t made the switch yet so I’ll have to test it out to see what it’s like. Another problem I have is that I have a bunch of lights in the house, and very few of them use “normal” light bulbs. I’ve got flood lights, lots of candle-type bulbs, and some of those annoying torch lights. I don’t think there is a replacement CFL bulb for these fixtures/lights. If there is, please let me know. I’d love to find a CFL replacement for the flood lights in the ceilings of my house. Just reducing the time between replacing these things would be worth it for me.

Finally, some fixtures I have that use a normal incandescent bulb don’t have room for the funky-shaped CFL bulbs. I tried to replace the bulb in my garage door opener with a CFL and eventually gave up because it didn’t fit. The glass was a little wider and the base had a slightly different shape than a normal bulb. It wouldn’t fit no matter what I tried so I gave up and used an old-school incandescent. There are probably many different bulbs I can try so I’ll have to do some research.

I’ll wrap up with another interesting point from the article. Two big sources of the push for CFL bulbs are GE and Wal Mart. Wal Mart is really pushing the CFL bulb and has pushed GE to help meet their goal of selling 100 million CFL bulbs in the next 12 months. GE is going along with this even though they’ll end up replacing a steady cash-cow (incandescent bulbs) with a far less dependable source of revenue. Because it can take 10 years or so before you need to replace a CFL bulb, compared to a year for incandescents, GE is bascially destroying one part of their business. Their reasoning makes sense, however. If they don’t provide CFLs, someone else will and GE will be left out of the smaller revenue stream. Sounds like a business school case study.

I also wonder if Target is being as aggressive with the promotion of CFLs as Wal Mart is. I’ll have to sniff around here and find out.


| posted 09/06/2006 02:00 PM

Permanent link to this comment  John Bob  on  09/12/2006 09:16 PM  said: 

CFLs are sooooo 2005. Check out LED light –

For the most kick ass enviro-friendly technology, check out the Tesla Roadster – quicker than a Ferrari, no gas, almost silent.

Permanent link to this comment  Jay Dreyer  on  09/12/2006 11:27 PM  said: 

Oh John…

Do you not check out the site every hour of every day? I so already wrote about the Tesla Roadster:

I just picked up an LED nightlight for Lucy’s room so put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Permanent link to this comment  Joe  on  10/10/2006 05:38 PM  said: 

I just spent $2 on 4 Kroger private label 70 watt bulbs. LOL