A Confession

Yes, I have a confession. I leave lights on in the daytime.

The back of our house is on a beautiful, heavily treed ravine and our kids’ bedrooms are situated at the back of the house, so they tend to be a bit dark regardless of the time of day. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always left a small lamp on each of their dressers lit all day long, otherwise the rooms seem dark and gloomy. I know it’s selfish, but dark, gloomy children’s bedrooms feel sad to me.

I have tried to be at least a bit more conscious of this habit by gradually replacing all of our home’s light bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent lights). Honestly, these bulbs are great. They take some getting used to because when you first switch them on, there is a second delay before they actually illuminate and the color of the light they emit is different that what I’m used to. And I occasionally swear at that tilted lampshade because they aren’t so friendly to shades with wire holders that attach directly to the bulb(!), but I’m willing to deal.

While they are more expensive, they last eight or nine times as long as incandescent bulbs and only need to be replaced every five to six years! Plus, they are recommended for places where lights are on for long periods of time (e.g. my kids’ bedrooms!) since frequent switching on and off can shorten their life.

But my favorite fact is this: If every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with a CFL, it would prevent enough pollution to equal removing one million cars from the road…now that’s powerful!

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8 thoughts on “A Confession

  1. Zac- Thanks for visiting my blog! And as you gradually replace all of those light bulbs, think of all the energy you’re saving and pollution you’re preventing! Great choice!

  2. only issues with CFL’s is the mercury content. I did figures one time: the amount of mercury thermometers (which were banned because of the mercury) sold in the world @ their peak vs the # of CFL’s sold in 1 year in the EU.

    Best figures I could find:
    Hg thermometers have ~0.6grams of Hg. CFL’s have ~0.1 grams.
    thermometers sold “millions” a year world wide (I estimated 40mil). CFL’s sell 2billion in EU alone.

    That’s 24,000Kg of mercury from thermometers a year & 200,000kg’s from energy efficient lights for the EU alone.

    CFL’s are supposed to be recycled but mot people don’t know that & it’s nearly impossible to find a recycling location. Plus, in theory, if one breaks & mercury is spread through the room, it could be a health hazard & need special cleanup. In theory. LED lights are the most efficient & safest on the environment but costs a TON of $$ for a relatively small amount of light (1 1watt LED light = ~15/20watt incandescent vs 1 15watt CFL = 60/75/100 incandescent) at ~$100 for 1 1watt “bulb”.

    but by no means stop buying & using: more sales = more research in to better alternatives (ironically, incandescent are safest for the environment physically, they just use a lot of electricity)

  3. The Happy Friar has a very good point. While the overall energy and cost savings of CFLs is a gigantic plus, the marketers have not made a very good effort at stressing the importance of recycling the bulbs and the importance of careful handling. While finding a place to recycle these bulbs is not easy, here are a couple of tips. Eric Guerin from SmartMarket Movie created a video for Waste Management telling people how to do it properly and sells mail-in recycling kits for those in areas where recycling is not available or easy. It would be nice if these kits were provided “free of charge” when you purchase a CFL, but until that happens, here is the URL to the site.

    http://www.thinkgreenfromhome.com

  4. Rick – I absolutely agree. Education needs to start happening. Clear instructions and a kit with purchase would be a great idea. Thanks for the tips too.

  5. Pingback: » Give them your tired, your poor, your burnt CFLs… - Mom Goes Green

  6. Pingback: » A green gift basket for the earth. - Mom Goes Green

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