light bulbs

Earth Month Tip: Change Five Lights

A series of daily tips throughout April.

Did you know that the average home has approximately 30 light fixtures and spends about 12% of its electricity bill on lighting?

Replace your five most frequently used light fixtures or light bulbs with Energy Star qualified products, and you will prevent carbon pollution while saving $75 a year on energy bills.

Lighting itself accounts for more of the energy you use than your laundry equipment, refrigerator, and dishwasher combined. A single light bulb that has earned the Energy Star can save between $40 and $135 in electricity costs over its lifetime. And that same single light bulb that has earned the Energy Star prevents, on average, between 570 and 1,825 pounds of carbon pollution over its lifetime.

A household equipped with Energy Star certified products can reduce carbon pollution by over 100,000 pounds and save about $9,300 on utility bills over the life of these products.

More tips: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/actonclimate/

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Trying To Change A Lightbulb

By Amy Miller

Painstakingly I am switching from incandescent light bulbs to energy-saving CFLs.  One by one as bulbs burn out I twist in newly purchased energy saving bulbs.

I started in the bathroom, under glass sconces where you couldn’t really see the weird shape of the bulbs. Who needs aesthetics for the five minutes you brush your teeth.

Then I made the jump to one, just one, tubular bulb in the bedroom. No one told me these lights take a few minutes to get fully bright. I’d think to myself, “It wasn’t so dark in here last night when I was reading, I’m sure it wasn’t.”

Proud of my diminishing footprint, I spread CFLs to the dining room chandelier, porch lights, kids room, pretty near everywhere but the living room with its vintage chandelier. But then I started pondering the Mercury Question and quickly removed CLFs from places where they might get broken, like tippy end-tables and my 9-year-old’s night-table.

EPA’s website says if every American home replaced just one ENERGY STAR light bulb, each year we’d save enough energy to light 3 million homes and reduce energy bills by $600 million.

A lot of us don’t like CFLs because we are not used to the way they look, or we think the light is harsh and don’t know alternative hues are available. We also think they cost more. We forget that the CFL will last about eight times longer, and use a fourth as much electricity.

Funny thing. I was in Haiti recently, one of the poorest countries on earth. And guess what? They use CLF bulbs far and wide, where they have electricity. You know why? They can’t afford to pay extra. When most of the families can’t even afford shoes for their children, the economics play out differently. It’s not about conservation or climate change. It’s about stretching every penny.

At the school I visited, electricity comes from three sources: 1) solar panels; 2) public power that sometimes comes on from 2 to 5 a.m. or not at all and 3) a diesel generator, used for backup..

So the fact that a CFL will uses about a quarter of the electricity of a similarly bright incandescent means not only money savings over the life of the light bulb, but also an extra few hours of reading – or cooking – each night, before the solar-fed batteries are empty.

About the author: Amy Miller is a writer who works in the public affairs office of EPA New England in Boston. She lives in Maine with her husband, two children, seven chickens, two parakeets, dog and a great community.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

More Light for Less Money

By Brittney Gordon

As you may have already heard, our light bulbs are changing. They’ll be just as bright but use less energy, cost less, and better protect the environment. Starting in 2012, all screw-based light bulbs sold in the U.S. must meet new federal standards for energy efficiency established by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. Under this law, screw-based light bulbs must use fewer watts for a similar light (a.k.a. “lumen”) output. The law’s energy efficiency standards for light bulbs will be phased in over the next three years (see chart below).

Using light bulbs that provide the same light output but take less energy to run will mean that consumers save money on their utility bills. These savings can make a real difference since lighting accounts for about 12 percent of the average household’s energy bill. Using less energy also helps protect the environment by reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Another positive change we will see in 2012 is a shift in how we purchase light bulbs. Instead of looking for wattage to determine which bulb to buy, we can now look at the light bulb’s lumens. Lumens tell us how much light a bulb will provide versus Watts, which tell us how much energy the bulb uses.

The Federal Trade Commission has designed a new label that you will see on light bulb packages starting next year. These labels will tell you everything from the brightness of the bulb (lumens), estimated operating costs, how long the bulb should last and what color the light will be. Here’s a sample.

This law will not ban any one lighting technology but will provide buyers will a range of better bulb choices in a variety of colors, bulb types, and light levels, including improved incandescent bulbs, CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs), and LEDs (Light Emitting Diode Light Bulbs).CFLs represent the best value for consumers today. They use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.  A CFL that has earned the ENERGY STAR can save more than $40 in electricity costs over its lifetime.

About the author: Brittney Gordon is a member of the ENERGY STAR communication team. She came to EPA one year ago after a career as a broadcast journalist.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Climate for Action: Save Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Some Cash by Switching Your Light Bulbs

Do you have ENEGRY STAR light bulbs in your home? ENERGY STAR light bulbs are light bulbs that conserve energy and wear a label that says ENERGY STAR on them. Compared to an incandescent light bulb, an ENERGY STAR light bulb uses up to 75% less energy. These light bulbs conserve energy and therefore reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy use. In fact, by replacing just one incandescent light bulb with an ENERGY STAR light bulb you can save 400 pounds of greenhouse gases from entering into the atmosphere! So, let’s make an impact by using ENERGY STAR light bulbs in our homes, not only will we be helping the environment, but these light bulbs will also save our families some money. Some ENERGY STAR light bulbs last ten times longer than incandescent light bulbs and will save $30 over the course of their lifetimes. Therefore, by using ENERGY STAR light bulbs, we are able to save energy, greenhouse gas emissions from entering into the atmosphere and some cash! Encourage your friends and family to use ENERGY STAR light bulbs so that they can also be a part of these savings. Let them know that by acting together we can make a difference. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if every American replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR light bulb, we would save enough energy to light three million homes for a year, we would save more than $600 million in energy costs in a year, and we would reduce greenhouse gases emissions equivalent to taking 800,000 cars off the road. Who knew that such a simple task like replacing a light bulb could make such a difference! Become a climate ambassador in your community and take the ENERGY STAR pledge today! . Do you have any products in your home that help conserve energy? If so what are they and how do they help benefit our environment?

About the author: Michelle Gugger graduated from Rutgers University in 2008. She is currently spending a year of service at EPA’s Region 3 Office in Philadelphia, PA as an AmeriCorps VISTA.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.