Monday, 23 May 2011

Benefits of CFLs

CFLs are not New Technology

Compact fluorescent light bulb technology has been around for over 100 years, but it has only recently been made available to the general public. For a long time the technology was held in check by light bulb manufacturers who thought it too costly to switch over their machines to make this new kind of light bulb.

CFLs are now made so they don’t flicker. They are made to fit nearly any light fixture and are made in a variety of watt strengths to suit any lighting mood (remember that CFLs are a lot more powerful than regular incandescent light bulbs and need about a third of the wattage. Moreover the spectrum given off by CFLs is virtually the same to the naked eye as the spectrum from incandescent light bulbs.

Why Buy CFLs?

The great advantage of CFLs is that they save you money. They do this by using far less electricity and by lasting longer. Earthmate CFLs use 75% less electricity and last 13 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs. That is an incredible saving. Energy Star calculates by switching 5 incandescent bulbs over to CFLs you save $100 a year. Although CFLs cost a bit more to buy than incandescent light bulbs they more than make up for the added cost. Whole regions in America and Europe are moving over to CFLs for public buildings and communal lighted areas.

Mercury and CFLs

The only environmental concern with CFLs is that they all contain mercury. Mercury is a heavy metal and rated in the top 5 pollutants by the US Environmental Protection Agency. It is most important that used and broken CFLs are not thrown out in the regular trash. They must be suitably disposed of. Home Stores plc. in the USA now has free CFL disposal at most branches.

The CFLs with the lowest amount of mercury are made by Earthmate. Earthmate CFLs typically have 75% less mercury than other CFLs.

CFLs can lower Mercury Levels

The US Department for Environmental Protection has done tests to show that in areas where coal is burned in power plants to generate electricity, using CFLs actually lowers mercury levels. This is because burning coal is the main cause of mercury in water supplies. By using CFLs electricity consumption is reduced and so less coal is burned.


LEDs are the future. They use a fraction of the electricity of incandescent light bulbs and last longer than both incandescent and CF light bulbs. They also don’t contain any mercury. Compare:

  • Incandescent light bulb life span: 1,000 hours
  • CFLs life span: 8,000 hours
  • LED life span: 25,000 to 100,000 hours

LEDs are great in some places in the house, but they tend to be a bit weak. CFLs are the best eco-friendly bulbs at the moment, especially where brighter light is needed. If LED technology continues to improve (as no doubt it will) then they will replace CFLs as the greenest form of lighting.

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