My friend David sent me an interesting article from the New York Times called, "Incandescent Bulbs Return to the Cutting Edge." One of the frugal things that I have done over the past year is switch over as many light bulbs as I can to cfls. This, along with being diligent about turning out the lights when I leave a room, has cut my electric bills in half.
However, there are some bulbs I have not been able to replace. For one thing, I haven't yet found a dimmable cfl that actually works, and while I have gotten used to the too-bright odd colored cold light of the cfl in most rooms, I still haven't been able to replace the incandescent bulbs in my favorite reading lamps. This New Your Times article says there is still hope:
For lighting researchers involved in trying to save the incandescent bulb, the goal is to come up with one that matches the energy savings of fluorescent bulbs while keeping the qualities that many consumers seem to like in incandescents, like the color of the light and the ease of using them with dimmers.That sounds like a worthy goal to me! In fact, they already have some incandescent bulbs on the market that are more energy efficient available at Amazon and Home Depot...
I haven't tried them yet, but I am very interested in the possibilities. Truth is, while I love the cost savings from the cfls, I haven't been fond of much else about them. Light bulbs that could give me the same cost savings but have a warmer light, no mercury, and turn on instantly would definitely be appealing. I would love to see a new line of high efficiency, long life bulbs that came in a variety of sizes, including floods and candelabra style, and that also had dimming capability.
In the meantime, I will stick to my cfls. If all the marketing information is correct, I shouldn't have to replace them anytime soon!
If you are thinking about switching to cfls, here are a few tips:
1. Start with bulbs that are on a lot, but aren't used for heavy reading. These are the "low hanging fruit." Ideal bulbs to replace are porch lights, garage lights, basement and workshop lights.
2. Try a few different brands. I have found that different brands have different colors. (Some of mine are peachy and one of mine is positively purple.) Find what works well for you.
3. Consider how you use the room and the lighting. For example, in my kitchen I put a cfl in over the sink. That is the light I use the most for washing dishes and prepping food. However, I have dimmable flood lights in the ceiling. I won't replace these with cfls, in part because I haven't found a good dimmable cfl flood, but also in part because this is a better light for entertaining.
4. The best energy control is simply not wasting it. Remember to flick the light off when you leave the room, unplug appliances and chargers that are sucking up energy, and use natural light whenever possible. You'll have those energy bills down in no time!
EDIT: Check out this post by Frugal Dreamer who was also able to make some differences in her bill through turning out those unneeded lights. Way to go!
Photo by: jnpoulos