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Healthy Home Basics - Green Tip #1: Change Light Bulbs

Green Tip #1

Change Light Bulbs

Start “going green” by replacing standard incandescent bulbs with Energy Star compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). If it seems like a big undertaking, start with the five light fixtures you use most. This one action alone should save you about $60 a year in energy costs and prevent more than 450 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of keeping more than 200 pounds of coal from being burned.


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Though expensive to buy (from $1.89 to $30 per bulb), CFLs use one-quarter of the energy and last ten times longer than incandescents, so they end up being cheaper in the long run. The new generation of CFLs don’t have the "otherworldly" color these bulbs had in the past, and they fit standard light sockets better. You can buy them in all shapes and sizes to fit standard lamps as well as fixtures for spotlights, outdoor lights, and can lights.


Choose bulbs in the warm color range if you’re seeking to duplicate the kind of light rendered by incandescent bulbs. Consult on the packaging for the Color Reference Index (CRI). You can get good color rendering with a CRI of 80 or more.

The next generation of energy efficient lighting appears to be LED (light emitting diode). While the technology isn’t advanced enough yet for mass consumption, keep a look out for these bulbs since they outlast both CFLs and incandescents, with very low energy usage.



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Healthy Home Basics - Green Tip #1: Change Light Bulbs:  Created on May 21st, 2007.  Last Modified on January 11th, 2010


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About Linda Mason Hunter

Linda Mason Hunter

Linda Hunter is a pioneer in the home ecology/green movement. Her first book, The Healthy Home: An Attic-To-Basement Guide(1989, Rodale Press) was the first book on home ecology written for the layperson. Linda was featured in The New York Times and on "Good Morning, America." She has since authored two more "green" books: Green Clean (Melcher, 2005) and Creating a Safe and Healthy Home (CPI 2005). Linda is a field editor for national magazines and a consultant. Linda Mason Hunter's Website is She also founded Healthy Home Designs.



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