Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Answering the Big Question: Are Fluorescent Bulbs Really Green?

One simple answer: yes. Fluorescent lamps are four to six times more efficient than their incandescent counterparts and emit about the same amount of visible light, all while offering longer working life and saving significant energy costs.

Using more efficient lighting options, such as CFLs and other fluorescent lamps, is one of the lowest-cost ways for the nation to reduce electricity use and greenhouse gases. Although incandescent light bulbs may seem like the cheaper option at the counter, consumers will actually save money on CFLs in the long run. While a CFL may cost about $2.00 per bulb, compared to about $0.50 cents for an incandescent bulb, a CFL is four to six times more efficient than an incandescent and lasts an estimated 8 to 15 times as long as an incandescent.

Although CFLs contain small quantities of mercury—which can cause environmental, safety and health consequences—incandescent bulbs actually result in more mercury pollution. While incandescents do not contain mercury, they still contribute to its release into the environment. Because burning coal to generate electricity releases mercury into the air and incandescent bulbs use more electricity over their lifetimes, they are responsible for more energy consumption and ultimately more mercury emissions than CFLs.

The switch from an incandescent bulb to a more efficient CFL results not only in energy and cost savings, but also in less overall mercury pollution.

Brad Buscher
Chairman and CEO
VaporLok Products LLC

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