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Save by using compact fluorescents!

by Scott Olson - December 12, 2008

Did you know that lighting comprises nearly 20 percent of the electric energy we use in our homes? By installing ENERGY STAR-qualified compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL), you can help reduce your electric costs and overall demand, since CFLs use approximately 25 percent of the electricity of similar incandescent bulbs. And they last up to 10 times longer!

Would you like to buy compact fluorescent bulbs at greatly discounted prices? Go to the Energy Federation's online store, sponsored by the New Jersey Clean Energy Program at Do your part for energy conservation, save money, and help fight global warming by installing energy-saving CFLs in your home. Free shipping is available for orders over $10 at the online store.

Yes, CFLs contain mercury - on average about 1.4 – 2.5 milligrams per light bulb. This is not a "bad thing" if they are handled properly, because the coal used to generate electricity also contains mercury. The EPA estimates the U.S. is responsible for the release of 104 metric tons of mercury emissions each year, with most of these emissions coming from coal-fired electric power plants. CFLs use less electricity than incandescent lights, meaning CFLs reduce the amount of mercury into the environment. A 13-watt, 8,000-rated-hour-life CFL (60-watt equivalent; a common light bulb type) will save 376 kWh over its lifetime, thus avoiding 4.5 mg of mercury emissions. No mercury is released when CFL bulbs are intact (not broken) or in use, but they must be handled and disposed of carefully.

There is an easy way to recycle spent bulbs properly at all Home Depot stores – details of their CFL recycling program can be found by clicking here.

Special care should be taken when cleaning up a broken CFL bulb. The EPA's guidelines for clean-up can be found at at

Want to know more about energy conservation? Go to the ENERGY STAR web site (click here), and while you are there, take the ENERGY STAR pledge (click here) and do your part to further reduce energy demand and global warming.

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