Make the Switch to Energy-Saving Bulbs

. Saturday

Cutting energy use saves you money and reduces global warming pollution

In the 1880s, light bulbs revolutionized the world. Though we call them "lights," traditional incandescent bulbs are actually small heaters that produce a little light — but waste a lot of energy making heat.

Today, we can do better. Energy-saving compact fluorescents (CFs) now rival the cozy, warm light of traditional bulbs. They use a fraction of the electricity, which means lower electricity bills and millions of tons less global warming pollution.

And in
the summer, because they don't burn as hot as incandescent bulbs, they'll lower your cooling bills. If every household replaced just three 60-watt incandescent bulbs with efficient bulbs, the pollution savings would be like taking 3.5 million cars off the road!

How to make the switch

1. Start with one bulb.
There are lots of choices, so before switching all the bulbs in a room, try just one to make sure it gives the kind of light you want. Look for bulbs with a color temperature between 2650 and 2850 degrees Kelvin or labeled "warm white."

2. Know your watts.
Look for a CF bulb whose wattage is about one-quarter of the incandescent you're replacing. For example, a CF bulb in the 15-watt range replaces around a 60-watt incandescent.

3. Check the shape and size.
Both the CF bulb and its ballast (between the glass and the screw-in part) can be bigger than standard incandescent bulbs. Inspect your lamp or light fixture to make sure it can accommodate the CF bulb.

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