Want to Save Money? Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Published On January 9, 2013 | Green Tech

Whether you’re feeling the pinch of an economy in recession or you’re concerned about the environment and contributing to global warming, switching to energy-efficient light bulbs just makes sense. As companies continue to improve upon lighting technology, there’s really no reason to continue using your old light bulbs, but there are plenty of reasons to make the switch.

The first reason to switch light bulbs is to save money. Newer bulbs cost around the same as traditional bulbs, but they use less energy and last longer, resulting in more savings for you in the long run. Compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs, are easily recognized by their spiraled design. They’re compatible with most light fixtures and lamps, and you can buy them in colors such as soft white, black and red. CFL bulbs are available in multiple watts, too. You can even replace your three-way bulbs with CFLs.

Light bulbs with ENERGY STAR ratings are especially beneficial to your pocketbook and to the environment. For a bulb to qualify as ENERGY STAR, it has to use about 75 percent less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb. This works out to a savings of approximately $6 per year per bulb, which adds up when you’re replacing multiple bulbs in your home or place of work. Furthermore, an ENERGY STAR light bulb will last six times as long, which means you’ll be heading to the store far less to replace burned out bulbs.

The last area in which an ENERGY STAR bulb can lead to savings is home cooling, and this is because the bulbs produce significantly less heat. This is great news in the summer, and it also makes them safer to operate. You know how hot bulbs can get after they’ve been on all day or night, but ENERGY STAR ratings indicate that a bulb won’t get so hot.

Energy savings are big on a macro level, too. The ENERGY STAR foundation estimates that if each home replaced a single bulb with one that is ENERGY STAR rated, enough energy would be saved to light three million homes and save $600 million per year. However, personal gain isn’t the only reason to switch bulbs. Replacing one light bulb reduces greenhouse gas emissions — as much as nine million pounds.

Government agencies recommend certain actions after you switch to CFLs to further help the environment. Because the bulbs contain mercury, you should recycle them properly. According to the EPA, nearly all the components of a CFL bulb can be recycled, and some states even require that you recycle your energy efficient light bulbs. Recycling options vary depending on where you’re located. Waste collection services may accept your CFLs for recycling, while some retailers have a buy-back or trade-in program that makes recycling easy.

Image via Flickr, by andropolis

Finally, the manufacturer of your CFL might provide the most convenient way to recycle your used light bulbs. Mailing them back to the company with a kit that you can request is one of the easiest ways to go about it. Third-party companies like EasyPak and RecycleKits are also available when you need to recycle your energy-efficient light bulbs.

Changing out your light bulbs is a small effect with big results, both for your bank account and the planet. It’s time to make the switch.

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