One of the most common subjects of living a sustainable life is energy and how we can conserve it. This subject is often linked to the easiest and one of the most effective ways in which to save energy, being lights, which leads to knowing that the best light bulbs are CFL, or compact fluorescent.
One important consideration in choosing whether to use CFL or incandescent light bulbs is the amount of energy they both use. A CFL bulb uses around 1/4 to 1/3 the amount of energy that an equivalent incandescent light bulb uses.
Now, there is a lot more to the decision of using CFL’s than just saving energy; CFL bulbs also have a lower net amount of mercury than a normal incandescent light bulb. Mercury is a harmful pollutant when produced in emissions’ or other forms, especially if it enters the water table. Net Mercury refers to the total amount of mercury that will be involved in the whole lifespan of the light bulb. Even though CFL bulbs contain Mercury and incandescent do not, assuming the electricity used is coming from a coal-fired power plant, the amount of mercury will be greater using and incandescent bulb due to the lesser efficiency of the incandescent bulb. Therefore, if the CFL bulb is recycled properly the Mercury is much lower due to most of the mercury pollution being able to be contained in the recycling process, rather than being relatively unavoidable in the form of emissions.
In conclusion, when you take into account which type of light bulb to use, while CFLs may be more expensive up front, the long term saving are well worth that investment.
~ Tazeus Steyskal