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Change a Light, Change the World

Did you know you that by simply changing just ONE light bulb in your home or office from a standard incandescent to a compact fluorescent, you can save money, energy and time - and contribute to a cleaner environment?

Energy Star LogoIf you're still using standard incandescent light bulbs, you're wasting a lot of money and energy - and creating a lot of unnecessary pollution. As we all know, turning on a light bulb requires electricity, which has to be created at a power plant.

Power plants burn coal, oil or natural gas, all of which release pollutants such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous dioxide into the air. These "greenhouse gases" trap heat in our atmosphere, resulting in harmful global warming.

In fact, the energy requirements of your home can actually produce twice as much air pollution as your car! Since nearly 20% of our nation's residential electricity goes toward lighting, reducing your home's energy requirements is really as simple as changing a light. Energy Star TM compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can help cut your home's energy usage significantly because they require 75% less (that's right, 75% less !) energy to operate. And, each CFL you use can prevent more than 500 pounds of greenhouse gases from polluting our environment.

Finding ways to reduce your energy consumption not only helps our environment but, it's crucial for your wallet, as well. Our government recently warned Americans to get ready for higher energy bills this winter, due in part to the shutdown of oil refineries and natural gas processing plants and the disruption in oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico caused by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. In fact, energy costs are predicted to increase by as much as 50% this winter!

Consumers like you have the power to manage their energy bills and use energy efficiency to ease the pinch of high energy prices by purchasing and using energy-efficient appliances and products with the Energy Star label. This includes using Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulbs in place of standard incandescent light bulbs. Lighting costs are the most overlooked energy expenditures facing businesses, building owners and homeowners today. Each incandescent light bulb you replace with a compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb can save you up to $100 in energy costs over the life of the bulb! Although incandescent bulbs are the cheapest to buy at the store (around $.70 for an incandescent vs. around $7.00 for a CFL), they actually end up costing more in the long run in terms of higher energy costs, more frequent bulb changes, and more damage to our environment. For a light fixture that's used about 3-4 hours per day every day, the average CFL can last up to 10 years, whereas an incandescent bulb lasts only about 1 year. So, not only will you need to change an incandescent bulb 9 times more often than a CFL, it will also add more waste to our landfills, add more pollution to our air AND cost you more in long-term energy bills.

Look at the cost savings in the chart below. By replacing just ONE standard incandescent light bulb with a CFL, you can save almost $100 in 10 years, even with the higher initial cost of the compact fluorescent bulb.

To further emphasize how changing one light bulb really can change the world, in a town of 22,000 residents, if each home swaps just ONE CFL for one 60-watt light that's on 3-4 hours per day, in one year, it would save 1.4 million pounds of greenhouse gases from going into the air and the residents' combined electricity bill would be cut by $110,000! Imagine the combined financial, energy and environmental savings if everyone in the United States changed just ONE standard light bulb to a CFL!

As part of the Energy Star TM Change a Light, Change the World Campaign through November 30, 2005, every American is encouraged to change out the 5 most frequently used light bulbs in their homes with Energy Star TM compact fluorescent bulbs. When you do this, you will save over $475 for the life of the bulbs and keep 2,500 pounds of greenhouse gases out of the air! Considering the average home has at least 30 light fixtures (indoors and out), if you change the incandescent bulbs in ALL of your light fixtures to CFLs, you would save $2,877 over 10 years and keep 15,000 pounds of greenhouse gases out of our air! If every U.S. household makes this "5 light change", not only would each home save more than $60 every year in energy costs, but together we'd also keep more than one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases out of our air. That's equivalent to taking 8 million cars off the road! Plus, it means a $6 billion energy savings for Americans, equivalent to the annual output of more than 21 power plants! Clearly, you should replace as many standard, incandescent light bulbs you can with CFLs right away!

If initial cost is a concern for you, replace the incandescent bulbs in your most used fixtures with CFLs first. This will still go a long way in saving you money in energy costs and helping protect the environment because, on average, 25% of the lighting fixtures in a typical household account for 75% of the lighting energy consumption. The 5 most used fixtures in a home are typically the kitchen ceiling light, the living room table and floor lamps, bathroom vanity and outdoor porch or post lamp.

If you have concerns about the quality of compact fluorescents, you can rest assured that CFL technology has come a long way in recent years and overall quality has improved greatly. CFLs are now available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and wattages, as well as dimmable and 3-way options, to fit almost any light fixture - including table and floor lamps, ceiling mounted fixtures, sconces, porch lights and more. The current technology is very well-tested and today's CFLs are designed to operate and produce light that is just like an incandescent - you won't be able to tell the difference. Nearly all of our CFLs carry the Energy Star TM logo, which ensures the best quality and energy savings - in fact, they're backed by a minimum 2-year warranty from Energy Star TM . Our Energy Star TM CFLs have a color temperature of 2700K, which matches the "warm," soft light of a standard incandescent. In addition, the light comes on right away - there's no flicker, but it may take a few seconds to warm up to its full brightness - and there's no humming. All have wattage equivalents and dimensions that are similar to incandescent bulbs and they screw in just like incandescents so you won't have any problem replacing any of the standard bulbs in your lamps/fixtures. When replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs, you should use a 4:1 wattage multiplier. (i.e., 15W CFL for a 60W incandescent).