Change almost all lightbulbs to low energy bulbs, 840°

this should cut down energy usage. Plan to change the rest of the bulbs then go ahead and change appliances to energy star rating appliances.

113 comments about this action

If you rent, you can put the standard light bulbs that are fitted by the landlord/landlady in your rental into the top of a cupboard, then replace them in the fittings when you leave, taking your more expensive compact globes with you for your next rental.

That way, you don't lose money by paying higher electricity bills in your rental!

in June 2008

However, it isnt environmentally sustainable to go out and buy a bunch of CFLs as soon as possible. Don't waste what you have already. Use your standard bulbs as scarcely as possible and only when necessary until they run out, THEN replace them, because it's defeating the purpose to waste standard bulbs that still work.

in July 2008

"Use your standard bulbs as scarcely as possible and only when necessary until they run out"

The problem with this is that this may be a period of years. Just be done with it and do what we did when we moved into our house 2 years ago. Pulled out *all* the old bulbs and bulk-bought enough CFLs to replace the lot. Why go only half way when you can go the whole way? I understand that throwing away functioning incandescents can seem like a waste, but keeping them in the manner suggested is really only applicable if you apply the same rigorous rubric to *every* other consumable item in your home when a better more environmentally "friendly" replacement exists.

in August 2008

Every single bulb in our house is a CFL.

in August 2008

Do you have a question, solution or thought on this?
Add a comment and help others!

in August 2008

Question - are CFLs available for spotlights? I can't seem to find them anywhere and I feel like I'm constantly replacing my standard light bulbs.

Also, I tried to buy a CFL for a tablelamp but it wouldn't fit into the bayonet fitting. Is this a common problem or did I just happen to buy the one faulty bulb out there?!

in September 2008

I have replaced my lightbulbs with CFLs and new LED light bulbs. Some of the LED Light bulbs can produce enough light for groping in a dark room at a minuscule wattage. I have a couple of 1.2 watt bulbs in my living room that work while I'm walking through to the kitchen and don't want to trip over something.

You can use the incandescent bulbs more often in the winter time if you'd like the excess heat they produce. :D

in September 2008

A CFL multi-pack often accompanies the bottle of (local) wine and baked-good packed in a re-usable shopping bag that makes up our standing house-warming gift.

in October 2008

We use CFLs and LEDs.


in January 2009

CFLs where we can.

in March 2009

CFLs are a toxic scam, which is ok by me as I don't have children, but I worry about contaminating my pets, so I'm sticking to incandescents.
For those who do have concerns .... at lest for the animals, you should read this report . I removed all the CFLs from my house and posted them to Helen and Jeanette ... it seems it is legal to send toxic* mercury through the post.
* I know all mercury is toxic, but more so a gas.

in May 2009

Let's get real about alternative energy

* Story Highlights
* David MacKay: Replacing fossil fuels will take a massive level of construction
* He says most people don't understand the size and scope of the effort needed
* Turning off cell phone charger is a minuscule contribution to saving energy, he says
* He says hydrogen-powered cars use too much energy to solve the problem

Editor's note: David MacKay is a professor of physics at the University of Cambridge. His book, "Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air," is published by UIT Cambridge and is also available in electronic form for free from
David MacKay says people engage in wishful thinking about energy because they don't look at the math.

David MacKay says people engage in wishful thinking about energy because they don't look at the math.

(CNN) -- We need to introduce simple arithmetic into our discussions of energy.

We need to understand how much energy our chosen lifestyles consume, we need to decide where we want that energy to come from, and we need to get on with building energy systems of sufficient size to match our desired consumption.

Our failure to talk straight about the numbers is allowing people to persist in wishful thinking, inspired by inane sayings such as "every little bit helps."

Assuming we are serious about getting off fossil fuels, the scale of building required should not be underestimated. Small actions alone will not deliver a solution.

Let's express energy consumption and energy production using simple personal units, namely kilowatt-hours. One kilowatt-hour (kWh) is the energy used by leaving a 40-watt bulb on for 24 hours. The chemical energy in the food we eat to stay alive amounts to about 3 kWh per day. Taking one hot bath uses about 5 kWh of heat. Driving an average European car 100 kilometers (roughly 62 miles) uses 80 kWh of fuel. With a few of these numbers in mind, we can start to evaluate some of the recommendations that people make about energy.

Take, for example, the idea that one of the top 10 things you should do to make a difference to your energy consumption is to unplug your cell-phone charger when you are not using it. The truth is that leaving a phone charger plugged in uses about 0.01 kWh per day, 1/100th of the power consumed by a lightbulb.

This means that switching the phone charger off for a whole day saves the same energy as is used in driving an average car for one second. Switching off phone chargers is like bailing the Titanic with a teaspoon. I'm not saying you shouldn't unplug it, but please realize, when you do so, what a tiny fraction it is of your total energy footprint.

In total, the European lifestyle uses 125 kWh per day per person for transport, heating, manufacturing, and electricity. That's equivalent to every person having 125 light bulbs switched on all the time. The average American uses 250 kWh per day: 250 light bulbs.

And most of this energy today comes from fossil fuels. What are our post-fossil-fuel options?

Among the energy-saving options, two promising technology switches are the electrification of transportation (electric vehicles can be about four times as energy-efficient as standard fossil-fuel vehicles) and the use of electric-powered heat pumps to deliver winter heating and hot water (heat pumps can be four times as energy-efficient as standard heaters).

Among all the energy-supply technologies, the three with the biggest potential today are solar power, wind power and nuclear power.

As a thought-experiment, let's imagine that technology switches and lifestyle changes manage to halve American energy consumption to 125 kWh per day per person. How big would the solar, wind and nuclear facilities need to be to supply this halved consumption? For simplicity, let's imagine getting one-third of the energy supply from each.

To supply 42 kWh per day per person from solar power requires roughly 80 square meters per person of solar panels.

To deliver 42 kWh per day per person from wind for everyone in the United States would require wind farms with a total area roughly equal to the area of California, a 200-fold increase in United States wind power.

To get 42 kWh per day per person from nuclear power would require 525 one-gigawatt nuclear power stations, a roughly five-fold increase over today's levels.

I hope these numbers convey the scale of action required to put in place a sustainable energy solution. What about tidal power? What about wave power? What about geothermal energy, biofuels or hydroelectricity? In a short article, I can't discuss all the technology options.

But the sober message about wind and solar applies to all renewables: All renewables, much as I love them, deliver only a small power per unit area, so if we want renewable facilities to supply power on a scale at all comparable to our consumption, those facilities must be big.

If you don't want to build 1 million wind turbines, you can drill 1 million geothermal boreholes instead.

Before I close, I would like to say a few words about the idea that "the hydrogen economy" can magically solve our energy problems. The truth is that, in energy terms, today's hydrogen-powered vehicles don't help at all. Most prototype hydrogen-powered vehicles use more energy than the fossil-fuel vehicles they replace. The BMW Hydrogen 7, for example, uses 254 kWh per 100 km, but the average fossil car in Europe uses 80 kWh per 100 km.

In contrast, electric vehicles use far less energy: as little as 20 kWh per 100 km, or even 6 kWh per 100 km. The problem with hydrogen is that both the creation and the use of hydrogen are energy-inefficient steps. Adopting hydrogen as a transport fuel would increase our energy demand. And, as I hope the numbers above have shown, supplying energy to match our demand is not going to be easy.

The public discussion of energy options tends to be emotional, polarized, mistrustful and destructive. I hope that focusing attention on the numbers may make it possible to develop honest and constructive conversations about energy.

It's not going to be easy to make a energy plan that adds up, but it is possible. We need to get building.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David MacKay.

in May 2009

Reducing energy output goes further than just changing light bulbs. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Each time you throw away a paper or plastic cup the damage done is tremendous.
Not to mention the health risks of drinking out of plastic to begin with.

Lets be true to our word and join me in this action.

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