The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 18, 2002


Green Corner Light bulbs: why pay to pollute? (an update)

What is the light bulb of the 21st century? Perhaps one that lasts ten times longer than a standard incandescent light bulb, uses 1/4-1/3 the amount of electricity, produces the same amount of light, produces the same warm color light, fits into a standard size light socket, goes on instantly without flicker, is quiet, and is reasonably priced? These bulbs already exist: Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs). Their features have improved dramatically in the last couple of years, and prices have come down.

Only 10% of the energy used by standard bulbs contributes to light the other 90% is wasted as heat. A quick calculation shows that replacing a 75 watt standard bulb with a 23 watt CFL saves 52 watts over the lifetime of the new bulb, listed as 10,000 hours. At Carlisle's current electricity prices ($0.114 / kWatt-hr), this savings is $59 over the lifetime of the bulb. Not only are we saving money, but we are avoiding pollution from electricity generation. Like all fluorescents, however, CFLs contain mercury, and therefore require recycling by leaving them with the attendant at the transfer station.

O'Connor Hardware in Billerica has a large CFL assortment and pricing of less than $3 on some bulbs. CFLs will also be sold at the First Religious Society's Harvest Fair from 10-2 on Saturday, October 26.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito