Compact fluorescent lights are a great way to help save the environment and take our country just that much closer to sustainability, economizing the monthly light bill.
The same amount of light intensity is available with compact fluorescent lights of 15 watts as with regular mercury bulbs of 60 watts and CFLs have a life expectancy of around 12,000 hours, 15-20 times longer than our traditional incandescent bulbs.
Traditional bulbs contain mercury and while they themselves do not emit carbon dioxide, the fossil fuel powered energy plants and hydroelectric dams that we currently use to produce power are not sustainable with current growth in energy use.
Our society ends up burning a lot of fossil fuel just to keep those traditional incandescent lights glowing, a lot more than we would like to imagine
With the example of the 15 watt CFL glowing 12,000 hours from above that comes to a total of 564kWh; one third of a ton of carbon emissions saved by one single compact florescent light bulb throughout its lifetime compared to if it were a traditional incandescent light bulb of 60 watts.
It would be impossible to simply tell American consumers that compact fluorescent lights are better for our ecosystem, but if everyone in the US just up and started using them, the current supply of grid power would (at current energy consumption growth rates) be enough for the next twenty years.
If American consumers decided that what would really be good for our country is self-reliance and being independent from other countries as a member of a responsible global community; the growing area of alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and biofuels could potentially free us from the mangles of the current fossil fuel economy, within a few decades.
Using a compact fluorescent light today, for three hours a day throughout its life expectancy of eleven years, will save a total of 50U$ (4.63U$ yr).
The more electricity prices rise, the more will be saved and even though they have not been so trustworthy in the past, CFL technology improves every year and are already much better today.
Since compact fluorescent lights come with such a savings, its already a profitable idea to start replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs!
In some compact fluorescent lights, it is possible to release as much as 2mg of mercury into the atmosphere the minute they break in the trash, so recycling them is considered an ecologically responsible action, even though not yet law.
Compact Fluorescent Lights without mercury do exist and still offer the same savings on electricity.
A non-governmental organization called The Forest Foundation for example sells mercury-free compact fluorescent lights as a fund-raiser (15 and 25 watts) and they are just as good as incandescent bulbs of 60 and 100 watts.
Compact fluorescent lights are one more example of options that could lead our country to a more sustainable world, if only we choose to make the effort to change.
Compact Fluorescent Lights are a great way to meet the needs of our now while looking ahead 20 years in the future.
Other: Compact Fluorescent Lights FAQ.