Instapundit points to How Many Lightbulbs Does it Take to Change the World? One. And You're Looking At It. Changing the world is, to say the least, a bit of hyperventilation. This does, however, represent a very simple and painless way to save some money by consuming less electricity and if done on a large scale can surely matter in some measurable way. Over the past few months I have replaced the 12 most frequently "on" bulbs in my home with these.
I have only 3 complaints and they are minor.
One, of course, is that the purchase price of these bulbs is very high compared with ordinary bulbs - but the cost is $3 - $4 per bulb so it is not out of reach for anyone to replace some as needed. If the savings claims are inflated only double, however, that is money recouped in both electricity bills and longevity. I haven't tracked the electrical consumption but I presume the claims must have some basis in fact.
Longevity remains to be seen but the only other flourescent bulbs I have in my house have lifetimes that are downright astonishing. About eight or more years ago I had installed a ceiling fixture that used some funky looking U-shaped flourescent bulbs. They finally went bye-bye and when I went to replace them I could no longer remember how to extract them. That was a pain in the arse since I wound up tearing the bubs apart figuring out how to extract them. That is obviously not an issue with the bulbs that screw in like any other bulb and will be a benefit with a couple of the fixtures I chose since they are decorative and make changing bulbs a bit of a chore.
My second complaint, and the biggest, is that these bulbs are still slow to reach their maximum output. They take a few moments to "spin up" when you flip the switch. It isn't very long and one becomes accustomed to it but you can flip the switch and be in bed before the light is on.
My final complaint is that these are not yet (or at least I haven't found them) available in 40 watt variety. Sixty watt is the lowest I've found. In multibulb fixtures (kitchen for example) I prefer using 40 watt bulbs. Three forty watt bulbs is perfect, three sixties is too much light. Once I find some 40's I'll move the 60's out of those fixtures and replace some other bulbs. This also means I can't quite get the maximum savings since I'm still burning a watt or three more than I need and prefer.
It is a small thing but well worth the initial cost and minor irritatation of slow startup.
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