I am excited by the notion that we may be entering an era where we truly regard our fellow Americans as brothers and sisters, one in which we are willing to unite to address issues that affect all of us, one that looks and behaves like a national village.
It goes without saying that we are concerned as a nation about the economy. If you’re like me you are ready to act and you guess that there are others out there who are also ready to start acting locally towards making a difference. If the answer to future economic growth lies in a “green economy” and the future of our globe’s health lies in adopting “greener” habits, then it is time to make changes at home, yesterday.
The question for many is where to start. With a few clicks on the internet and some sifting through Wikipedia I arrived at the first step I will take. In an effort to begin “greening up” my household I am replacing all of my traditional incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). They last 8 to 10 times longer which more than offsets their higher cost. They do cost 3 to 10 times more, but compare the average life span of an incandescent bulb at 750 – 1,000 hours to that of a CFL at 6,000 – 15,000 hours. Not only do the bulbs have an extended life, but they offer significant energy savings as well. They use one fifth to one third the power of traditional incandescent lamps. Look at it as a 12 % savings on your monthly energy bill.
According to Wikipedia, household lighting accounted for 9 % of total U.S. energy usage in 2001. It is thought that a national commitment to the use of CFLs could result in a 7% reduction of that usage. Use of the bulbs does come with one concern. Each bulb contains a trace amount of mercury (approximately 4mg) which poses the threat of air and water pollution once they hit landfills and incinerators.
Don’t fret, all is not lost. Your local Home Depot participates in a CFL disposal program. So grab a recycled paper grocery sac, label it “Home Depot Recycling” for future expired bulbs and take it to buy a household stock off Compact Florescent Lamps.