Incandescent vs CFL bulbs

Sunday morning I stopped by the local Ikea store to pick up a table for my laptop computer. What was supposed to be a short 20-30 minute trip ended up taking me two hours. If you’ve ever been to an Ikea store, one thing you quickly recognize is they are masters at merchandising. Arrows on the floor direct you through the maze of each department and almost every product is displayed to “help you” see just how affordable and easy it is to furnish any living space with put-it-together-yourself furniture. I know I’m being marketed to and I’m ok with that. I still enjoy browsing and window shopping at Ikea. Plus, if I’m hungry, they have a pretty good deal on breakfast and Swedish meatballs.

As I walked through the store this particular day, I took a good look at their lighting display. What I appreciated about the display is how effective it was at showing the benefits of converting standard incandescent light bulbs to energy efficient CFL bulbs.

Incandescent vs CFL Bulbs

Ikea display: Incandescent vs. CFL bulbs
Ikea display: Energy consumption, Incandescent vs CFL bulbs

On the left are twelve incandescent bulbs, consuming 720 watts. On the right, twelve energy efficient CFL bulbs consuming 132 watts. Same number of bulbs, same light output. Standing in front of the display, I could feel noticeably more heat being given off by the incandescent bulbs. Below each display is a meter showing the total number of watts consumed. Just as I expected, the numbers on the meter to the left were adding up pretty quickly. Still, it’s a pretty dramatic statement.

Ikea display: CFL light bulbs side-by-side
Ikea display: CFL light bulbs side-by-side

Over the last few years I’ve been converting my frequently used light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs. After coming home from Ikea, I decided to take inventory of my progress by counting every bulb in my house, those that are frequently used and those that I have replaced with an energy efficient CFL.

Taking inventory of my lighting footprint.

  • Total light bulbs: 53
  • “Frequently-used” light bulbs: 45
  • Number of CFL bulbs: 19

You’ll be amazed how many light bulbs are around when you actually add them up. I started from the back of my house and made my way forward. I counted bulbs in all of these areas:  Lamps, hallways, ceiling fans, patio light fixtures, back yard flood lights, ceiling fans, desk lamps, bedrooms, closets, bathrooms, laundry room, garage, refrigerator, oven, range vent hood…Crazy, isn’t it?

Earth Hour 2009

On March 28th I turned off every light in my home for an hour in support of Earth Hour 2009. This video describes the purpose of the event:

What else can we do?

The World Wildlife Fund has put together a quick and easy list of things we as individuals can do to reduce emissions that affect the climate.

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