Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs


Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are designed to use up to 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs while offering the same amount of light. They work by passing an electrical current through a mixture of argon and mercury which then emits ultraviolet light. Because of this technology, CFL bulbs require fewer watts of energy than incandescent bulbs to operate at the same luminosity. For example, a 40-watt incandescent bulb emits the same amount of light as an 11-14 watt CFL. The lifespan of a CFL varies depending on how frequently it is turned on/off and how much air flow is around the bulb, but on average, they last 6,000-15,000 hours (about ten times as long as incandescent bulbs).

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if every home in America were to replace just one incandescent bulb with an Energy Star rated CFL, we would be able to collectively save $700 million in energy costs while preventing 9 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions every year. That’s the equivalent of 800,000 cars!

Estimated Cost Savings:
While CFLs are slightly more to purchase than incandescent bulbs ($2-15 as opposed to $0.25-$5), they can save as much as $30 over the life of the bulb in reduced energy costs. The average payback period is six months.