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Earth Day is Saturday and with all of the choices now offered by compact florescent technology, saving energy, saving money, and protecting the environment is as easy as changing a light bulb.

By Larry West

RISMEDIA, April 19, 2007-(About.com)-If you want to change the world, start by changing a few light bulbs. It is one of the best things you can do for the environment-and your budget.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, if every U.S. household replaced just one regular incandescent light bulb with a compact florescent light bulb, it would prevent 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the equivalent of taking 7.5 million cars off the road. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that by replacing regular light bulbs with compact florescent light bulbs at the same minimal rate, Americans would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year and on top of that, replacing one regular light bulb with an approved compact florescent light bulb would save consumers $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.

Compact florescent light bulbs use at least two-thirds less energy than standard incandescent bulbs to provide the same amount of light, and they last up to 10 times longer. Compact florescent light bulbs also generate 70% less heat, so they are safer to operate and can also reduce energy costs associated with cooling homes and offices.

How Much Can You Save by Using Compact Florescent Light Bulbs?

For most people, this offers a lot of opportunity for energy and cost savings. Lighting accounts for 20% of the electric bill in the average U.S. home, and the average home has approximately 30 light fixtures.

To save the most energy and money by using compact florescent light bulbs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends replacing standard bulbs in areas where lights are used frequently and left on for a long time, such as family rooms, living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, and porches.

Choosing the Right Compact Florescent Light Bulbs

To make sure you get the same amount of light when replacing standard bulbs with compact florescent light bulbs, check the lumen rating on the light you are replacing and purchase a compact florescent light bulb with the same lumen rating. (A lumen rating is the measure of light the bulb puts out.)

Wattage varies greatly between standard light bulbs and compact florescent light bulbs. Compact florescent light bulbs typically use about one-quarter of the wattage used by standard bulbs to produce the same amount of light. So to replace a traditional 60-watt bulb, look for a compact florescent light bulb that is about 15 watts.

Compact florescent light bulbs are available in many different sizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture-from three-way lamps to dimmer switches-for both indoor and outdoor use. Compact florescent light bulbs also come in a variety of color temperatures, which helps determine the color and brightness of the light each bulb provides.

Keeping It Simple

None of this is as daunting as it may seem. But to make it really simple, the environmental group Environmental Defense has put together an easy-to-use Web site that lets you search for the compact florescent light bulbs according to where you want to use them or by shape, brightness, color of light or other features.

The site also features user reviews of specific bulbs, and side-by-side photos of energy-saving compact florescent light bulbs with incandescent bulbs to help you determine whether the florescent bulbs will fit your light fixture.

Source: http://environment.about.com/od/greenlivingdesign/a/light_bulbs.htm.

For more information, visit www.environmentaldefense.org.

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