Should we use them or not?

The savings are real.  But people are asking “are those savings worth the risk posed by the mercury”?

I’m not going to twist your arm either way.  But the fact is, we have been living with fluorescent light bulbs and their mercury, for a very long time and these little curly ones are no different.  Schools, hospitals, retail stores and office buildings have been illuminated with fluorescent bulbs for as long as I can remember.  Yes, we have discovered that mercury is a poison, so should you decide to join the rest of the world and convert to CFL’s, handle with care.  However, if you decide to stay with the good old, leave the pollution at the power plant, incandescent bulbs, then you better prepare to stock up, as manufacturers are already discussing their end.

Like them or not, CFL’s are here to stay and they do save money.  The lamp next to my reading chair used to be a regular 60 watt bulb.  Now it’s a 13 watt CFL and is equal to or better than the old incandescent, except now, when I fall asleep and leave the light on all night, it cost me less than 2 cents.  Maybe that’s why I fall asleep so easily, hmm :).

If you haven't been reading all of the advertised savings for these little bulbs, here are a few.
If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb (CFL), we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.

Compact fluorescents emit the same light as classic incandescents but use 75% or 80% less electricity.

What that means, is that if every one of 110 million American households bought just one ice-cream-cone bulb, took it home, and replaced one ordinary 60-watt bulb, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people. One bulb swapped out, enough electricity saved to power all the homes in Delaware and Rhode Island. In terms of oil not burned, or greenhouse gases not exhausted into the atmosphere, one bulb is equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the roads.

-if every American replaced a 60 watt bulb with a 13 watt Energy Star labeled CFL bulb,
$8 billion dollars in energy costs would be saved.

And don't forget the savings listed on every package.  A four pack of 40 watt CFL's says they will save you $124 over the life of the bulbs, $31 each.  But that's not correct, not here in Maine.  Their numbers are based upon 10 cents per kwh.  In the Bangor area, we pay 17.5 cents.  That means those four bulbs would actually save us $217 or $54 per bulb over their 9 year lifetime.  I've installed over 50 of them in my own home and it has made a difference.

"My" Energy Workshop