Put a little holiday in your light socket...

13 years ago | Nov 28, 2007
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I'm giving CFL lightbulbs and smart powerstrips for holiday gifts :) no, I'm not kidding, and yes, I do expect a big giant "uhhh....?" when people first tear off the wrapping paper. Hey, whenever I blather about how people should change their lightbulbs, all I hear is "but they are SO expensive ?" Up front they are, but you save so much money on your electricity bill later - $30 over the life of the bulb. (Dear family - this means you must just smile and thank me. Instead of a $10 gift, I actually gave you a $40 one. Truly.) Those links are just to help introduce you to these products. Before you order anything online, it's always a good idea to go down and check with your local retailer (in this case, the hardware store) to see if they carry these items. If not " ask. They can't know unless you ask ? and if they don't carry the bulbs because they are afraid that they can't sell the rest of the case, go nag your friends and family, book club, co-workers, congregation, whatever, to split the costs of an order between you. And for folks like my sister-in-law, who really wants to budget to buy one CFL lightbulb per week but feels like she always ends up with the wrong size/ color, here's a guide to buying CFLs (Energystar.gov). You want to make sure you get the right color temperature. (Also remember that some of these bulbs need about five minutes to warm up after you turn on the light.) By far the best CFL/ green lighting comparison chart I have ever seen is actually in print, not online " you can find it in the Real Goods catalog. It's helpful in also understanding uses for LEDs (light emitting diodes), another emerging green lighting technology. When your CFLs eventually need replacement, remember to recycle them appropriately because they do contain small trace amounts of mercury. I save the directions on the CFL package by storing them in my recipe file. Also check with your local municipal waste management, or with EnergyStar.gov. There are actually black market CFLs (I kid you not) " don't buy them. You will hate the color. Right now in the CFL market, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, some big box home improvement stores carry the yuck brands, not the good ones like Philips or Sylvania. Beware. Ah yes. As to why you want to buy CFLs " it helps fight climate change. Quotable from the EnergyStar website:
If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, 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.
See? CFLs make really great gifts.