25% of a typical home’s electricity budget is spent on lighting inefficient incandescent light bulbs. A typical light bulb will cost 5 to 10 times its own cost in electricity during its relatively short lifetime. However there are alternatives. Compact Fluorescent Lights are miniature versions of full-sized strip flourescent lighting and screw straight into the light fitting.
Efficiency of CFL Bulbs
CFL bulbs are around four times as efficient as incandescent light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. Therefore a 22 Watt CFL will offer the same amount of light as a 100 Watt incandescent bulb and will last for around five years. Using an 18 Watt CFL in place of a 75 Watt standard light bulb will save over 500 kWh over its lifetime offering savings of around £25 – far in excess of the initial cost of the CFL – and will prevent half a ton of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere by power stations.
Where can CFL Bulbs be Used
CFLs can be used in almost all locations where incandescent light bulbs are used. However the lifetime of a CFL is reduced greatly when used in applications where the light is frequently switched on and off. Also sometimes they are unsuitable for use with dimmer switches, and they cannot be used as spot lights – they are better for lighting whole rooms.
Disadvantages of CFL Bulbs
CFLs do have their disadvantages – for example the average CFL bulb contains 4mg of toxic Mercury.