While Congress continues to make no progress on figuring out our country’s economic future, you may have seen another fight in the news – over light bulbs.
Some Republicans are pushing to repeal a law passed under President George W. Bush in 2007 that, starting January 1, requires manufacturers to make light bulbs that use about a third of the energy that standard incandescent light bulbs use. The law had bi-partisan support (remember that?) when it was approved, and the major light bulb manufacturers support it.
Here are the arguments for energy-efficient light bulbs:
They save you money. Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs should cut down your electric bill anywhere from $80 to $200 a year.
They cut down on pollution. Less energy demand means less power plant production.
Once the new law is fully implemented, it would be the equivalent of taking 17 million cars off the road.
They help your air conditioning system cool your home. Most of the energy-efficient bulbs emit less heat, meaning your AC does not have to work as hard. This also cuts down on your electric bill.
Now, I realize there are some concerns about CFL bulbs. In fact, we had an interesting back and forth on this topic this week with one of our great Facebook friends, Michael Graef. So I want to provide some information from Energy Star to debunk a couple of myths about the new law or CFL bulbs in general.
Myth 1: Incandescent light bulbs are being banned.
The new law does not ban traditional incandescent light bulbs. It just forces manufacturers to make them more energy efficient.
Myth 2: CFL light bulbs are dangerous because they contain mercury.
CFL bulbs do contain a small amount of mercury, but it would take 125 CFL bulbs to equal the amount of mercury in an old-school thermometer you used to tell your temperature. Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs should actually cut down on mercury. According to Energy Star, coal power plants are the main producer of mercury that is emitted in our environment. Less demand on power plants should help that number decrease.
I hope that clears up some of the confusion being presented in the media over energy-efficient light bulbs. I admit they are not perfect (with the amount of light being produced as the main complaint), but cutting down on our energy demands is never a bad thing.