Until the summer light shines until 10:00 each night, the need for artificial light in our homes is a necessity. Using compact fluorescent lights (CFL) to meet your lighting needs is a great way to be green and save money.
Though typically 2 to 4 times more expensive than traditional incandescent lights you will save money in the long run. Generally, it works out to be $30 dollars saved in electricity costs over the lifetime of the light. The average rated life of the CFL is 8 to 15 times that of its counterpart. For the same light output, a CFL uses between one fifth and one third the power of incandescent ones. Additionally, compact fluorescents emit significantly less greenhouse gases.
CFL'c do contain a small amount of mercury which may be released if the bulb is broken. It is best to use the lights in ceiling fixtures or out of reach of children and dogs. When a CFL no longer works, be sure to dispose of it as you would dispose of other toxics in the home by bringing them to a Metro recycling and waste disposal station.
It's of note to mention the life of a CFL is significantly shorter if it is only turned on for a few minutes at a time. The Energy Star program advises leaving them on at least 15 minutes at a time to mitigate the problem. This makes the CFL ideal for outdoor lighting such as the front porch light that is left on overnight. So the next time you're in the shopping aisle to buy lights, consider purchasing a compact fluorescent, you'll save money and do your part to reduce greenhouse gases.