Editor's Note: This Special Edition was written for Metrolink Commuters on train #609, but we wanted to share it with all of our members.
CFL Fun Facts
The CFL in your hand will save you over $50.
CFLs use 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs.
CFLs last 8-10 times as long as incandescent light bulbs.
If every American household changed one bulb to a CFL, the combined effort would save 5.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year worth $526 million.
CFL Do's and Don'ts
• To speed up your savings, install the CFL in an application with a high “duty factor.” Look for lights that are on a minimum of 3-4 hours a day.
• Don’t make it a priority to install CFLs in closets where they are seldom used. While you will be helping to make a difference, by selecting a higher-use application, you speed up the savings.
• Some CFLs are dimmable. The sample we are giving you is not. Do not install this CFL in a dimmable application.
• Some CFLs are designed for recessed cans (flush ceiling fixtures). EcoMotion has found that conventional (spiral) CFLs fail more often in these applications than other applications such as reading lamps, globe fixtures, and wall sconces.
• Don’t dispose of “spent” CFLs in the trash. In California and many other states, CFLs must be disposed of as hazardous waste given their small amounts of mercury which spreads the phosphors evenly inside the tubes.
CFLs: The Basics
Lighting consumes 40% of the nation’s electricity, and about 10-15% of the average American’s home electricity use. Take the time to count how many lights you have in your house. Wal-Mart suggests that every American home has 30 light sockets that are CFL compatible. Do you? While you’re doing your survey, keep a focus on which lights you use the most.
The compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) is not an extraordinary technology. Fluorescent lamps – that use an electrical arc to excite phosphors within an evacuated glass tube – have been around since 1980. In terms of light output – measured as “efficacy” and lumens per watt – they require 25% of the electricity to produce the same amount of light as the incandescent lamp. Seventy-five percent savings!
The 23-watt CFL in your hand produces about the equivalent of 90 watts of incandescent light, so it will do a great job of replacing a 75-watt lamp (It will seem very bright!) and may be adequate for sockets where you have a 100-watt incandescent bulb. Over its 8,000-hour life, it will cut your power requirement for the same level of light by 67 watts * 8,000 hours = 536,000 watt hours (or 536 kWh), saving you $50 – 80 depending on your community and electric utility. (If you replace a 75 watt lamp with the 23-watt CFL, you’ll save about $62.40 in the Southern California Edison service territory.)
Since CFLs last so long, you also avoid replacing about ten incandescent lamps (avoiding production, transportation, and disposal costs), not to mention avoiding their purchase. All in all, $50 is a very conservative estimate of the savings you now hold in your hand. And that’s not to mention the environmental benefits, as every kilowatt-hour saved in California also results in savings of 1.34 pounds of carbon dioxide. So as soon as you take the lamp home and screw it in, you’ll begin a process of avoiding the release of 718 pounds of CO2, generated with about five wheel-barrels full of coal, combusted and released into the atmosphere. Imagine the cumulative effect if we all did this!
Wal-Mart’s 100 Million CFL Campaign
In November, Wal-Mart Stores announced its ambitious campaign to sell 100 million compact fluorescent light bulbs at its Wal-Mart and Sam's Club locations by the end of 2007. If achieved, Wal-Mart conservatively projects that this goal has the potential to save its customers $3 billion in electricity costs over the life of the CFLs. "We have a fundamental belief that all families should have access to affordable, sustainable goods, and compact fluorescent light bulbs are a great way for our customers to save money," said Wal-Mart Vice President of Sustainability, Andy Ruben. Wal-Mart believes that the average home has more than 30 CFL-compatible sockets.
Wal-Mart and Sam's Club’s CFL plan includes interactive displays at 100 select stores beginning January 2007 to help customers choose which CFLs best fit their needs. An online savings calculator is currently available on http://www. Samsclub.com
. Educational displays will allow customers to compare qualities and styles, and demonstrate the potential savings associated with each type of CFL. Wal-Mart will give CFLs increased shelf space with prominent displays in the lighting aisles as well as displays in “unexpected places” around its stores. Marketing promotions in print publications and on Wal-Mart TV and radio will give customers tips for transitioning to an energy-efficient home. The company will also promote “sales associate” education through Wal-Mart's internal newsletter, and will run a competition to encourage associates to generate CFL sales.
Wal-Mart realizes that its CFL goal is a, “lofty aspiration” but is focused on the potential dollar and environmental savings. The company is intent on the campaign’s success, “comparable to taking 700,000 cars off the road or powering 450,000 single-family homes."
In 1992 a Canadian ecologist coined the term “ecological footprint,” a metaphor to depict the amount of land and water required to sustain a human’s life in terms of resources required and its ability to absorb wastes. “Footprinting” is now widely used as an indicator of environmental sustainability, extrapolating an individual’s footprint to determine how many planets – or planet hectares – would be required if every Earth citizen required your level of resource requirements for energy, food, water, building materials, and other consumables – from cradle to grave.
If every Earth citizen required the resources of the average American, we’d need 9.5 planets. Take the ecological footprint quiz to get a sense of your impact. It takes only five minutes, presents some startling perspective, and steers you towards next steps. (Mine was 6.2 planets. Yikes!)
The Eco-Royal Watch
The Prince of Wales has launched a new green project called “Costing the Earth - Accounting for Sustainability.” Prince Charles will work to convince big businesses to assess the environmental impact of their products through new accounting measures. The Prince claims that the UK is running up the "biggest global credit card debt in history, consuming the resources of our planet at such a rate that we are, in effect, living off credit and living on borrowed time.” His project will develop a range of accounting principles to help organizations measure sustainability, include it as part of their decision- making processes, and report their performance more consistently.
Prince Charles will begin by labeling his line of organic food products -- called Duchy Originals -- with details of greenhouse gases emitted in their production and distribution. On a personal level, he is determined to reduce his carbon footprint further. He has pledged to commute to London from his country house by scheduled trains and will no longer use private jets and helicopters. He will be using Jaguar cars adapted to run on bio-diesel and has asked staff in London to travel by bicycle wherever possible. (The Queen has already gone green at Windsor Castle with a plan to use hydroelectric power.) Prince Charles launched Costing The Earth — The Accounting For Sustainability project at a St. James Palace forum attended by politicians and business and faith leaders.
The Commuter Challenge has been made possible thanks to our great partners: True Media Foundation is dedicated to using the power of the media to spur social responsibility.
SunPark Electronics — headed up by our dear friends Meynardo Velasco (shown above) and Jim Chao -- graciously donated the CFLs.