Courtesy Minnesota Energy ChallengeThose compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) should keep saving you money on your electric bills for many years. When they do burn out your need to safely recycle them. I burned one out in just one day because I had a dimmer switch.
Starting today I can recycle my CFL bulbs for free at any Menards store in Minnesota thanks to The Center for Energy and Environment and Great River Energy.
Courtesy Tiago Daniel
We’ve written before about compact fluorescent light bulbs – a new type of bulb you can buy for your home that uses a lot less electricity than standard bulbs, and thus reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. But are they all they’re cracked up to be?
Some environmental groups warn that the bulbs contain mercury, which can be toxic and difficult to clean up in the event of a broken bulb.
Researchers in England claim the bulbs can trigger migraines, epilepsy and lupus.
And a review panel assembled by the New York Times concluded that most CFL bulbs do not give off attractive light.
Though a step in the right direction, clearly there are still some bugs to work out of the bulbs.
Confronting an addict about their behavior usually doesn't have much impact. An intervention done by someone with a position of authority might. A successful intervention for those addicted to oil might resemble "treatment" and a "12-step program".
When the oil addict claims "I am not hurting anyone when I choose to waste energy," they should be made aware that depleting cheap and plentiful oil will result in scarcity and higher prices for future generations. The struggle to control oil resources will also continue to result in bloodshed.
Provide educational programs or "steps" that will eliminate abusive use of energy. Put on a sweater instead of cranking up the thermostat. Choose transportation that uses less gasoline. One means of learning "steps to recovery" is accepting the "Energy Challenge" (explained in this previous post).
Governments could give rebates and tax credits for generating or using renewable energy.
Again, governments could penalize those who refuse to clean up their act.
To change the world, start with yourself. If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent, we would save over $500,000,000 each year. That is a lot of fuel that can be left in the ground for future generations.
When you sign up for the the Energy Challenge you can assign your energy savings to three teams. Minneapolis has pulled ahead of Saint Paul. The Science Museum of Minnesota is currently one of the top four business teams because individuals are taking steps to save energy.
I am going on an energy diet. Each year I hope to reduce the amount of energy I use. By recording the gallons of gas, the electricity, and the natural gas I pay for each year, I will measure my success.
“The Energy Diet,” a story in Thursday’s Home & Garden section of the New York Times gave me this idea. Its author, Andrew Postman, asks, "What would you be willing — or not willing — to give up in order to lessen your household’s impact on the environment?" So far, 159 people have answered in their comments.
Please use comments to tell me what you are doing to reduce your energy consumption. I will add the most commonly used ones to this list.