For all of Murdoc’s capitalist tendencies, Republican leanings, and derision for stupidity like Live Earth, he’s also concerned about the environment and more than happy to do a little to help protect it. Particularly if doing so saves him a bit of cash and sticks it to those who would hold us hostage with oil.
One little thing I’ve done over the past few months is begin switching over to CFL light bulbs. Not earth shaking, I know, but a number of factors help it make sense for us. First, though they’re a bit expensive up front, over the life of the bulb it will save you money. Second, we seem to go through bulbs like crazy in our house. I don’t know if it’s something screwing with our electricity (which I’ve suspected is a bit screwy since we moved into this place) or if bulbs are just cheaper than crap these days. (That couldn’t possibly have anything to do with that “Made in China” stamp, could it?) In any event, CFLs are touted to break even or possibly even come out ahead in bulb-replacement costs. If CFLs hold up against the electricity gremlins or whatever it is in our house that makes us go through bulbs like water, they’ll easily be worth it.
When I started doing this, I joined Instapundit’s One Billion Bulbs group. Head over to his front page and find the banner on the right sidebar. Joining up records your purchases as part of his legion of readers (which is kicking the tail off of Kos’ readers…you know, the crowd that’s so concerned about the environment…) and under your own username you can track your savings, which makes it sort of fun and can be a real eye-opener.
We started by just replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs as they burned out, but today I went and swapped out a bunch of still-good incandescents. We have a lot of lights that are on dimmers or have several power settings that use regular bulbs. We also have a bunch of 3-way lamps. Regular CFLs don’t work with dimmers, and though dimmer-capable CFLs are supposedly around I’ve not found them. Regular CFLs don’t work at all with lamps that have several power settings on one regular bulb either, so my thinking is that I put CFLs into all the lights that they’ll work in and save the regular bulbs for lights that can’t take CFLs. I have a stockpile of incandescents ready to go, and in the meantime I’m saving a bit of money by using lower wattage CFLs. I’ll continue to replace the 3-ways as they burn out, as 3-way CFLs are a bit more expensive.
By the way, does anyone have any experience with dimmable CFLs? Will LEDs be a better way to solve that?
For the record, I’m opposed to a ban on incandescent bulbs. However, as the prices of CFLs (or alternatives) come down, the cost of energy goes up, and public awareness grows, I think the problem will take care of itself. For instance, I’ve changed a total of 22 bulbs now, and I was conservative on the number of hours each one was used. My total expenditure on bulbs is about $50 as many of my bulbs came in $10 6-packs. My estimated annual savings in electricity alone is $142. Before Christmas my bulbs will have paid for themselves.
A lot of times Murdoc points out stuff like books or movies and he earns a (small) bit of change if anyone purchases it through the affiliate program. This isn’t one of those cases. Murdoc just doesn’t mind saving some money and figures his readers wouldn’t either.