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Energy Efficiency – One Light Bulb at a Time

(471 words)

Replacing just one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with an energy-efficient 20-watt compact fluorescent in each of Canada's 12 million homes could save more than $73 million a year in energy costs. With power plants generating less electricity, they would also be using less natural resources and creating less greenhouse gases. The energy saved would be equivalent to taking more than 66000 cars off the road.

Those figures highlight why it is easy, economical and environmentally savvy to replace some of the most frequently used lights in your home with compact fluorescent bulbs. The bulbs bearing the international high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® symbol on the packaging are your assurance of maximum energy efficiency.

A typical Canadian home can have as many as 30 light fixtures, costing an average of $200 annually in electricity. Replacing regular incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) in just five fixtures that are used three hours a day or more could slice $30 from that yearly expense. These savings are enough to pay off the added cost of the CFL bulb in under two years, and then you will continue to save money every year after because CFLs last up to 10 times longer than standard bulbs while emitting the same amount and quality of light.

The best candidates to install CFLs are in areas where lights are on more often, such as in the kitchen, family-room lamps, and outdoor fixtures. Because they last so much longer than standard bulbs, CFLs are especially suited to fixtures that are hard to reach.

Replacement tips

  • Cut back on energy costs with outdoor motion sensors and timers, and inside, create different moods with easily installed indoor dimmer switches. Ensure the bulb you choose is compatible with a dimmer switch.

  • Compact fluorescent lights no longer flicker and hum like fluorescent tube lights of the past. Available in numerous shapes, sizes and wattages, they are designed for a range of functions, from creating warm and soft ambience to brightly lit workspaces.

  • It's practical and aesthetically soothing to mix CFLs and incandescents in a room to provide the same natural white light.

  • Complement ambient lighting kept at low levels for maximum attractiveness and energy efficiency with task lights that raise light levels in reading areas or on work surfaces such as kitchen and bathroom counters.

  • Where outdoor lights are left on for a long time, choose CFL lamps designed for outdoor use to ensure maximum longevity and energy savings.

For more information on the ENERGY STAR international symbol or tips on energy-efficient products, call Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) toll-free at 1 800 387-2000 or visit the OEE's Web sites or ENERGY STAR's Web site, or write to Energy Publications, Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada, c/o S.J.D.S. Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L3.