purplejuli (purplejuli) wrote,

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Environmental Impact

The bulb in my favorite lamp burned out over the weekend and I need to replace it. The dead one is a standard incandescent bulb and I have a compact florescent one to replace it with, cause I'm trying to "reduce my carbon fopotprint" and all that jazz, like I'm supposed to do.

I have no problem with buying a different (more expensive) lighbulb if it means leaving a better world behind for my kids and their kids, but it did get me to thinking. I've seen the websites and whatever that say replacing standard bulbs with a CFL does this:

"f every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars."

So I was wondering... how does it do that?  I don't think GE is changing their manufacturing levels based on my not buying one box of lightbulbs.  I don't think they're changing their manufacturing levels based on a million people not buying lightbulbs.  I'm just trying to figure out the trickle-down implications of what the great light bulb switch does.  So let's say a million of us stop buying standard lightbulbs and switch to CFLs, which last much much longer.  GE continues to produce bulbs at their current rate, except for some reason, sales have dropped so stores don't have to order replacement inventory as frequently.  Warehouses start to have huge stockpiles of these lightbulbs that most people don't want to use anymore. 

The particular factory in Small Town, USA, where these lightbulbs are made has a drop in production and people end up getting laid off. 


And anyway, where are the CFL people getting these numbers?  Are they for real?  Are we all really saving THAT MUCH energy by replacing one lightbulb?  How does that work?
Tags: geekiness
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