When I am running in the morning or working out, it is my most creative time.  My mind is fresh.  I run the same route in the morning so I don’t have to concentrate on where I put each foot down.  This leaves my imagination open for ideas to pop in and they do.  Some are great ideas that I will write down when I return to my home base.  Others, well, not so good, not even worth bringing up or I later discover it was already someone else’s thought.  I learned along time ago that thoughts are things.  Everything created in our world was someone’s thought.  And what image always comes into mind when someone has that thought? Exactly, a light bulb!  And who invented that light bulb?  Everyone knows it was Thomas Edison.  I love his quote, “I haven’t failed.  I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.  To honor his endeavors of inventing the light bulb, I will engage you in a One Degree of Change that will help the planet and your pocketbook.

One Degree of Change #33: Replace Bulbs that burn out with Eco Bulbs! 

his doesn’t mean that you go to your local big box hardware store and buy out the eco bulbs.  First you have to have a little information.  There are several types of bulbs that you can convert to when your current bulb burns out.  I’m sure that you understand that when I say “eco bulb”, I am referring to energy efficient light bulbs. These are the types of  energy efficient bulbs: light emitting diodes (LED)compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), and halogen incandescent.  Two of the biggest advantages are these bulbs last three to twenty-five times longer and they save you money (and wear and tear on the planet) by using 25-80% less energy.  If you use a bulb for 2 hours a day (with an electricity average rate of  11 cents in the U.S.) a regular incandescent 60W bulb would last for 1000 hours at an annual cost of $4.80.  Compare this to a LED which will last 25,000 hours at an annual cost of $1.00!  A ban on the sale of traditional incandescent bulbs began in 2014 and is planned to be in full effect by 2020.

A special note about CFL bulbs.  They do contain mercury which we know is a carcinogen. If a bulb breaks it will present a problem.  The Environental Protection Agency (EPA) has information on managing the breakage.  The other website that has great information on disposal, as well as other recycling, is Earth911.  My recommendation is to select LED over CFL bulbs.

In our household I counted 62 bulbs.  We are slowly converting as the bulbs burn out, we are 1/8th of the way to complete conversion.  Here are 5 simple steps to begin your conversion:

1. Energy Star: Look for the label “Energy Star”.  This means it has been certified to save energy.  These bulbs are made in all shapes and sizes, even dimmable.

2. Location, Location, Location:  Determine where the light bulb is going to be used. Lamp? Recessed? Outdoor?  This chart will help!

3. Lumens:  Since you are purchasing an energy efficient bulb you will be looking for lumens rather than watts to determine the brightness needed. Lumens= light output and Watts= energy consumed. This means an Energy efficient bulb will consume fewer watts and provide the same level of light.

4. Mood Lighting: Now you get to pick a color!  Energy Efficient bulbs have different light “appearances”.  They are measured on the Kelvin scale. Warm or lower K means the light will have more of a yellowish or orange hue.  A warm white is the standard color of an incandescent bulb, which is 2700 K. A cooler white light will compare to natural daylight, which is about 7000 K.

5. Just do it!: Now you are ready for your shopping spree.  Select the bulb for your needs and fork over the cash.  No complaining that it is too expensive.  If you replace 15 old incandescent bulbs, you will save $50 a year.

So, no more grumping about how hard it is to pick out the perfect energy efficient light bulb. Save energy, brighten up your home and lighten up you wallet in the process!  And you will want to recycle those old bulbs.  Here is a website that will help to locate sites for recycling, Lamp Recycle.  Most of your large retailers like Home Depot, Lowes, Ace, Target and Walmart will have recycling programs.  If they, don’t request that they do.

You light up my life (sorry, I couldn’t help it)! 

Now do the right thing.  

This One Degree of Change doesn’t require you to make a food change.  Only a change to make this world a better place.  Change that bulb!

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