One of the side benefits to being organized is that you find you have the mental space to wonder about stuff. Like a child, sometimes I'm amazed by the smallest things. Take, for example, the incandescent light bulb. I think it's pretty incredible that one of the most critical inventions in history is a glowing filament inside a vacuum globe. That's just amazing to me, and I admit, some have said...
I'm easily impressed. (the fax machine still amazes me). The incandescent light bulb changed the face of America and indeed the world, thanks to Thomas Edison. Incidentally, Edison, despite what many think, actually didn't invent the light bulb, but rather he perfected it in the late 19th century, basing his work on the prior inventions of other inventors.
Fast forward to 2007. What's coiled like a snake (or a soft-serve ice cream cone), weighs next to nothing, costs about two bucks and saves me time and annoyance on a regular basis? A CF light bulb. Have you switched yet? If not, how come?
This week, Seth Godin, my favorite marketing guru (along with Christmas Boy, of course) issued a challenge and an opportunity to bloggers everywhere. Write about the CF bulbs and maybe -- just maybe -- he'll include a link to your blog in a future post. What self-respecting blogger can turn down that challenge?
The funny thing about these light bulbs is that we started using them before we knew anything about their environmental benefits, among them, mercury reduction. Also, Fast Company Magazine printed a piece in its September issue, which claims CF bulbs boast incredible energy savings and some pretty impressive environmental benefits related to oil and greenhouse gases.
Compact fluorescents emit the same light as classic incandescents but use 75% or 80% less electricity. What that means is that if every one of 110 million American households bought just one ice-cream-cone bulb, took it home, and screwed it in the place of an ordinary 60-watt bulb, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people. One bulb swapped out, enough electricity saved to power all the homes in Delaware and Rhode Island. In terms of oil not burned, or greenhouse gases not exhausted into the atmosphere, one bulb is equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the roads. That's the law of large numbers--a small action, multiplied by 110 million. (Read the entire article)
We admit, we knew nothing of this. We started buying them because they last longer and are less expensive to use than their incandescent counterparts. It had nothing to do with "being green" and everything to do with making better choices for our own wallet and home. But at the same time, now that we do know the environmental benefits, it seems like a giant win-win. Hmmmm let's see... if it makes my life easier AND is better for the environment, why wouldn't I do it? I have to wonder why wouldn't anyone make a simple change that actually benefits them, while doing something good for the planet. Now tell me again, why you haven't switched?
Seth says a lot of it has to do with the packaging and Christmas Boy has always said "packaging is everything", so there must be something to it. The bulbs' packaging is admittedly just slightly easier to get into than Fort Knox, but it can be done with a good pair of scissors or a carefully wielded razor knife. This aspect definitely needs improvement, but despite this flaw and their slightly nutty aesthetic, CF bulbs are a hit at our house. They last much longer than regular incandescent bulbs and given my ummm, shall we say, "less than tall" stature, I find myself less often standing barefoot on a dining room chair changing yet another blown out bulb. This makes me very happy. (Christmas Boy is happy too because he's in charge of changing the really high ones that are out of my reach, even with the aid of a chair)
Even WalMart (America's favorite evil retailer) is on board, although boosting sales of the CF bulbs will cannibalize WalMart's already huge light bulb business. WalMart has launched a campaign to sell 100 million CF bulbs in 2007, in hopes of converting incandescent users to CF users. They're even asking you to take the Energy Star pledge. So next time you're out at the grocery store (or if you're still not afraid to be seen at WalMart), do your wallet and the planet a favor and pick up a few of these little babies to try in your house.