The Changing of the Bulb: Goodbye, Incandescents

February 9, 2011 at 5:10 pm Leave a comment

An incandescent light bulb

Are you ready for the upcoming phase-out of inefficient incandescent light bulbs? Starting next January, 100-watt incandescent bulbs (the traditional ones that have been found under every lamp shade for the last century) will no longer be sold in the United States. Bans on lower-wattage incandescents will follow.

In place of these bulbs, you’ll be able to buy compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs. CFLs use about one-quarter of the energy of a given incandescent bulb, while giving out approximately the same amount of light.

A CFL light bulb

Switching to CFLs will mean much lower lighting expenditures than before – you’ll spend just a quarter on lighting for every dollar you spent before. You’ll also save on maintenance, since CFLs last longer than incandescents and won’t need to be replaced as frequently.

But we at the Network have gotten lots of questions about CFLs. How can our members overcome their higher upfront costs? How should we deal with the bulbs, which contain very small amounts of mercury, that break on-site? What if the CFL doesn’t give off the same cast of light as the bulb it’s replacing?

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be addressing these questions in a series of short posts on this blog. Look for our posts, and let us know if you have a question related to lighting in multi-family affordable housing.


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