Updated October 21, 2009Switching from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) is pretty much a no-brainer if you want to save money and help reduce the amount of fossil fuel burned by NV Energy (formerly Sierra Pacific), our local purveyor of electricity and natural gas. Up front costs for buying CFLs continue to decline, which contributes even more to the long-term savings you will experience by replacing old light bulbs with this newer technology.
Start Saving ImmediatelyI recently purchased a package of four 13W CLFs (equivalent light output of 60W incandescent bulbs) for $2.99. The full price is over $7, with the difference being subsidized by NV Energy. According to information on the package, each bulb has an average life of 8,000 hours, yielding an energy cost savings to me of $180 when figured at 12 cents per kWh. NV Energy will not burn fuel that would have put many thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
CFL Recycling Around Reno / TahoeAs cool as CFLs are, they aren't perfect. They contain a small amount of mercury. According to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, it's about 5 mg per bulb, or about one-fifth of that found in the average watch battery and less than 1/100th of that found in an amalgam dental filling. Certainly not much, but definitely enough to make proper recycling of used bulbs a necessity. Even tiny abouts of mercury are bad news if ingested, making the cumulative effect of improper disposal a serious pollution problem.
Recycling CFLs around Reno / Tahoe is easy and free. NV Energy and Waste Management are cooperating to provide several locations throughout the area that will accept CFLs for recycling.