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At Joulebug, we believe that you can have light and save energy too, by switching to modern Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL).  Here’s why CFLs are superior to the old incandescent “Edison” bulbs:  they use about ¼ the energy, and last several times longer. So you’ll still be saving with a CFL long past the extinction of their Edison counterparts.

Picking out a CFL

I tried those CFLs, and they make my room look like a hospital”. True in the early days, but now there are CFLs available in a wide range of colors and brightness levels to mimic (very well) the incandescent bulb.  Check this video for more guidance.  Give it another try, you might find yourself surprised with the results.

When picking out a CFL, look on the packaging for the “incandescent equivalent”. For example, a 14 Watt CFL produces the same amount of light (measured in lumens) as a 60 Watt incandescent.  Less wattage means more energy savings for you!

The CFLs have come down greatly in cost recently, to under $0.80 per bulb in multipacks.  At these prices, the energy savings will pay for the bulb’s cost in just over a month…after that, it’s money in your pocket.  So resist the impulse to go with the cheapest option up front…the energy savings over time will be more than worth it!

Other Important Information

No technology is perfect.  Since education is one of our goals, I hope that this may clear up some of your questions about CFLs.

Dimmers – CFLs will work with dimmers, but any old CFL won’t do.  Look on the packaging to make sure that the bulb is “dimmable”.

Mercury – CFLs do contain tiny amounts of mercury that is released only if the bulb is broken.   However, the amount is not dangerous as long as proper safety procedures are followed. Please read the Energy Star factsheet for more information.

Recycling – CFL bulbs cannot be tossed into the trash, but instead should be recycled.  Home Depot has one of the largest CFL recycling programs in the US. You can also check for local recycling centers near you.

Frequent On/Off – Rapid on/off cycling shortens the life of the bulbs. If you are going to leave the room for more than 15 minutes, turn the lights off.

There are many myths circulating the internet about CFLs.  We’d be happy to address any concerns you have here at

For most people, CFLs can be a great option for saving energy and money.  So what are you waiting for?  Start earning your “Light Saver” badge today, and you’ll be seeing lower energy bills in no time!