Lighting Choices

Illuminating facts about fluorescent bulbs

When a California household changes one standard bulb for one compact fluorescent bulb, consumers:

  • Reduce electricity use by up to 616 kilowatt hours a year. That's enough energy to light all the households in Sacramento for 690 days-or almost two years!
  • Save $74.7 million a year on household electricity bills.
  • Reduce garbage by keeping up to 110 million (yes, 110 million) bulbs out of the trash. Each fluorescent bulb can last up to 10 times longer than an ordinary bulb, so think of all those bulbs that won't be thrown away.
  • Keep 974 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2)-the most common gas that creates global warming-out of the environment. That's 450 pounds of CO2 saved from the atmosphere with each fluorescent bulb. Greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, are produced by the power plants that light your home. If every California household changes just one bulb, the results collectively would be about the same as:
    • Removing 85,000 cars from California's roads for one year.
    • Filling 32.5 billion basketballs with CO2. Placed side by side, the basketballs would stretch for 4.6 million miles.

Other bright ideas

To get the biggest effect, change the bulbs in lights that you use the most, such as the kitchen ceiling lights, living room lamps, bathroom vanity, or porch light.

  • Keep your home cooler in the summer by using fluorescent lighting. A fluorescent bulb generates 70 percent less heat than a regular bulb.
  • Save $30 or more in energy costs over the life of each compact fluorescent bulb. What could your family buy with the extra cash?

Lighting accounts for 25 percent of an average home's electricity bill. Changing a single 75 watt light to a more energy efficient, 20-watt Energy Star bulb or fixture can save your family as much as $60 a year in energy costs. And when you cut your home energy use, you reduce pollution from power plants that make electricity. That's why replacing that bulb for a more efficient one can be as good for the environment as not driving your car for more than two weeks.

Typically, the five most used lights in a home are found in the kitchen ceiling, in living room table and floor lamps, in the bathroom, and outdoors on a porch or post. Learn more about ways you can save money while making your home brighter and more comfortable.