Last month Australia announced plans to ban incandescent light bulbs and replace them with compact fluorescents, a more energy efficient light bulb.
The country's environment minister said the move could cut the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 4 million tons by 2012. The decision will make Australia the first country to ban the light bulbs, although the idea has also been proposed in California.
Australian environmental minister Malcom Turnbull pointed out that a global move to switch from incandescent light bulbs to fluorescents could reduce worldwide energy consumption by an amount equal to Australia's annual consumption of electricity.
It's no secret that incandescent light bulbs use more energy than fluorescents. Incandescent bulbs create heat that is dispersed when the light is on. Incandescent bulbs last anywhere from 40 to 100 hours based on wattage, type, location, etc.
Compact fluorescents use between 20 and 25 percent of the energy to create the same amount of light and last upwards of nine years. For all who hate climbing on stools and ladders to change light bulbs several times a year, that alone might be an inducement.
Compact fluorescent bulbs used to be much more costly than they are today and while they are not bulb for bulb competitively priced with incandescent bulbs, factoring in the longer life, they become competitively priced. Beyond reduced pricing for compact fluorescent bulbs, the state of Vermont has excellent incentive programs and rebates to help consumers make the switch.
Green Mountain Power, provider of electricity to the majority of the Mad River Valley, had a 10 percent rate increase in January 2007. That increase could be offset -- and more -- by a switch from incandescent bulbs to fluorescents.
Households use electricity for many things -- computers, washers, dryers, televisions, refrigerators, hot water heaters and more. A switch to compact fluorescents won't take all the sting out of the electricity bill, but it can surely help. There's no reason not to switch.