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Bright Ideas: Increase Efficiency and Reduce Pollution from Lighting Sources
Update: Department of Toxic Substances Control releases AB1109 Lighting Task Force Report
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) are seen as an environmentally friendly product compared to incandescent lamps. According to the Department of Energy, CFLs use approximately 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs to produce the same light output, yet can last up to 15 times longer.
Transitioning from incandescents to CFLs will reduce the net amount of mercury released into the environment because it reduces the amount of electricity used. Coal-fired plants supply more than half of the nation’s electricity and are the largest source of mercury emissions into the air, accounting for approximately 50 tons annually. By requiring more energy to operate, using incandescent bulbs are actually responsible for releasing more mercury into the environment than using CFL bulbs. However, some of this decrease in mercury emissions at power plants is offset by increased releases in dumpsters, garbage trucks, and landfills when spent fluorescent lamps are disposed of improperly. Therefore, it is essential for there to be a convenient recycling program in order to make CFLs truly a ‘greener’ product.
Lighting Background and the Problem of Pollution
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