Sunday, November 26, 2006

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: Greatest Innovation of Our Time?

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), in my humble opinion, may prove to be one of the greatest innovations of our time. Okay, I know what you're saying, the light bulb has been around for ages, and there have been hundreds, perhaps thousands of amazing inventions over the past couple of decades. But hear me out!

Here are some of my reasons as to why I praise these bulbs so highly:

1. CFLs last at least four times as long as incandescent bulbs. This means fewer trips to the store to buy them, and fewer bulbs to purchase (in spite of the higher price of CFLs) making it more convenient and economical for everyone involved.

2. According to Energy Star, CFLs use about 2/3 less energy than incandescents use. With the world's growing problems in dealing with energy consumption and global warming, any significant reduction in energy usage helps solve (or at least ease) both of these frightening problems.

3. Energy Star also claims that each bulb can save over $30 in energy costs over its lifetime (not including the cost saved of not having to buy new bulbs more frequently). Not one person will ever complain about having to save money, making it much easier for this product to be adopted more widely.

4. Virtually every building has a need for light bulbs. It makes economic sense for each home, office, hospital, dormitory, or other facility to replace as many bulbs as they can.

5. It is an extremely simple way for people to feel like they're making a difference in the world. Many people unfortunately could care less about preserving the planet, but if getting new CFL bulbs is a start for these people, then so be it.

6. Though CFL bulbs have small amounts of mercury, recycling facilities are likely to become more available; what's more, the mercury produced by the bulbs is significantly less than that of which would be produced by burning more coal to power incandescent bulbs. Over time, mercury emissions from CFL bulbs will be less of a problem than emissions caused by incandescents.

7. Ultimately, this innovation may lead to more similar innovations if people show their willingness to adapt. If CFLs become a hot item, more companies will look to innovate and improve on current technology in order to reap potential profits.

So, in conclusion, it's easy to see that CFLs are a simple, cost effective, and environmentally friendly way of improving lives on an everyday basis for the masses. How many other recent innovations can claim that?

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