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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Environmental Education

Division for Air Quality

Join the ENERGY STAR Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR campaign.

This national call-to-action challenges all of us to replace one incandescent light with an ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent light (CFL).  This simple act can have a huge impact.  If every household in the United States replaced its next bulb or fixture with an ENERGY STAR model, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars!

CFLs reduce energy use because, unlike the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, they do not waste a lot of electricity generating heat.  CFLs are often cool to the touch after operating for long periods of time – or at least, are less hot than an incandescent would be.

What allows compact fluorescents to be so efficient?  Currently, a tiny amount of mercury – about as much as could fit on the head of a pin – is the piece of the puzzle that helps CFLs use about one-third less energy than a standard incandescent bulb.  While CFL manufacturers are working to completely eliminate mercury from the bulb’s design, the technology isn’t quite there yet. 

CFL disposal is also an issue of concern.  All Home Depot stores accept CFLs for recycling.  Here is more information about disposal, how to properly clean up a broken CFL in your home and other frequently asked questions.

If every household replaced its five most used lights, or the bulbs in them, with ones that have earned the ENERGY STAR label, together we would prevent more than 1 trillion pounds of greenhouse gases.

Check it out, take the pledge, change a light and save.