Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CFLs use at least 2/3 less energy than standard incandescent bulbs to provide the same amount of light. Even though they're initially more expensive than a standard bulb, CFLs will save you $30 or more in energy costs over each bulb's lifetime. If every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent, it would prevent enough pollution to equal removing one million cars from the road.
Another terrific benefit? CFLs save time. Because they last ten times as long as an incandescent, you can literally put them in and forget about them. Some consumers quibble with the millisecond delay it takes for a CFL to light after it's been turned on (a function of its energy-saving technology). On the other hand, the different lighting hues many CFLs now offer, such as day light, soft white, and outdoor, increase their use in many situations.
CFLs are available at in-store at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. Lowes sells Sylvania and Bright Effects compact fluorescents in-store and on-line. Home Depot offers N:Vision bulbs, in a helpful package that shows you everything you need to know to choose the right bulb for your needs, such as what lighting application it's best for and how much money you'll save during the life of the bulb. Your local hardware store probably carries General Electric, Osram, Philips, or Good Earth compact fluorescents.
Whichever brand you buy, make sure it carries the Energy Star seal of approval. Many brands of CFLs are available. The biggest money savers – and those that are best for the earth – meet the EPA's standards for energy efficiency.
You can find more information by visiting Lighting.