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Just a few months ago Germany became the first nation in the European Union to phase out incandescent bulbs. The initiative was taken as a part of a commitment for the cause of the environment. If a nation takes this step, there indeed would be benefits of using the compact fluorescent light bulbs or CFLs as they are popularly known. Let's enumerate those benefits:
1. Long shelf life: The first benefit of the CFLs is their longevity, i.e. they last eight to ten times longer than normal bulbs. The comparative luminosity, for example, of a 25 watt CFL is 1800 lumens, while a 100-watt incandescent bulb would be needed to provide comparable luminosity. A CFL also does not get heated up in providing that 1800 lumens, while the external surface of an incandescent bulb really becomes hot.
2. Spoilt for choice: CFLs come in different kind of shapes and provide a soft white light that does not flicker. Most popular CFLs are those that are twisted in shape. For reading you can consider using a three-way CFL, as it provides the perfectly stimulating ambience. In bathroom fixtures, you can consider going for globe style CFLs.
3. Saves money: CFLs are cheap on the pocket if you set aside the initial cost of the bulb, which is much more than the incandescent bulb. A 20-watt CFL would save you about $60 during the lifetime of the bulb based on consumption of $.12 KWH. If you replace a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 25 watt CFL you would save more than $75 and you can indulge yourself with this saving. The stumbling block in popularizing usage of CFLs is the initial cost to buy them. The way out could be provided by the electricity supply companies in subsidizing the initial cost though installment payments recoverable through monthly electricity bills, and this could help in spreading the usage of CFLs in a big way.
4. Helps in saving the environment: When you replace an incandescent bulb with a CFL it reduces carbon monoxide emission to the environment by about 1000 pounds. If the incandescent bulbs are phased out in batches the amount of electricity saved can also lead to cuts in the energy levels for the government and the funds can be usefully utilized for other purposes. Incidentally, the country spends more than one-quarter of it is electricity budget on lighting; imagine the savings on budgetary provisions that can be utilized for some other purposes.
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CFLs can indeed become efficient if the following is factored in its usage:
1. They should not be used in the place where lighting is to be used for a very limited duration like in closets and here incandescent bulbs can be considered. It is owing to the fact that frequent on/off cycling affects CFLs, and as a result their life span of 10000 hours gets affected.
2. CFLs should not be used in dimmer switches as it affects the life span of the CFLs.
3. If the CFLs are to be used with a timer, it is imperative that timer package or manufacturer be consulted before using CFL with a timer as incompatible timer can shorten the life span of the CFLs.
4. CFLs should not be deployed for outdoor usage, if they have to be, then they should be protected or shaded from the external environment. During the nights the outdoor temperatures are less as compared to those inside the rooms, so it can have effect on the longevity of the CFLs. Better would be to check the package and find out whether it can perform in the outdoor conditions as efficiently, before installing them outdoors.
5. CFLs should not be used as source of lighting in retail areas as they do not provide a focused environment but have a defused ambience. CFLs therefore are better used if deployed in area lighting.