I would have to guesstimate the day I screwed in my first compact fluorescent light bulb in my modestly small bedroom. It was definitely more than six months ago. Perhaps it was even eight months ago? Or over a year ago? I honestly cannot remember when I screwed in that light bulb. And with it being my first CFL, I actually began to marvel at it when I looked up at it recently and it still burnt as bright and produced less heat as the day I installed it. It was nothing astoundingly life-changing, and certainly something that can be taken for granted (and may even seem underwhelming) after the first flicker of the switch.
My ceiling light is one of those pretentious ones with three sockets. I once occupied all three sockets with regular incandescent light bulbs, only to find the result repulsively undesirable. Not only did my room heat up much more considerably, especially during a hot and humid day, but I could see my electricity bill clearly increase when I checked my monthly bill under that holy trinity of light on my ceiling.
Lest I wanted the top of my head completely seared off, I decided to remove two bulbs from the light, dimming my room immensely. That was until the light blew out a few months later, which was the average lifespan for these round bulbs in regular use. I dug through the cabinet and found that someone in the household had bought some oddly swirl-shaped light bulbs. They were labeled compact fluorescent and according to the packaging were energy-efficient and lit just as bright and last much longer than regular light bulbs. So I ripped open the packaging and screwed in one of these new swirly bulbs. My initial impression upon switching on the light was a bit underwhelming. For some reason, I had the fanciful expectation that some kind of epiphany would occur and change my life forever. And as I stood there looking at the funny-looking thing, I had no clue that this single light bulb would be there for as long as I could remember ever screwing it in.
With so much dependence placed on lighting, especially with it being approximately 20% of the average household’s energy bill, concerns of costly electricity and environmentally harmful CO2 emissions from regular incandescent lights are some of the undesirable things that come with convenience and necessity. However, lighting has come a long way since the invention of the light bulb. The choices we have now in the lighting we purchase are aplenty; however, when you read closely the difference between the lines of diverse light bulbs at your local store, you will see that lighting has changed for the better.
And now that the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires all light bulbs use 30% less energy than today’s incandescent bulbs by 2012 to 2014, CFLs will be an important source for energy-efficient lighting in the coming years. From my personal experience (and near epiphany) with a single CFL bulb, and if the thing ever burns out, I won’t ever go back to those ancient incandescents.