The Green Office: Lightbulbs Create Cash

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According to Seth Godin, January is blogger’s month to talk about compact fluorescent light bulbs (also called CF bulbs).

Several months ago, after seeing Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” my husband and I decided to do something good for the planet…and our pocketbooks. We changed all the lightbulbs in our house to CF bulbs. (We also seriously started to recycle and compost, but I’ll leave that for another blog post.)

At first, we bought Sylvania bulbs, but their blue-ish light color and flicker made us crazy. Then we spotted GE Soft White CF bulbs, and we’ve been in heaven ever since. The light is warm and comfortable, and no flicker to be found. We found we could get a four-pack of bulbs at Target for around $12, or about half the price of our local grocery store for the same item.

Best of all, our electric bill has gone down 25 percent, just from replacing the bulbs. What does that mean in real life? $33 savings a month x 12 months = $396 a year. Say we live another 40 years: that’s $15,840 extra dollars! I can definitely find something to do with that kind of money!

But wait, there’s more! CFs last 10 times longer than regular light bulbs. So even though I buy them for $3 each, I’m going to have literally the same light bulbs 10 or 15 years from now. You don’t have to be Einstein to get the math of that.

Our electric utilities around here are powered mainly by coal and natural gas, so we’re also helping the environment by using less electricity. We’re so impressed with the money we’ve saved and the good we’re doing for the Earth by using CFs, that we’re now researching installing solar, wind and geothermal in our home and completely doing away with outside electricity and our oil-burning furnace.

Since I work from home, all these things impact my business. Besides lowering my cost of doing business, I’m helping to do my part in the bigger picture of life. “Social Responsibility” has become a link on the home page of almost every major corporation. When you’re a small business owner, you don’t have the same resources of the big guys, but you can do little things to help the Earth and help your Community. Do your part: change a lightbulb today.

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