Sustainable Alterntives: Light Bulb Edition

I had some brief light bulb angst last night when the bulb in the lamp on my bedside table went out. It was at that moment that I also realized that the entire time I’ve been living in this apartment, my anguish over the poor quality of the overhead lighting in my room was actually pure non-attention to details: one of those bulbs had been out the whole time, too.

I went to (carefully!, lest noxious mercury-laden doom fumes be unleashed upon my room because of my butterfingers) install a shiny new CFLs bulb into the lamp, but unfortunately, the harp of the lamp was too short. I learned the term “harp” at the hardware store that day:

Since the CFL bulb’s coils are taller than a regular incandescent bulb, the bulb didn’t fit into the lamp. Similarly, the glass shade on my overhead light wouldn’t fit around the longer CFLs. In a fit of disgust, I almost decided to get rid of the lamp, but instead, I went to the hardware store the next day to see if there were other bulbs that I could get of a similar shape to an incandescent bulb. There weren’t any CFLs, but there were LEDs.


Regular incandescent on the left, LED in the middle, CFL on the right.

When I got home, I happily installed the new LED lights into my overhead lamp and transferred the remaining incandescent into my bedside table lamp to await a happier, more environmentally-friendly bulbed fate when that bulb burns out. Check out this lovely chart comparing regular incandescents, halogens, CFLs and LEDs.

By far, CFLs and LEDs use less energy and last longer despite their higher cost (the LEDs I purchased were about $17/bulb, not $45) and you can recycle them (unlike incandescents). These places accept CFLs for recycling and these places accept LEDs for recycling (via Earth911). PECO also provides discounts on these more efficient lighting options.


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