See Watt You Can Save! As individuals, it seems difficult to make a positive impact on our environment in a way that really makes a difference. However, as a community, our small individual efforts can add up. If we focus those efforts, we can make positive changes in our environment. In an endeavor to make a positive impact to decrease energy consumption, the Ramsey Environmental Commission has established the goal for each Ramsey household to replace at least one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb. The five most used spots in the house are a good place to start – the dinner table light, floor lamps in sitting areas, the kitchen lamp, the cooker hood lamp, and floor lamps in the dining area. Compact Fluorescents (CFLs) offer many benefits. According to the EPA, a CFL uses 2/3 less energy than a standard light bulb and can last up to ten times longer. Replacing a 60 watt incandescent with a 13 watt CFL can save $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. In addition, CFLs produce about 70% less heat than standard bulbs which reduces cooling costs during the summer months. If you didn’t like CFLs when they were first introduced, we invite you to try them again. We want people to know that CFLs have come a long way in the past few years; they now come in different sizes and shapes and produce a warm, inviting light. Choose the color temperature that is right for you. Warm White (approximately 2700K) looks like incandescent. Cool White (5000K) is more white/blue. New electronically ballasted CFLs don’t flicker or hum. CFLs do have their limitations. Not all CFLs can be used on dimmer switches or outdoors. Check the package label to make sure your bulb is suited for these applications. Many people are concerned when they hear that CFLs contain mercury vapor. After all, mercury is a toxic metal. However, compact fluorescents are actually responsible for less mercury contamination than incandescent bulbs which contain no mercury. This is because the highest source of mercury in the United States comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal. In the long run, a coal burning power plant will emit four times more mercury to produce the electricity for a standard bulb than for a compact fluorescent. The key is for people to dispose of the bulbs correctly. Do not throw away CFLs in your household garbage. Place spent CFLs in a sealed plastic bag. Turn them in with other household hazardous waste during collection events in your community. If you break a CFL, sweep up all of the glass fragments and small particles (DO NOT VACUUM). Place broken pieces in a sealed plastic bag and wipe the area with a damp paper towel. Also put the towel in the bag. If each Ramsey household replaces a standard bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, we will have reduced carbon emissions equivalent to 44 cars not driven for a year. See WATT you can save, both in your wallet and for the environment!