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Fun Facts About Free CFL Bulbs

Updated on November 29, 2010

Fun Facts About Free CFL Bulbs

Threatening to supplant traditional incandescent light bulbs, Compact Florescent Lamps (CFL) have reached mainstream America. Every Home Depot, Lowe's, and corner hardware store stocks a plentiful supply of the high-tech bulbs. These amazing gizmos use much less energy to produce equivalent amounts of luminance. They 'burn' cooler, last longer, and generate a whiter light than the glowing filaments devised by Thomas Edison. They come in numerous styles, with tubular configurations being popular in Europe and spiral styles drawing raves in North America.

Los Angeles Offers Free CFLs

The city of Los Angeles recently announced a program to award 1.2 million households with 2 CFLs each. City officials estimated an annual savings of 240 gigawatt-hours of electricity. By comparison a single 100 watt incandescent light bulb uses 100 watts of electricity per hour of use. An equivalent CFL unit produces an equivalent amount of light while consuming only 30% as much energy. CFLs also operate at a significantly lower temperature, thus reducing the load on air conditioning systems.

Free CFLs from Green Light

Green Light South Carolina offers free CFLs to middle and low income families residing in the state. Their stated goal is to reduce global warming and climate change; volunteers distribute the bulbs throughout the Palmetto State. This program gratefully accepts donations. They calculate that every $100,000 donation will save $2,000,000 in electricity. Significant donations have been made by Wal Mart, The Sierra Club, and Blue Ridge Electric. Organizers hope to install 200,000 CFL bulbs in upstate South Carolina and eventually spread the program to additional areas.

Free CFLs in New Orleans

Green Light New Orleans sells CFL bulbs and uses the proceeds to purchase additional free bulbs for low income households. They offer personalized in-home consultations to help residents better understand the benefits and applications of CFC technology. Their volunteer program fourishes 6 days a week (Monday through Saturday) and volunteers may sign up for full or half-day assignments. Transplanted Swiss musician Andi Hoffmann initiated the program in 2006 as a way to address the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina and the flooding due to breached levies.

Courtesy jscreationzs at
Courtesy jscreationzs at

Free CFLs from Chelan County, Washington

Chelan County, Washington, offers a program that encourages residents to apply for as many as 20 CFL bulbs to use in their homes. The first round of giveaways resulted in over 11,000 bulbs finding new homes and many more bulbs promised in the form of rain-checks. Customers were encouraged to request only as many bulbs as they had an immediate need for, but applications for up to 20 bulbs per household were processed. Applicants received 13 watt CFLs, which provide as much luminance as 75 watt incandescent bulbs. Washington legislators passed the Energy Independence Act in 2006; significant in the bill is conservation language that directs some power companies to implement conservation programs.

Free CFLs in Michigan

The city of The City of East Lansing, Michigan, offered free CFls to residents through Delta Township and the Eaton County Department of Resource Recovery. This program derived from a Michigan Public Service Commission grant to encourage energy conservation and was coordinated with an Earth Day Celebration. Education and free recycling were also provided. Approximately 12,000 energy efficient bulbs were distributed to residents who stopped by the Department of Public Works (DPW) office and simply requested them.


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    • The Old Firm profile image

      The Old Firm 8 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      No, I'm doing my best to save money. The government, like any other, is doing it's best to stuff it up! (I bought those CFL bulbs at four times the cost of ordinary ones, they weren't supplied by some benevolent institution.)

      I am grateful for the security lights, but I'm much more thankful that the ratbags who were housed behind me were moved to another neighbourhood.

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 8 years ago

      New Zealand is certainly doing it's best to help its population be energy efficient.

    • The Old Firm profile image

      The Old Firm 8 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      In my small home I replaced all but one of my lights with CFL bulbs, (it was a back door one I never use) They use about18% of the power of Edison style bulbs for the same candlepower, as a bit of interpolation of the above figures should show.

      This was done about four years ago. Two of the 17 blew in a rather short time,the others are still going strong. All but one have very little warm-up time. (The quoted life expectancy for these bulbs is in excess of five years.)

      My own opinion of the clamour over mercury and tales of them causing cancer is that it's so much hogwash having (dare I say it?) probable origins with the utility companies.

      As an aside in exercises of stupidity, my landlord, the New Zealand government, who are incessantly sending me pamphlets on energy saving ploys very recently replaced my three outside lights with motion detecting security lights, and in the process upped my usage from a total of 41 watts on three seldom used bulbs to 900watts, - 6 floods, - which blaze on at the drop of a cat.

      They also replaced my smoke detectors with wired ones that automatically turn off my electric oven if activated. What a pity that I cook with gas for economy reasons, and because I prefer to.



    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 8 years ago

      Enjoyed the hub and the discussion points out the weaknesses mainly mercury and it's disposal. they definitely are more efficient but I agree some of them seem to run out way ahead of schedule. The free aspect is good for low income earners - I wonder if they have planned the recycling in thereto? We have changed tour standards out where we could and are pleased with the change.

    • dabeaner profile image

      dabeaner 8 years ago from Nibiru

      Nicomp -- My comments below are not necessarily addressed to you. I know many Hubs may or may not reflect personal opinion.

      I know that CFLs are one of the things that are supposed to "save the environment". But what the greenies always ignore are the TOTAL costs of their pet projects, not to mention the operating problems...

      Briefly, mercury pollution and the cost in YOUR time and gasoline if you recycle safely as a good greenie-weenie should. The consumption of of energy and resources to accomplish the "safe" disposal by the recyclers.

      The lives of the bulbs are not as advertised, especially if you turn them on and off like you would incandescents. Their brightness fades with time, so you may chuck them early (as I have done). They create RFI which gets worse as they start flickering due to the ballasts giving out.

      More at:


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