CFLs light up a green life 12.19

Written by David Green.

Some people love ‘em. Others hate ‘em. Either way, you’re likely to see a whole more of the twisty CFL light bulbs.

The compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) is making its way into more and more light sockets around the world as many citizens are ready to make the switch in an effort to cut energy use.

CFLs are expected to last much longer and use less than a third the energy of the traditional incandescent bulb.

CFLs are also much costlier for the initial cash outlay, and that seems to be a problem for many buyers.

Dale Pfund, owner of D&R Hardware in Fayette, thinks that’s the reason sales haven’t blossomed at his store.

Take the CFL floodlights, for instance. The traditional bulb sells for $4.99 and typically lasts about six months before burning out. The CFL version sells for $14.99 and is expected to last for four years.

The savings is obvious, but so is the price tag.

“How do I convince the consumer of savings?” he says. “Will people spend the extra money to save? That price is the sticking point.”

He’s ordered a new CFL display unit from GE that will arrive in January and he’s hoping that will make a difference in sales.

Yellow porch lights, industrial lights for the barn, three-way lamps—the CFL options continue to grow.

Gail Johnson at Johnson Hardware in Morenci reports better success in moving CFLs out the door.

“About a year ago we started replacing regular bulbs on the shelf with the new ones and they’re a hot item,” she said. “People are really starting to buy them.”

She has plenty of satisfied customers, although she’s heard of problems with CFLs not fitting due to light fixtures that are too small to handle the new bulbs. This has particularly been a problem with three-way bulbs.

Johnson, herself, hasn’t quite adjusted to the light from a CFL at home, and some buyers think the light isn’t bright enough. Larry Fox isn’t among that crowd.

“I put them in every place that they’ll fit,” he said. “I think they give off just as much light and I think the light is softer on the eyes. I’m sold on them. I think they’re great and my likes them, too.”

Some studies have detected a male/female divide in CFL acceptance, with females reporting more dissatisfaction with the new lights. Nancy Simpkins takes exception to that.

“They’re brighter than they were at first and I love them,” she said. “A year ago I started putting them throughout the house and I haven’t had to replace one yet.”

She appreciates the opportunity to participate in a “greener” lifestyle.

“Anything we can do that’s that simple, I think everyone should do.”

Pfund was told at a trade show that CFLs are the coming thing and that incandescent bulbs won’t even be available in a few years.

That’s soon to be the case in Australia where incandescents will be phased out by 2010.

Earlier this month, Ireland topped that by announcing the end of incandescent sales in that country by the end of 2008.

The energy environment minister was quoted as saying, “These bulbs use technology invented during the age of the steam engine.”

Nancy Simpkins would agree. For anyone grumbling about the new CFLs, she says to consider this: “They’re much better than lantern light.”

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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