Advantages of Using Fluorescent Lights
Compact fluorescent lights and other fluorescent light bulbs are an extremely energy-efficient lighting option. CFLs arethree to five times more energy efficient than incandescent light bulbs.1
All fluorescent lights require some amount of mercury to be able to function. However, using high efficiency fluorescent lamps to replace incandescent lamps or older fluorescent lamps saves energy and actually results in a net reduction in mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.2 The recycling and disposal of fluorescent lamps, particularly from non-household sources, further increases the net mercury benefits of fluorescent lights.
The lamp industry has made significant changes in mercury-containing lamps since the 1990s.3 The average mercury-containing lamp manufactured in 1990 contained 43 mg of mercury. In 2003 that level was 11.4 mg of mercury. Increased lamp life also leads to mercury reduction. Lamps are now available with a 20 to 50 percent increase in lamp life compared with products available in 1990. In addition, increasing use of longer life lamps has helped to decrease total mercury use by lamp manufacturers.
Increases in lighting efficiency result in lower emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. For example, as cited by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association3, the 150 million T8 lamps and electronic ballasts that have now replaced the older style T12 lamps save annually:
Similarly, the compact fluorescent lamps now being used to fill 150 million “incandescent sockets” save annually:
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N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach • Mailing Address: 1639 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1639