The GreenYour Blog

Jan 11, 2010

Not a bright idea

Not a bright idea

To be more specific, dimming incandescent light bulbs (the old fashinined round ones that scorch your fingers when you unscrew them) will help a bit, but not as much as you'd think. That's because the ratio of wattage to lumen (energy to light output) is not 1:1.  Incandescents are highly inefficient - with 80% of the wattage going to heat the light bulb rather than give off light - so when you dim one, you're not cutting the energy by nearly as much as you're cutting the light output. ( For example, if you dim it by 50%, you'll only be cutting wattage by about 30%.)

A better route: buy dimmable CFLs (the package needs to specifically state that they are dimmable, else they're not).  Also be sure your dimmer is the newer model as the older resistor style can not accomodate CFLs.   If you are not able to go that route but want low light, opt for as low a wattage incandescent as you can find.  Better still - light a candle.



Just make sure your candle is made from beeswax, soy, or some other non-fossil fuel- based material! Most candles are made from paraffin, which is made from petroleum. Burning fossil fuel products adds to global warming because it releases carbon that's been buried for hundreds of millions of years. Burning non-fossil fuel materials is usually neutral to global warming, since you are releasing carbon that was in the atmosphere within the last few years or decades. Thanks for the great tips! You can find more on my blog,

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