Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs—A Bright Idea

If you think you can't save money by using compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home, consider the facts. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one CFL will save about $30 in its lifetime and pays for itself in about six months.

CFLs last for about 8,000 hours, or seven years, based on typical use—that's 10 times longer than the life of an incandescent bulb. Plus, CFLs use 75% less energy than traditional light bulbs, which is good for your household energy bill and good for the environment.

You can further maximize the lifespan of CFLs by following these tips from the EPA:

  • Look for CFLs that are labeled as Energy Star approved. These are the only bulbs that meet the energy efficiency guidelines set up by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy. Visit to find qualifying products and retailers.
  • CFLs are most effective when left on for 15 minutes or more at a time. Use them in parts of the home where you typically spend longer periods of time.
  • Check labels before using CFLs on three-way sockets or dimmer switches. You can get more out of your bulbs by using CFLs that are specifically designed for these types of lighting.
  • Indoors, keep CFLs in open fixtures; outdoors, keep them in enclosed fixtures. This can prevent extreme temperatures or severe weather from reducing the life of your bulbs.

If the price tag on CFLs still makes you skeptical, remember that the extra financial investment now will result in major savings down the road. And since Harvard University Credit Union is also making an effort to go green, we're ready to make these changes right along with you.


Return Home