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Fighting climate change with cold cathode compact fluorescents

Our trusted advisors Karl and George both have off-grid cabins, where every watt they can eke out of their solar panels makes the difference between reading by headlamp and being a bit more civilized.

So, naturally the weekend email thread was on the latest and greatest compact fluorescent (CF) technology, so-called cold-cathode bulbs. George was particularly excited about the bulb pictured here, a 5W 300 lumens (about 40W equivalent), available for a cool $10 each.

If you’re monitoring your electricity usage you probably already know what a big impact installing traditional CFs can have on your home electricity. These bulbs typically save about $40 per bulb over their four year life — a net value of about $30! How many products do you buy that actually build value?

Even if you are filthy rich, the environmental incentives are high. Changing a standard 75W bulb to a 20W compact fluorescent will save 500 lbs of coal and 1300 lbs of carbon.

The new CCF bulbs are even more efficient, typically boosting efficiency 4-7x over regular incandescents. George has installed these in his cabin and notes additional advantages:

  • Dimmability: the CCFs are dimmable, with no hum.
  • Size: CCFs fit in all fixtures, unlike some long or snow-cone CFs.
  • Longevity: CCFs last up to 25,000 hours.

The last one is particularly relevant for a busy consultant like George. Even if George makes it up to his cabin every weekend, the bulb will last for 96 years. Perhaps the manufacturer, Litetronics, should take a cue from the marketing team at Patek Phillipe.

You never really own a cold compact fluorescent by Litetronics…

…you just pass it on to the next generation

George, here’s hoping you outlast your latest light bulb purchase.

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