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Energy tip #1: don’t be a dim bulb

Compact fluorescentIntroducing a new series of conservation tips: How To Finance Your Monthly Coffee Or Yearly TerraPass (HTFYMCOYT).

I’ve been spending a good portion of the budget lately on coffee. Every morning at 8:30, $1.65 goes into the barista’s outstretched palm. Now, I happen to think the coffee is worth it, but I thought I’d do some quick math on what I spend each month. Dang. Twenty days of a small house blend — plus the occasional maple scone when my stomach is growling — means my monthly outlay comes to a cool $50. Amazingly, and only slightly coincidentally, this happens to be price of a Standard TerraPass. How does one finance these purchases?

Tip #1: Use compact flourescent light bulbs (CFLs).

Lighting accounts for 11% of of the average household’s energy bill. Installing CFLs or other new lighting technologies can save between 50-75% on lighting costs. So, breaking down the math….

Average monthly home energy bill: $100
Typical lighting costs per month: $11
Savings/month with new CFLs: $5.50-8.25
Savings/year: $66-99

Of course, it costs money to replace bulbs. However, according to the EnergyStar web site, the difference can be as little as $3 more per bulb. Moreover, their spreadsheet claims that one compact flourescent bulb, including cost, will save you $14 per year and $50 over the lifetime of the bulb.

So there you have it. Commit to replacing one conventional lightbulb with a CFL and you will have put in place the mechanism for financing a TerraPass, or a month’s worth of your morning brew.

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