Personal enlightenment

CN&R Editor shares his shining moment

It took a CFL sale for me to finally see the light. As the editor of the paper with GreenWays, I have known about compact fluorescent light bulbs for a while. As a new homeowner, I didn’t feel a replacement rush—my wife and I bought from a retired couple who’d been diligent about upkeep, so we hadn’t had a bulb blow in eight months.

But while waiting in the pharmacy line at Rite-Aid, I saw an offer I couldn’t refuse: CFL four-packs at $2.99 (20 watts) and $3.99 (23 watts). For a buck a bulb, I could get soft-white lights equivalent to 75- and 100-watt incandescents. I snapped up eight boxes of the cute, curly things.

The prices are so low because PG&E offsets some of the expense—a pleasant sort of irony, considering the power utility sells me less power now that I have energy-saving lights.

I learned that the fixtures attached to dimmer switches require different (i.e. more expensive) bulbs, and I’ll have to check a home-improvement merchandiser for CFLs that’ll work with our small-bulb lighting. Still, I’ve replaced about two-thirds of the lights in the house, which will slice a portion of our electric bill, and I have plenty of Edison bulbs with life in them. Who knows, in a couple years, I might make a fortune on the black market …