Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Last year, conversations started in Wal-Mart around the potential of swirls to save customers money on utility bills. "Somebody asked, 'What difference would it make if we changed the bulbs in the ceiling-fan display to CFLs?'" says Kerby. A typical Wal-Mart has 10 models of ceiling fans on display, each with four bulbs. Forty bulbs per store, 3,230 stores.

"Someone went off and did the math," says Kerby. "They told me we could save $6 million in electric bills by changing the incandescents to CFLs in more than 3,000 Wal-Marts. I couldn't believe it. I didn't know I was paying $6 million to light those fixtures. I said, that can't be right, go back and do the math again." The numbers came out the same the second time: savings of $6 million a year...

I mentioned compact-fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) a while back. Here's an informative, rah-rah article about them. :^)


Bike Bubba said...

One thing I've noticed about CF bulbs is that the "rated" output always seems to exceed the actual output by about 30-50%. I still have about 20 of them in my home, but the reality is that you need a 100W equivalent CF bulb to replace a 60W incandescent, so the savings is really about 65%, not 75%.

(they need to rate output in lumens, not "wattage equivalent," I'm afraid)

They also don't last very well without adequate heat sinking--this is especially problematic in "inverted" or enclosed situations. 5000 hours is true for some applications, but I'd guess 2000-3000 hours is more typical for spotlights and enclosed bulbs.

Marklark said...

I think that I've seen some of the packaging comparing lumens, but you're generally right.

I've noticed that our 3-way bulbs (30-70-100) take a bit of time to warm up and don't come in the brighter versions, e.g. 50-100-150. :^/

The Wal-mart that we go to is behaving as described by the article.

One other thing that is interesting is that the other box stores (Lowes, HomeDepot) all carry different package configurations -- presumably this is so that you can't directly compare price and get "the difference +10%." Bah.