The Green Adventure

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Challenge #2! Start with Conservation

OK everyone, now that I have your attention regarding how important it is that we all start to understand the issue of global warming and look into renewable and sustainable solutions for our children and grandchildren, let's get started with some specific, do-able challenges. (Don't forget this is a "realilty blog!" Let's get back to the excitement of the challenges, players!)

Welcome to Challenge #2!

In order to make renewable power most cost effective, we must start with energy conservation. So, challenge #2 begins our quest for conservation!

I feel that it is also important to focus on the changes in our lives that will make the greatest impact, and will be possible for most of you to accomplish reasonably quickly and easily. Afterall, change can be difficult and we are all very busy people. So, the idea is to make our conversion to sustainable living simple and lasting. (No yo-yo sustainable living diets here. I'm looking for real change here everyone! I don't want that 1 piece of birthday cake, or 2 overseas flights in my case ;), to blow the whole transformation.) So, on with the show...

Challenge #2 is effective and easy. Plus, over time it can save you some big-time $$ green! (The other big goal of this adventure.) OK, OK what is it???!!!

Replace all of your light bulbs with compact flourescent lights (CFL.)
Accept this challenge and you will add 20 points to your score! (BTW, the winner of Challenge #1 gets 100 pts, 50 for 2nd place and 20 for 3rd, just FYI.) As an added bonus, if you can convince your employer to replace all of the lighting at your office with CFLs, you'll get 30 bonus points!

(Email me if you want to get in on the game spreadsheet to keep track of your points.)

Here are the other bonuses that you will get for meeting this challenge...

Each 18-watt CFL that you buy to replace a 75-watt incandescent bulb:
  • will give you an equivalent amount of illumination
  • saves over 1300 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere
  • will last 10x as long (in other words 1 18-watt CFL will replace 10 75-watt incandescents)
  • will pay for itself in 2-3 years depending upon usage
  • will save you $45 in electricity costs over its lifetime

So head out to your local store or log on to your local internet store (for those of you who are on bedrest, are breastfeeding all day, live in remote locales, or just hate shopping!) and change those light bulbs. Some available brands to look for are GE, Panasonic, Osram, Sylvania, Philips, Max Lite or Sun Park. Also, call your local utility, they may have rebate programs to save you a little more money for participating in this challenge!

Tips to be an even "greener" user of lighting:

  • Turn off lights when you leave the room (and bug your family to death to get them to do the same.)
  • Put timers or motion sensors on your indoor and outdoor lights.
  • Use dimmers.
  • Let the sun shine in through your windows (be aware of temperature effects.)
  • Consider adding or cleaning your skylights (consider paring with a splayed lightwell for less heat.)
  • Use light pipes and/ or clerestories in any new or remodeled room.

Now that you know all of the benefits of CFLs. Ready, set, go!

PS I have not forgotten about posting ideas re: solar installation and advocacy for renewable energy, I'm just trying to be complete in my research. So, I wanted to get you started with Challenge #2 in the meantime... as always, Enjoy the Green Adventure!


Brower, M and Leon, W. 1999. The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Three Rivers Press: New York. (

Callard, S and Millis, D. 2001. Green Living: A Practical Guide to Eating, Gardening, Energy Saving and Housekeeping for a Healthy Planet. Carlton Books Ltd: London.

Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine 2005. Green Living: The E Magazine Handbook for Living Lightly on the Earth Plume:New York. (

Herman, C. Designing with daylight in Home Power: The Hands on Journal of Home-Made Power. v. 109, Oct/ Nov 2005 (


  • I like this one -
    I'll do this - Is there any good place to get flourescent light bulbs in bulk. I think I need about 20 for the entire house, including all the ceiling fan fixtures.

    By Blogger rubbin, at 9:51 AM  

  • We have CFLs in almost every possible fixture, including a couple of lights in the barn (I need two more in there, I think). We don't have any in the "decorative" fixtures that take odd-size bulbs, or in the heat lamp that I need to keep my baby chicks warm until they grow up a little more. Any info on CFLs for decorative fixtures? We have two that use small round bulbs, and one that uses those skinny, "candle-flame" shaped bulbs.

    By Blogger Caroline, at 3:35 PM  

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