Inventors began working on an alternative source for light at the beginning of the 1800’s. It wouldn’t be till the latter half of the 1800’s that the light bulb would be reliable enough for commercial production and use. There were over 22 inventors that were involved in the early history of the light bulb with Thomas Edison receiving a large share of the credit for making the first stable bulb. What is even more surprising is that around the same time an inventor by the name of Peter Cooper Hewitt created a bulb that was similar to the modern energy efficient light’s. The Cooper Hewitt lamp is considered a predecessor to the modern compact fluorescent light(CFL), even though his was only used in photographic studios.

In 1976 a modern version of the CFL was created at General Electric in response to the 1973 oil crisis. Created by engineer Edwared E. Hammer, the light met all the goals set by G.E., but would have cost the company 25 million dollars in new facilities and equipment to produce the bulbs. The design for the light would eventually leak and begun to be manufactured in China. This would lead to the spiral compact fluorescent light becoming more affordable for consumers around 1995. Since then there has been a growing movement for the energy efficient bulbs.

CFLs have several advantages over a traditional incandescent light bulb. The CFLs have an average life span that is eight to fifteen times longer than a traditional incandescent. To put that into numbers a CFL can run for approximately 6,000 to 15,000 hours compared to incandescent bulbs that last for 750 to 1,000 hours. The brightness of a CFL decreases over it’s life. It can be decreased by constantly turning it on and off, or by natural use over a long period of time. With natural usage the brightness of a CFL will be reduced by 20 to 30 percent over course of it’s life.

The other important aspect of Compact Fluorescent Light’s is the energy efficiency. With more and more people becoming aware of the green movement. The savings by switching to CFLs can be substantial. CFLs use approximately 20 to 33 percent of the light of a normal light bulb. And with the growing usage of CFLs in America it is estimated that they could save seven percent of the total electricity usage by houses.

There are many other many other areas that CFLs can save money. One example is the heat that is produced by incandescent lights in a building Incandescent lights produce heat, as opposed to CFLs which produce minimal heat, and if they are replaced with CFLs it can reduce the strain on the cooling system in the building. Thus resulting in two forms of savings on the electricity bill.

Although it may cost more to purchase CFLs for a home or office, the savings over the course of the light will make up for the investment. It is estimated that a 90 dollar investment of CFLs will result in savings that range from 440 dollars to 1,500 dollars over the average five year life span of the bulb.

It is important to remember to properly dispose of all compact fluorescent bulbs. CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury and care needs to be taken when disposing of them. Most of the pieces of the bulbs can be reused if properly recycled. The glass tubing can be made into new glass tubing, the brass and aluminum in the end caps can be re-used, and the mercury can be reclaimed and put into new bulbs. In many states it is illegal to dispose of CFLs in normal trash receptacles. In response to this many stores that offer CFLs also offer a program to encourage consumers to bring them back to be recycled.

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs have been an excellent improvement to light bulbs in response to the growing green movement. In response to the increased costs, many electric companies have begun to offer the bulbs at a lower cost during certain times of the year, or even giving them away for free. They are an excellent way to save money and reduce electric bills, as well as have a positive impact on the environment.