You’ve probably heard about these newfangled CFL bulbs, or maybe you’ve even seen them on store shelves. Basically, they’re just fluorescent lights compacted into a convenient bulbous shape. They’re supposed to replace the 19th-century incandescent bulbs that we plug into our lamps, walls, and ceilings. According to the above website (if you trust Wal-Mart), CFL bulbs

  • Use up to 75% less energy,
  • Last up to 12 times longer,
  • Stay cooler,
  • Have the same quality of light.

Unfortunately, the last bullet point is a lie. Let me explain.

I was standing in the checkout line at Wal-Mart when I remembered that I needed to pick up a light bulb for one of the wall lamps in my room. Conveniently enough, the only bulbs there were CFL bulbs. I thought, what the hey. Let’s try saving Al Gore’s planet.

Now, whenever I turn the lamp on, there’s a momentary delay, followed by the dim emission of a pale blue light. One of my roommates remarked that it looks like a UFO has landed in my room. I think it lights the room the way a TV does, illuminating everything with an eerie glow. It’s supposed to be a 60-watt equivalent, but because it’s a depressing blue instead of a cheerfully incandescent yellow, this light looks dimmer.

So today, I’m replacing my new CFL bulb with a good old-fashioned incandescent. I guess this pretty much eliminates me from ever winning an Academy Award.

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