Thomas Edison said two prescient things about the manufacturing of lightbulbs: “we now know a thousand ways not to build a light bulb” and “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.” Edison’s dream is realised in modern compact fluorescent lamp bulbs or CFLs, which provide cheap light in homes, schools and workplaces. Indeed they are becoming so popular that the traditional incandescent light bulbs are disappearing from the shelves and the European Union, the United States, Canada, Cuba and Venezuela are adopting CFLs as standard.
By switching to energy saving bulbs, EU citizens will save almost 40 TW·h (almost the electricity consumption of 11 million European households), leading to a reduction of about 15 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.
CFLs are popular, not only because of the cheap light but they save 80% of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last fifteen times as long. They reduce carbon emissions which is vital for planetary survival. CFLs produce less heat which can allow significant savings in air conditioning in certain climates. They also provide a feel good factor because switching to CFLs allows people to make their homes greener and contribute to the green movement.