Incandescent lamps are the poster child of energy waste; their glare disguises the fact that 90% of the energy consumed by an incandescent lamp is wasted as heat. With the help of six GEO 300 – Sustainability for the Common Good students, Sustainability Office staff changed over 100 incandescent lamps to energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). CFLs use 75% less energy than an equivalent light output incandescent and last ten times as long. The work performed during this three hour event was estimated to save nearly 96,500 kWh (about $5,308 in electricity costs) each year. Why use staff time to change lightbulbs? The current custodial contract states that custodians will only replace like-for-like, so when an incandescent lamp burns out, another incandescent goes in its place. By proactively changing incandescent lamps to CFLs, we’re ensuring that a CFL will stay in the fixture in perpetuity.
Removing functional incandescents does present us with a problem: what to do with the inefficient but still good lamps? If you have ideas, let us know.