New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Kids, Part I

I mentioned previously that I do not make New Year’s Resolutions. Oh, I know I need to improve myself. I know that every day of the year. I also try every day of the year to do the things I need to do to improve myself. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

But, being as I made one of the goals of this blog providing tips for being a green (or green-ish) parent, making our kids and the world we are going to leave them healthier, I thought I would share some ideas for small resolutions we could all make (myself included) to accomplish this task.

CF bulbI knew it would be a lot of work, so I kind of put it off, just as I would with resolutions I made in the past. Then I read about the webwide campaign to promote the use of compact flourescent (CF) lightbulbs (read about it here), and figured I could do my part, and it might be a good place to start.

I am a bit ashamed to admit that, after ranting to you about how we were doing good by buying LED Christmas lights, that we have very few CF lights in our house. And, honestly, I’m not sure we can come up with a good reason why we don’t.

Why should we? There’s a few good reasons. For one thing, CF bulbs (you know – the funny looking swirly ones?) require 75% less energy to use than traditional lights. And while the CF bulbs do contain some mercury (in the form of gas), this is more than off-set by the increased coal burned to power these energy-hog traditional bulbs. Coal-burning (in fact, all fossil-fuel burning) plants contaminate our air with mercury (among other things) in additional to increasing green-house gasses.

And sure, CF bulbs may cost a litte more (I know IKEA has a wide variety of bulbs, not sure how cheap), but they last longer, and may actual wind up saving you money in the long run.

A couple notes I found on CF bulbs that I feel compelled to include:

  • Because these bulbs contain trace amounts of mercury, it is really best to dispose of properly. I believe you can take them to your local hazardous waste center. Or, if you are forunate enough to live near an IKEA, they take back “dead” bulbs.
  • I’ve hear reports that the ultraviolet light emitted by these bulbs is greater than that of traditional bulbs. This could cause fading in artwork and some furniture finishes.
  • CF bulbs can take a couple minutes to get to “full operating level”.

Anyway, I don’t want to sound like I am preaching. Next time we’re at IKEA, perhaps Ms. Kaz and I will check out the CF bulbs. Maybe we’ll even pick up a few. Maybe you will to.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue this “resolutions” series and touch on a few places you might want to try and make your life a little greener. I hope to touch on such things as organic foods, clothing, and furniture, tax breaks you might be able to recieve from purchasing and installing Energy Star compliant products for your home this year, and anything else I think Ms. Kaz and I should to try do a little more of this year.

And, as always, please feel free to share any ideas you have.

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4 Responses to New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Kids, Part I

  1. Brian says:

    Check with your electric company. Ours has trade in days a few times a year where you give them an old lightbulb and they give you a CF lightbulb. Also, they often have built in (at the check-out) rebates at Home Depot and I even saw the rebate at the grocery store $2 for a pack of 4; can’t beat that.

    [Kaz: Thanks for the tips, and thanks for stopping by! I know our power company often has trade in days and they usually sell the bulbs real cheap during these events. My mother-in-law once bought a bunch of these cheap. Not sure why we didn’t when we went with her!]

  2. BookGirl says:

    Ugh — the cat submitted that comment before I was finished… Sorry.

    On our most recent trip to IKEA (last week), we picked up a pack of CF bulbs. I think the three-pack was around $4.99. We’ll be getting more soon.

    Thanks for mentioning potential fading in paintings and such. I hadn’t heard that.

  3. This is one that I had to duke out with Mama. She was vehemently opposed to any fluorescent lights in the house, which I understand when it comes to the long, dull tubes that we had in our kitchen. I couldn’t convice her that she wouldn’t know the difference between CF and incandescents until I took my marital bliss in my own hands and started replacing the incandescents unilaterally. As it turns out, she either can’t tell the difference or has gotten used to them. (She’ll tell you that she can tell the difference, but just ask her to point out which are CF and which aren’t.) There are some fixtures (on dimmers) where we can’t use CF, but everywhere else we have CF, and I’ve hardly replaced a bulb in the two years that we’ve been here–and those might well be the CF bulbs that I brought over from our last place. Yeah, I’m cheap like that.

  4. paula says:

    We’ve already switched a number of bulbs over to CFs, but they definitely throw a different light than the old bulbs. I find the light to be quite a bit “cooler”. The bulbs don’t fit into some of the fixtures in our home, unfortunately, but we’re replacing the old bulbs with CFs as they burn out. Doing our part … šŸ™‚

    [Kaz: Before posting this, I tried looking for them, but couldn’t find them — CF bulbs “wrapped” inside a traditional bulb shape. I know I’ve seen them somewhere before. I think they were designed to attempt to combat this “not fitting” problem. If I find them again, I’ll post where I found them. And thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the link!]

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