Excerpt: 'Guide to Sustainable Living' by Ed Begley Jr.

1. Many experts say they last even longer, as long as 25,000 hours (compared with 10,000 for CFLs).
2. They produce even less heat.
3. They're dimmable (most CFLs are not).
4. They turn on instantly (whereas some CFLs can take as long as fi ve minutes to reach their full brightness).
5. There's less flicker.
6. They're not affected by frequent on/off cycles, so you don't have to think about how long you're going to be out of a room and do a cost/benefit analysis to figure out if you should turn off the light or if that's going to be causing too much wear and tear on the bulb—so you'd be sacrificing longevity for a little savings in energy, which is not a great trade-off.
7. They contain far less mercury than traditional compact fluorescents.
8. They tend to be smaller and lighter than CFLs. In fact, one of their earliest common uses was in thin computers.

CCFLs work somewhat like a neon lightbulb. Interestingly, they're becoming a popular choice as a replacement for neon lighting. If you go to Las Vegas, many of those colored lights you see up and down the Strip are actually CCFLs. Hotels like The Mirage understand that operating all those lights uses a lot of energy—which costs a lot of money—so they've taken steps to reduce their energy usage by switching over to CCFLs.

I should warn you right up front that CCFLs are an emerging technology. So don't run out today and replace all of your existing lightbulbs with CCFLs, at least not yet. For starters, CCFLs are not as bright as CFLs right now, and they're also not quite as efficient. But with all of their advantages, clearly they show great promise.

See below for a list of resources for CCFLs.

1000Bulbs.com (CCFL bulbs)

BestHomeLEDLighting.com (LED bulbs)

BetterBulb.com (CCFL bulbs)

BuyLighting.com (CCFL bulbs, LED bulbs)

Fire & Water Lighting (lighting design)

Four Seasons Lighting (LED lighting)

Home Depot (CFL recycling)

Ikea (CFL recycling)

LEDLightBulb.net (LED bulbs)

Solatube (skylights)

TCP (CFL bulbs)

Reprinted from the book "Ed Begley Jr.'s Guide to Sustainable Living," Copyright © 2009 by Ed Begley Jr. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.

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