Preparing for light bulb ban

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Chad Darnall

PADUCAH, Ky. - Some people are spending a lot on bulbs now to save money later as the traditional light bulb disappears from shelves.  It's all in the name of "going green".

So far the government has phased out 100 and 75-watt incandescent bulbs.  Next year, a 60-watt incandescent bulb ban goes into effect.

There are plenty of alternatives, but the choices can be confusing there are so many options.

An incandescent bulb will cost about 75 cents, and will cost about $7.23 per year in energy.

Halogen bulbs will cost about $2 at the store and about $5.18 per year in energy.

The C.F.L. light will cost about $2.17 to operate per year, and about $10 at the checkout.

Finally, the L.E.D. light costs about 90 cents per year to operate, and cost about $8 at checkout.

Getting rid of the incandescent bulbs and using energy efficient ones will save you money, but as many are learning, the savings don't add up as quickly as many think.

Of all the days to stop and smell the flowers, Earth Day was perfect!

As folks enjoy Mother Earth, the E.P.A. says we can save it, by saving energy, and getting better light bulbs.

"I catch myself reading the labels," Cindy Hart said.

Hart said it seems like the lighting aisle at Lowes keeps getting bigger, as the incandescent section shrinks.

"When you look at the price tag you say do 'I gotta pay how much for a light bulb'?

Picking out a bulb can be overwhelming, but there are two things you need to consider:  price and how long they last.  Take the led light.  It's $10 but the package says it'll last 23 years. Compare that to an incandescent.  It's only 75 cents but only promises .7 years.

"You are going to see the benefit, but it's going to take a little while to see that benefit," Paducah Power's Director of Marketing, Andrea Underwood says lighting only makes up about 10-percent of the average person's energy bill, so the incandescent bulb ban won't make a huge difference.

"The most efficient bulb is the one you remember to turn off," Underwood said.

Hart has a few C.F.L.s.  Monday, she decided to buy a few more.  She's hoping in time the costly bulbs will pay off.

There have been some problems with the C.F.L.s.  They don't work as well in cold weather and if you're buying one connected to a dimmer switch, you have to buy one made specifically for that purpose.

C.F.L.s have trace amounts of mercury in them so when they do burn out, you're asked to take them to a recycling center.   In Paducah, Jackson Purchase Energy, Lowes and Home Depot will take the bulbs off your hands.

One disclaimer:  the prices mentioned above are just a few prices.  There are as many prices as there are bulbs.

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