To save or not to save?

Out of darkness and melancholy, the light is very potent with such brightness. To abuse that power is to hurt the environment, not to mention the consumer’s pocketbook. The bulb is the thing, wherein we’ll catch the conscience of the consumer.

According to research conducted by Energy Star, if every household replaces one incandescent light bulb at home with one that earned the Energy Star label, the country will save $600 million in energy bills, save enough energy to light 7 million homes, and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1 million cars.

Also reported by the energy-saving organization, lighting accounts for nearly 20 percent of electricity costs. The average home contains more than 30 light fixtures, so replacing the regular bulbs with an Energy Star-qualified bulb and installing specialized fixtures helps reduce household energy costs because they use one-third the energy of traditional lighting.

Home Depot associate Josh Perry said the energy-saving bulbs may be costlier than the light bulbs most are familiar with, but they last longer down the line.

“The light bulbs themselves are more expensive than the normal light bulb, so that might deter you from buying them, but these last longer,” he said. “The savings is quite a lot. The cool thing is, you can turn just about any light fixture into an energy-saving light fixture.” Perry said the differences are in the bulbs, unless the fixture is labeled as such. Most will be marked on the front of the fixture box if it’s energy-saving or not.

The energy-saving bulbs are made to burn at a lower wattage, but give off as much light as the others.

“Say for instance, one of these lights, it burns at 14 watts but its brightness is the equivalent of a 60-watt bulb,” Perry said.

These bulbs are a little more than kin to the others, and a lot less harsh in terms of energy.

“The halogen bulbs are more intense than the energy-saving ones,” he said.

It’s also visually easy to spot the different bulbs. The energy-saving bulbs have the spiral design as opposed to the round design, but Perry said there are safe covers for the spiral ones for those who prefer that round look.

For more facts and statistics on Energy Star, visit the Web site at www.energystar.gov.

• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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