LED vs CFL vs LED bulbs the nomad experiment

My Overdue Gift to Mother Nature…Installing LED (vs. CFL) Light Bulbs

Been Pondering Whether You Should Finally Change Out Those Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL) And Installing Led Bulbs?

Or (bless your heart) you’re still on the incandescent train, possibly wasting hundreds of dollars on excess electricity bills…and new bulbs…each year? It’s cool, we all have to start sometime! Well, I finally did the fairly quick research on LED vs CFL bulbs, and the answer was simple. Switch to LED now. 

Leds Are Not Perfect, But vs. CFLs Or Incandescent, It’s Pretty Clear That It’s Time To Switch.

I actually pride myself on at least attempting to constantly improve upon my imprint on the environment. The crazy thing is that I’ve actually had about a dozen or so LEDs in my pantry for at least a year or two.

My frugal brain kept saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, since I still had working CFLs in most of the fixtures in my house.

While that was going on, I was reminded again and again through articles about the lack of electrical efficiency of CFLs. Combine that with the nasty Mercury inside and increased heat output of the bulbs, among other things, and I’m ashamed to say it took me so long.

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Are LEDs Really That Much Cheaper vs CFLs?

Luckily for me (and you, since I’m really not that smert…) plenty of industry folks have done this research for us. You can use Mr. Google to do it yourself, but I found some numbers that pretty much knock it out of the park so far as the cost of LED vs CFL or incandescent bulbs.

I can’t take credit for the research behind that graph, that was the folks at EarthEasy. I did adjust the numbers on the individual LED cost, since they’ve dropped considerably. They have a great site with other research on the subject and some great eco-considerate products too.

What you should quickly see is that there is a huge difference just in the cost of fluorescent vs LED vs Incandescent. And that’s really regardless of your actual housing situation. I have a fairly small house, only 1100sqft actually, plus a garage. But I counted 22 bulbs throughout my dojo!

Your Next Steps In The LED vs. CFL Battle

If you need more reasons, I’ll leave you to that research. While LEDs aren’t yet perfect, they’re clearly a much better necessary evil than compact fluorescent or incandescent.

But if you’re convinced, make sure you buy Energy Star rated bulbs, since they’re an organization working to heighten or uphold environmental standards. You can get bulk packs for a buck a bulb these days. (Say that three times fast.)

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

Your next step is to find a place to recycle those old bulbs. Yes, that’s really important! CFL bulbs contain mercury and should be responsibly recycled. I have to admit, in the past, I was pretty guilty of not taking the time for this, but not anymore.

It’s so much easier to recycle old electronics and bulbs these days so that they can be properly broken down. Often times very precious metals can be extracted from electronics and reused, which means less mining.

Check out your local big box hardware store and you might be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to recycle a lot of things there! Or check out Recycle Nation. Bravo to them for making this a priority and making it easier for US folks to do the same!

Congrats! Now, What’s Next…?

If you’re still reading, thanks for caring about ol’ Mother Nature! If you dig this kind of advice, click and join the mailing list or join the conversation over at facebook. Talk again soon!


— Jason

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Travel Planning Tips

Figure out where you are going & how are you getting there…
I suggest using at least 2 to 3 different travel search sites. Start with Skyscanner or Orbitz or Booking …or whatever aggregator site you prefer. Then when you see what airlines to use, check their respective sites for better deals or rewards flights.

Figure out where you’re going to stay…
If you’re interested in hostels, search Hostelworld or Hostelling International. For longer-term or more private digs, look at Airbnb, VRBO, or you can look for hotel rooms in the links from the search engines listed above. 

Get comprehensive travel insurance, or in the least, travel medical insurance if internationally…
Especially with Covid not going anywhere, get covered. Start with an insurance aggregator like Insure My Trip, or with SafetyWing, World Nomads, or another. Then decide what is important to you; trip cancellation, baggage coverage, medical, or all of the above. And get a yearly evacuation plan, since you’ll have to get home after your emergency! 

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