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A New Light

Using energy more efficiently makes sense for all kinds of reasons. But for a lot of us it�s enough to stop at the fact that it can save you money.

A stunningly simple way to do that involves switching from regular incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs in your house. They cost more, but last a lot longer and use a lot less energy.

Kentucky Living wrote about those bulbs in the February 2004 The Future of Electricity column (to read it go to, type �Lights fantastic� in the Article Search box, and click �Go�).

James Andrew reminded me of that column in a speech he gave earlier this year. He�s the administrator of the Rural Utilities Service, a federal agency that provides loans for projects needed by electric co-ops.

When I heard one particular part of his speech I thought, �I couldn�t have said it better myself.� So the rest of this month�s column belongs to James Andrew (by the way, in reference to his comment about co-ops giving away compact fluorescents at annual meetings, many Kentucky co-ops do just that. In the past five years, Kentucky co-ops have given out more than 300,000 promotional compact fluorescent bulbs, a number that would save more than $2.5 million and more than 15,000 tons of coal):

A recent article in The New York Times said about 22 percent of electricity generated is used for lighting and about 42 percent of that is incandescent bulbs. That means that about 9 percent of the electricity used in the U.S. is consumed by incandescent bulbs. If that percentage was cut in half, it would be the equivalent to two or three years of growth in the electric demand.

Manufacturers of compact fluorescent bulbs say a complete phase-out (of incandescent bulbs) would save $18 billion a year in electricity and would save the amount of power that would be produced by 30 nuclear reactors or as many as 80 coal-fired plants.

That is just one technology on the market and the minds of the public to trim the use of electricity.

Many (electric co-op leaders) feel strongly enough to promote this and some are giving away compact fluorescent bulbs at annual meetings. Great idea.

Maybe we could expand that thinking to many other technologies being considered for the conservation of energy.

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