Lightening the burden

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thomas alva edison would have cause to smile. Lighting is one crucial area which touches our everyday lives. Yet, ever since the electric lamp was invented, there has been very little change in the technology employed. A few techniques can save a great deal of lighting energy cost effectively, enabling people to see much better and consequently work much better.

One-fifth of the electricity used in the us goes directly into lighting. The proportion is much more in Russia, China and India. More than half of this energy is used by ordinary incandescent light-bulbs that have undergone little change since the 1930s. These bulbs emit only 10 per cent of the energy used as light. If they are replaced by compact fluorescent lamps, a great deal of energy can be saved.

A compact fluorescent lamp is not such a new device. It was developed in the Netherlands and Germany in the early 1980s and is now becoming popular in the us , Europe and even China, selling 200 million units a year. An 18-watt fluorescent lamp gives as much light as a 75-watt incandescent lamp. However, it has a much longer life and lasts about 10 times longer than a conventional lamp. According to some estimates, the compact fluorescent lamps sold in 1994 alone would save at least us $5,000 million worth of electricity over their lifetimes.

Besides saving electricity, compact fluorescent lamps also reduce pollution