Small easy changes make a big difference in the environment. For example, if you replace a 75-watt incandescent light bulb with a 20-watt compact fluorescent light bulb you will save, over the bulb's lifetime, around 550 kilowatt hours or nearly 500 pounds of coal, which translates to 1,300 fewer pounds of carbon dioxide and 20 fewer pounds of sulfur dioxide that will be released into the atmosphere. If you make these changes in your home, and your Sherborn neighbors make these changes in their homes, that is a big difference in Earth's environment.
- Energy Efficiency: CFLs use about one-quarter of the energy of traditional incandescent light bulbs. And now these bulbs come in a wide range of sizes. They also produce different kinds of high quality lighting for different places around your home, inside and outside also.
- Cost: Because CFLs use only about a fourth of the energy of incandescents, you save money on your electric bill. The initial purchase price of a CFL will be greater than an incandescent, but it lasts about ten times longer than an incandescent bulb. In the long run, you will save money and your own energy because you won't be changing your light bulbs so often.
- Safety: CFLs produce the same amount of light as their incandescent counterparts, using significantly less energy. That means they also generate less heat and won't burn you like incandescent lights can.
- Environment: Power plants that generate electricity also produce pollution. But if you use CFLs, you can help reduce that pollution without sacrificing your lighting needs. They use less electricity to produce the same amount of light as incandescent light bulbs. Some companies are even turning to "daylighting", which means they are introducing skylights for daytime lighting so that they are using less electricity for daytime lighting. Reducing the amount of electricity we use, whether with CFLs or a combination of daylighting and CFLs, also reduces the amount of pollution that we produce.
In 2007 during the Bush Administration, Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act calling for all new general purpose bulbs to be 30% more efficient than standard incandescents by 2012 (for 100-watt bulbs). There are a number of bulbs that now meet this requirement, including the CFL. However, in the climate of partisan polarization that exists now, this law has come under fire.