Q&A;: Switching to CFLs


Q: I found treehugger.com while searching for information on CFLs. Tonight I tried my first CFL bulb and am completely dismayed by the amount of light output. I bought a GE 3-way bulb for a lamp in my study. It is nowhere near the same amount of light as the incandescent. I am very disappointed as I want to switch as many lights as I can away from incandescent. Can you offer any advice to get the same amount of light output from CFLs? Are there better brands than GE? Thanks for your time, Jeremy
A: Thanks for your question, Jeremy. You don't mention the wattage or lumen output of either your new or old bulb, but we recommend that you go for the highest lumen/watt ratio that you can find. For example, if you're replacing a 75 W incandescent with a 15 W CFL, and you have the choice between 900 lumens with one manufacturer or 1100 with another, the one with 1100 will give you more light; CFLs have improved and you should now be able to find comparable light output to your old incandescent in an energy-saving CFL. Because you're looking for a 3-way bulb, your choices will be somewhat limited, but the ENERGY STAR CFL page is a great place to start; you can compare bulbs, find one that looks good to you, and find a distributor near you. This TreeHugger hasn't tried 3-way CFLs yet; readers, if you have tips for a good 3-way CFL, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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