Friday, March 02, 2007


A few weeks ago, I noticed an article about Wal-Mart’s initiative to convince 100 million of their customers to replace just one 60 watt incandescent light bulb with a 60 watt equivalent Compact Fluorescent light bulb, which uses only 13-watts. Here’s what they said:
“When you change to Compact Fluorescent light bulbs, you take a step in the right direction to preserve energy resources and our environment for this generation and the next. Just one Compact Fluorescent light bulb keeps half a ton of greenhouse gas (CO2) out of our air. Wal-Mart has over 100 million customers. That means if each customer bought just one compact fluorescent light bulb, it would:

· Keep 22 billion lbs of coal from burning at power plants
· Keep 45 billion lbs of greenhouse gases from being emitted
· Equate to removing 700,000 cars worth of greenhouse gases from the air
· Keep 700 million incandescent light bulbs from landfills.”

To read more about Wal-Mart’s initiative, go to their website: and click on the article: “Change a Light. Change the World” on the left side of their home page.

That was pretty amazing to me, but then I saw an article: “Bright Idea? Australia Pulls Plug on Light Bulbs,” saying that Australia is banning all incandescent light bulbs by the year 2010. If you would like to read about what Australia’s doing, here’s the web address of the article:

That was enough to convince me to go over to my local Wal-Mart and check out the Compact Fluorescent light-bulbs. I wasn’t too sure, however, if I wanted to replace the nice warm light coming out of my office and living room lamps with the icy glare of fluorescent lighting, but what I found quickly convinced me to go ahead with the change. I looked for those that are labeled “Soft White”, which are produced by Philips. They give off a very nice, warm light that is quite similar to incandescent bulbs. Another nice thing about the Philips bulbs is that they don’t look like the standard “curly-Q” fluorescents. In fact, they look just like regular light bulbs. The only difference I have noticed is that they take a few seconds to come up to full intensity, which seems to me to be a very small compromise for what these bulbs accomplish. The 60 watt bulbs draw only 13 watts, a 78 percent reduction in power consumption. I replaced all of the heavily-used light bulbs in my house with a variety of Philips bulbs, including floodlight bulbs in several ceiling fixtures. The one I’m happiest about is the little 40-watt equivalent candelabra bulb in the outdoor light post in front of my house that comes on each night at dusk and goes off at dawn. That light post is now drawing only 9 watts all night long, also a 78 percent reduction!

The only problem you might encounter is finding enough Philips bulbs on Wal-Mart’s shelves. I had to make two visits to find what I wanted and I still didn’t find 75 or 100 watt equivalent Philips bulbs. They were completely sold out both times. That led me to buy several of the “curly-Q” GE bulbs. The 75 watt GEs were labeled “natural light” and they are very nice, but the 100 watt GEs were labeled “cool white” and they are not what I wanted. So, if you decide to buy some Compact Fluorescents, it may take a little trial and error to get exactly what you want. Bottom line, however, is that you can’t go wrong with the Philips bulbs at Wal-Mart.

I think it’s great that Australia has seized the global warming bull by the horns, but we just can’t wait for our government to get on board. Each of us has to get started doing what each one of us can do. For me, it’s driving a hybrid car and replacing my light bulbs. I urge you to consider doing what you can, as soon as possible.

Let me know what you think.

Jack Falker

NOTE: At the time of publication clients of FalkerInvestments and Jack and Peter Falker had positions in GE and WMT.