Ok, this is a ‘tongue in cheek entry’, but it does have value for those who might be reading.
While we all see from reading the nutty ‘Tell It to the ER’ and Letters to the Editor that Wal-Mart is “evil”, according to a New York Times article the world’s largest retailer has committed to get Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs into 100 million homes this year. CFLs are found in only 6% of households today. Wal-Mart seems determined to use its marketing prowess to do what hasn’t successfully been done in the CFL’s 25-year history: to convince consumers to pay more upfront for large savings over the product’s lifetime.
I for one have converted almost all the bulbs in my home to CFL’s, thanks to their availablity at COSTCO at a bargain price thanks to a PG&E rebate program. For example, my bathroom light bar had nine 60 watt bulbs, for a whopping 450 watts every time I turned it on!
By replacing my globe bulbs with the COSTCO brand, I got my bathroom light bars (I have three for a total of 3 x450 watts = 1620 watts) power consumption down to 15 watts per bulb from 60 watts for a total of 135 watts per bathroom or 405 watts for all three bathrooms, down from 1620 watts.
These energy-saving bulbs use 75% less electricity than incandescents and produce far less “greenhouse gas” to manufacture and use. The ones sold at COSTCO are from FEIT Electric and you can see them here:
So, no matter what you think about Wal-Mart, the impact of getting 100 million of these bulbs out into the USA will result in about 4.5 Gigawatts (or 4500 Megawatts) of power savings based on them replacing 100 million 60 watt bulbs with CFLs that draw 15 watts.
Here’s the math:
100 million 60 watt bulbs use 100×60 =6,000,000,000 watts of electricity (6 billion or 6 Gigawatts)
a 75% reduction in that power usage is: 6,000,000,000 x .75 = 4,500,000,000 watts (4.5 Gigawatts) of savings
If Wal-Mart sells them in 4 packs, and people install all 4 bulbs then you could figure on 4.5 Gigawatts x 4 = 18 Gigwatts of power savings, and by extension less pollution in our atmosphere.
That ain’t chump change.
If all this wattage confuses you, then please see this blog entry I made some time ago.