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Pros and cons of energy conservation products

April 21, 2010
  • Old CFL light bulbs are shown in a zip lock bag for disposal.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer,

Compact fluorescent light bulbs



Pros

Uses less energy than incandescent bulbs, reducing demand for electricity and amount of mercury emitted from power plants. An Energy Star-qualified CFL bulb will use 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb.

An Energy Star-qualified CFL bulb will last about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.

An Energy Star-qualified CFL bulb will pay for itself in about 6 months.

Cons

Disposal isn't convenient because bulbs contain mercury.

Potentially hazardous if bulb is broken because of mercury they contain.

More expensive than traditional bulbs.




Solar panels



Pros

Generates clean power

Electrical bill savings

Can sell energy credits earned with excess power generated

State and federal incentive programs for installing qualified solar panels

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Cons

Purchase price and installation cost

Doesn't generate power during rain or snow, or when covered with snow

Resources used in the manufacture and distribution of solar panels

Some incentive programs have limited funding and waiting lists

Visual blight




Wind turbines



Pros

Generates clean power

State and federal incentive programs for installing qualified wind turbines

Electrical bill savings

Cons

Purchase price and installation cost

Not many areas in Washington County where there is access to sufficient wind speeds

Resources used in the manufacture and distribution of wind turbines

Visual blight

Groupings of turbines might harm birds and bats

Makes noise that sounds like a distant helicopter when it spins, whining noise when running slower




Hybrid vehicles



Pros

Less gasoline required than regular gas-powered vehicles

Fewer emissions than regular gas-powered vehicles

Federal, and possibly state, incentives available for qualified hybrid vehicles

Cons

Purchase price

Replacement battery cost if not covered by warranty

Resources used in the manufacture and distribution of solar panels




Energy Star-certified products



Pros

Easy way to identify energy-efficient products

Federal and state incentives for purchasing Energy Star-qualified appliances.

Cons

Credibility. U.S. Government Accountability Office testing showed program certification process was vulnerable to fraud and abuse.

It's the responsibility of the producers to remove/cover Energy Star label on decertified products or remove the product.

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