ZESCO recently introduced the Energy saving bulbs as
part of the initiative to save energy and contribute in mitigating the
Power deficit the country has been
Energy savers, also known as Compact Fluorescent
Lamps (CFLs), are energy efficient alternative to conventional
incandescent lamps. They consume up to five times less energy and can
last up to fifteen times longer than conventional incandescent lamps.
Energy savers are used for both private and
professional applications, thereby greatly contributing to energy
savings in both residential and industrial areas. CFLs give the same
amount of light as standard incandescent lights, but use only 20% of
the electricity, so that a home can be lit using one fifth of the
electricity consumed by incandescent bulbs.
Energy savers have become very efficient in homes as
they will not only help save energy, but they will help people save
money and the environment as well.
By customers using CFLs in homes, it means using
less electricity for the same amount of lighting produced by
incandescent bulbs. This means we can reduce the use of precious
resources such as coal,
diesel, charcoal and gas to produce
energy for lighting and
heating, as well as the amount of air pollutants released.
The CFLs are now largely being used in United
States, Europe, Asia and most of Africa. Infact, some countries have
actually banned the use of ordinary incandescent bulbs as they have
realized the benefits that are being obtained from the energy that is
Ordinary bulbs are inefficient as
they only use 10% of the power for lighting and 90% is wasted as
heat and only last 3-5 months, whilst CFLs last 3-5 years.
CFLs have been used around the world for over 100
years; and in the SADC region, all countries are using them to mitigate
power shortages. For the period 2009 and 2011, SADC member countries
managed to save 1500 MW of power from the use of CFLs.
CFLs are also very safe to use in homes or
workplaces. Individuals need not worry over the mercury content. The
mercury contained in a CFL (3 milligrams) is about one quarter the
mercury content of the ordinary Fluorescent tube (12 milligrams), eight
times less than that of the mercury found in a watch battery (25
milligrams), at least a 33 times less than the mercury present in
standard household thermometers (100milligramms) and 160 times less
than the mercury in the silver-colored fillings in teeth (500
Manufacturers of the CFLs are furthermore unanimous in their assertion
that the lamps in the homes do not pose any risk, even if they break.
The average amount of mercury in a CFL is about the size of a ball
point pen and occurs in vapor form in the lamp.
According to energy experts, lighting makes up approximately 14% of the
average household’s electricity account.
And 80 % of that can be saved by replacing ordinary incandescent
light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps. However,
mercury is an essential irreplaceable element in CFLs; it’s what allows
the bulb to be such an efficient light source. Mercury has always been
in all fluorescent lamps, high intensity
Discharge lamps, neon signs, etc. In fact CFLs have less mercury than
ordinary Fluorescent Lamps. So the perception that CFLs are hazardous
to health is not exactly true.
CFLs can only pose an environmental hazard if millions are not disposed
of properly because that quantity can cause mercury to find its way
onto dumps or in landfill sites.
That is why for future generations to benefit, it is important
for consumers to dispose of used CFLs
cautiously, just like other electronic waste such
as remote control unit batteries, fluorescent tubes, etc.
Despite the small amounts of mercury in CFLs they actually have
significant environmental benefits because their use reduces the
release of greenhouse gases. And this is because CFLs use less energy
than incandescent bulbs, hence less carbon released into the air by
Diesel and coal-fired power plants.
Nothing strange has been brought
through the energy
savers. They are merely an improvement of the ordinary Fluorescent
Lamps which have been around since 1901. Only
that, CFLs have been miniaturized, they save more
energy and last longer. Meaning, it will take years for a customer in a
home to buy another bulb.
Zesco has been promoting and distributing the energy savers around the
country for free. Customers have been coming on board to exchange six
incandescent bulbs with six energy savers. The company is also
sensitsing people on the safe handling of CFLs and the benefits they
can add to their lives through saving money through
low electricity costs.