Does this energy efficient lightbulb make me look fat? Women shun CFLs in droves.

Women don’t like compact florescent (CFL) bulbs. We talk a lot of green – and why shouldn’t we? Studies show women are generally “more receptive to environmental concerns“. But when it comes to buying and using the new energy efficient compact florescent (CFL) bulbs, actions speak louder than words.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released last week showed that while women are more likely than men to say they are “very willing” to change behavior to help the environment, they are less likely to have CFL bulbs at home. Wal-Mart company research shows a similar “disconnect” between the pro-environmental attitudes of women shoppers and their in-store purchases of CFL bulbs.

The explanation for this green gender gap? Memories of compact florescent light bulbs past.

They were bulky. They were expensive, as much as $25 each. They had an annoying flicker and hum. They cast an icky, cold-white light that made people look pale, wrinkly and old.

Well that’ll do it right there. According to the article, women are “nesters”, concerned about how things look. Men put the CFLs in and women take them out. Maybe it’s about ambiance. But maybe women don’t want to look at pale, wrinkly, old husbands either.

I must confess I use CFLs through the home, including the master bedroom (really low wattage) but not in my office. I’ve tried to use them but found the working experience highly unpleasant. Sounds like it’s time to try again. Compact florescent bulbs are better now. Some are supposed to even approximate the cozy warm glow of incandescent lighting. But attitudes take longer to change than technology.

I tried to find the original poll on both the Washington Times and ABC News websites but all I found is that someone at ABC can predict the future; my query for “compact florescent” returned results from the years 2201, 5005 and up. But no poll from April of this year. Shucks to rely on ABC.

Guess we’ll have to take their word for it. Read the source article, Some wives resent energy-saving bulbs from the Washington Times, reprinted on the Nashua Telegraph.

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2007 at 9:28 pm and is filed under Electrical, Energy Savers, Going Green, Green, Green Products, Lighting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Comments so far

  1. I admit, I am one of those nesters who prefers the warm candle-glow effect of an incandescent bulb to the harsh glow of a CFL. Even though they have improved and we do mostly now use the “daylight” style bulbs in our house, I still can’t say that I am a fan. (I actually ranted about this awhile back on my own house blog.) I have two big problems with CFLs. One is a personal quirk. I am an architectural color consultant/interior designer by trade and the harsh blueish light really changes the way paint and fabric colors look. They can look lovely during the day under natural lighting conditions, but at night they can look really freaky under fluorescent light. Secondly – and the issue doesn’t get nearly as much press as the “switch to CFLs!” message does – they contain mercury. They need to be recycled ordisposed of as hazardous waste. The amount of mercury in a single bulb is pretty small, but multiply that buy 30 – 40 bulbs in a household and multiply that by millions of households, and if those bulbs aren’t being disposed of properly, we’ll soon have a big problem. Sadly, it seems that most people I talk to have no idea that they can’t/shouldn’t just toss them in the trash. I think the powers that be need to come up with a new ad campaign: “Use CFLS, but dispose of them properly.”

    For anyone who is interested, here’s a link the to EPA’s bulb recycling page:

    And for anyone who lives close to an IKEA, you can always bring your bulbs there to be recycled.

  2. You make a completely excellent point about the CFL’s containing mercury, seems to be the best kept secret on the planet! Let’s face it, how many times have you ever broken a light bulb in your home? I seriously do NOT want to call HAZMAT every time I break a light bulb, it is a real concern.

    But realize, good news is one the way, light bulbs as we know them are in the midst of an exciting change. The concerns of the mercury content are being addressed so that disposal will be a simple matter.

    I have just ordered a six pack of brand new generation bulbs, 2 watts needed to produce the 60watts out, not the 13watts the CFLs use! To my knowledge, the company I represent may be the ONLY company that has this new generation bulb.

    While they are a bit costly at $18.00 each, they not only supply lighting at a lower wattage but they also “sink off” the stray EMF generated in a room they are located within. This EMF problem is about to hit the network news in a MAJOR way! They also come with an additional benifit that I personally love, I may never again have to change a bulb once these go in. The heat is what burns out the old standard bulbs, it is also what reduces the life of the CFLs you have availlable now, but 2 watts is extreamly little heat produced and practically, they will last forever! Don’t believe I have ever broken a light bulb unless I was changing one out.

    I do not have any information on this product currently on my web site. I will be addressing it in my blog at:

    Matter of fact, I will be addressing not only this but many Green Energy related topics! Hopefully, I will be able to not only provide some straight talk clarity to some of this Green Energy stuff but along the way really help some people!

  3. To the 1st comment above:
    If you have the blue-tinted CFL bulb, you bought the cool white variety, not the warm (soft) white. Color temperature is what you need to look for… 2700K (Kelvin) is the closest match to an incandescent, and a near-perfect match for a GE Reveal indancescent. 3500K is considered “bright white” like a tube light found in the office. If yours is looking blue, it is probably 5000-6500K “cool white” or “daylight”, not really suitable for indoor applications. Unfortunately not all bulbs are labeled with the color temperature value, but the words “soft white” should be enough.

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