Save the Money, Help the Earth

LIPA and others have been pushing consumers to switch from traditional electricity-hungry incandescent lighting to the more expensive, but power-thrifty alternatives

    Rebates for the use of energy-efficient lighting are available, and more residents should know about and take advantage of them. The Long Island Power Authority offers several ways that those buying compact fluorescent or L.E.D. bulbs can save money, including a whole-house, bulk-buy incentive that ends on Dec. 31.

    LIPA and others have been pushing consumers to switch from traditional electricity-hungry incandescent lighting to the more expensive, but power-thrifty alternatives. Compact fluorescents, or C.F.L.s, use only a quarter of the electricity that the old bulbs do, and L.E.D.s less than that. About 90 percent of the energy emitted by regular bulbs is heat — which made the Easy Bake child’s oven possible and safe — but all that electricity has to come from somewhere, notably power plants linked to atmospheric pollution and global warming. The newer bulbs last longer, too, about 3 years for C.F.L.s left on five hours a day and around 15 years for L.E.D.s. You can get only about six months from an incandescent in the same use.

    The one downside of C.F.L.s is their disposal. They contain a small amount of mercury and should not be included in ordinary household trash. Some big-box retailers accept used bulbs for recycling, but for residents of the South Fork, getting to these locations is a bother. As we have urged before, officials should look into reasonable ways to provide safe disposal for them.

    Local retailers taking part in LIPA’s rebate program include the Ace Hardware stores in Montauk, East Hampton, and Sag Harbor, as well as the Revco outlets, and the Riverhead Home Depot. There are online sellers as well, including energyfederation.org/lipa, where you can key in your LIPA account number for instant savings. The new bulbs may take a little attention to figure out and purchase, but making the switch is well worth the effort.