Asked by: Eric Smith, by email
Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) contain more embodied energy than conventional incandescent bulbs. Embodied energy refers to all the costs involved in sourcing, manufacturing and recycling the units. CFLs use about the same amount of glass and metals as conventional bulbs, but they also contain plastic and electronics. These bump up the embodied energy to about five times that of incandescent bulbs. However, CFLs last eight times as long and consume half as much electricity, easily offsetting the extra manufacturing energy burden.