Services For Your Home
Save Energy and Money in Your Home
Idaho Falls Power offers a number of Energy Efficiency Programs to all customer classes through our participation in the Bonneville Power Administration's Energy Conservation Program.
Qualifying customers can receive zero-interest loans or rebates towards the cost of installing measures, appliances or equipment that result in electricity savings. Call us at 612-8526.
CFLs To Replace Incandescents
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 revised the nation’s energy policy in several ways, with the most immediate change for consumers stemming from new lighting standards. The law requires light bulbs to become roughly 30 percent more efficient by 2014. The process started in early 2012 with the 100-watt bulb and ends in early 2014 with the 40-watt bulb, and will effectively put an end to the manufacture of Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb. They’ll be replaced with compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs.
CFLs are much more efficient; they use about a quarter of the energy of incandescent bulbs. To put that into perspective, if every home in the U.S. replaced one incandescent bulb with a CFL, it would save more than $600 million in energy costs annually. CFLs also last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury, however, and that’s led to rumors and urban legends about the bulbs causing mercury poisoning. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has never come across a case of mercury poisoning caused by the bulbs, and while the agency cautions consumers to take precautions if they accidentally break one of the bulbs, officials also point out that the bulbs contain only trace amounts of mercury - 4 milligrams, on average, compared to 500 milligrams in a traditional thermometer – and CFL manufacturers are working to reduce that amount. Also, the only time mercury is released is when the bulbs are broken and the element escapes as a vapor. To minimize exposure to mercury vapor, EPA recommends following these steps:
If the CFL breaks in a carpeted area or over a rug, the EPA recommends avoiding the use of a vacuum since it could spread the mercury vapor and create an even bigger health hazard.
Follow the same steps as on a hard surface.
If broken glass remains and vacuuming is needed to clean up all the glass, the EPA recommends using the vacuum hose accessory. Dispose of the vacuum bag in the same bag or jar with the other debris, or empty and wash the vacuum canister and throw those cleaning supplies in with the other debris. The next few times you vacuum the area, shut off the heat or AC, close the doors to other rooms, open an exterior door or window and change the vacuum bag after every use in this area. Once you’re finished vacuuming, try to keep the heat or AC off and continue to air out the room for several hours.
If you can’t follow the recommended steps and are worried about your health after potentially being exposed to mercury vapors, call your doctor. Remember that CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury – less than 1/100th of the amount found in a mercury thermometer.
Why Does The Government Want Us To Use Compact Florescent
Light Bulbs If They Contain Mercury?
When a CFL bulb breaks or is improperly disposed of when it dies, it releases a small amount of mercury into the environment. This is miniscule, however, when compared to the amount of mercury pollution that the energy-efficient bulbs prevent by reducing the demand for electricity. This is because mercury is found in many rocks, including coal. When coal is burned to produce electricity, mercury is released into the atmosphere. Coal provides about half of the electricity used in the U.S., and coal plants emitted approximately 68,000 pounds of mercury in 2009, prompting 44 states to warn residents to either avoid or limit their consumption of some fish because they’re often contaminated through acid rain.
Where to Recycle?
Some states require the bulbs to be recycled; Idaho does not.
Still, the EPA recommends taking steps to recycle the bulbs. Recycling not only prevents the release of mercury into the environment – the bulbs often break and release mercury vapor when thrown into a dumpster, compactor or landfill – but it also allows the bulb’s glass, metals and other materials to be reused. Nearly all of the materials in a CFL can be reused.
You can recycle a dead or broken bulb at local retailers including Lowe’s and Home Depot for free, or you can bring them to the Idaho Falls Power building at 140 S. Capital Ave. IFP doesn’t charge for the service either, but we ask that you bring them in a sealed plastic bag.
Bonneville County also accepts CFLs at the Transfer Station at 2455 Hemmert Ave. Be sure to separate the bulbs from other trash and alert the attendant.
In addition, some bulb manufacturers sell recycling kits that allow you to mail used bulbs to recycling centers.
If you cannot recycle the bulb, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality recommends sealing it in two plastic bags or a disposable container and placing it in a secure trash container for trash collection. You can contact the state DEQ’s local office at 528-2650.
There are a number of steps you can take to help prevent a CLF from breaking. Here’s a glance:
Simple steps, smart savings
IFP participates with other utilities in the region to “buy-down” the cost of CFL bulbs from the manufacturer, so the customer realizes lower costs in the retail stores. The bulbs are available at most regional chain stores, and may be promoted by individual stores under branding such as “Savings With A Twist” or “Change-A-Light, Change the World.”
Idaho Falls Power will conduct a free home energy audit for any IFP customer.
Heating & Cooling
Rebates or zero interest loans to qualifying customers to install efficient heat pumps in new or existing buildings.
Zero interest loans to qualifying customers to purchase and install efficient electric appliances.
Financing/Zero Interest Loans
Available to customers with a good payment history with City utilities and services
New Home Programs
Homeowners can enjoy a 20% reduction in energy use compared to traditional building techniques.
Manufactured Home Programs
An $850 incentive is available.