A reflection on CFLs and leaving them on

I would like to share with you some personal experience on energy efficiency and sobriety as I got back for a few days to visit my parents. I then noticed my dad has the bad habit of letting some CFLs on.

I told him that this really wasn’t good for their purse and our common planet. I also reminded him that leaving lights on in empty rooms is just pure waste since nobody benefits from them.

His answer was that since they consume very little energy and this is thus absolutely not a big deal. Is he right ? Or am I ?


Here is some background information :

Five years ago, I was finishing my Master’s thesis for Audencia, and thus my academical education. I was already at that time strongly interested in energy and sustainability issues and thus was writing on the French residential sector and how it could benefit from both efficiency and renewables (see some elements of this thesis there and there)

As I was living like most students with my parents, both of them took a wide interest in my findings and writings.

Further to all this, they switched massively to compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs). They embrassed this technology in such a massive way that nowadays, very few of their lights are incandescent ones.

My work and my blog have made them fully aware of how saving energy can benefit them and all of us immensely. They thus have done many things on efficiency such as switching for a ultra efficient fridge, a large switch for the television and all its related appliances, installed double glazing windows with argon gas and so on.

Back to nowadays :

His argument for letting some CFLs on is that since they consume less than 20 Watts, this is absolutely not a big deal and that they sometimes take time to reach their maximum brightness…

Have you had similar experiences with your loved ones, relatives or colleagues ? Do you think this is really not a problem or on the contrary that I am rightfully making a fuss for a few watts ?

If yes, have you found ways to turn those unnecessary lights ? In any case, I really look forward to reading your opinions ! 🙂


( Many many thanks to my dear dad for inspiring me this post. You’re the best dad I could have got in this solar system…^^)

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