COMPACT FLUORESCENT UPDATE: I noted a while back that I was getting good results with the GE compact fluorescent 75, a 75-watt "equivalent" bulb that produces attractive indoor light. On a reader's recommendation, I also ordered some of the 100 watt equivalent bulbs in the same line. I installed a couple last night and they look fine -- as good as the 75s, just a bit brighter.
I'm gradually replacing bulbs in the house, and have now switched about a dozen to fluorescent lights. According to these numbers, if everyone did that it would be the equivalent of taking about 15 million cars off the road. Most importantly, it's a fairly painless change. The bulbs cost a bit more, but if they save me the trouble of changing lightbulbs all the time it's worth it. And the light quality is entirely acceptable. This is what I meant in my post below about non-hairshirt approaches.
UPDATE: Reader Fred Butzen writes:
Thanks to your recommendation, we've been replacing our incandescent bulbs with fluorescents, at least in areas where we turn on the lights and leave them on for extended periods - principally the kitchen, porches, and bedrooms. The quality of light is almost as good as with an incandescent bulb; in the kitchen, we use the fluorescents mixed with a single incandescent, and the quality of light is excellent.
In Chicago, Commonwealth Edison is subsidizing the bulbs - you can get what's the equivalent of a 60- or 100-watt bulb for about a buck. Given the cost of building peak capacity, the subsidy makes a lot of sense for ConEd.
However, we have had a bum bulb, which conked out after less than a month.
You get bum bulbs with incandescents, too, though you're not out as much. Unless Comm Ed is subsidizing you! And yeah, this does make sense for them.