Eco-conscious: Compact Fluorescents
Rawhide on compact fluorescents:
In all my web searching I couldn't find a truly exhaustive comparison on lightbulb stats. Even Energyfederation.org, which was the most comprehensive, didn't list the CRI for all of its bulbs. What I did realize was that the "bright white" bulbs I bought from Home Depot were of the wrong color temperature to mix with incandescents and that is why they looked so cold. I also found a couple of people who really liked N:Vision, the Home Depot brand.
So I decided to give Home Depot another shot and exchanged the bright whites for soft whites. Curiously, when I went back the CF bulbs had a big display that wasn't there the week before with the bulbs I wanted in $9 4-packs, which was much cheaper than the individual bulbs.
I replaced all the bulbs in our living room and dining room and I (and the nameless other) find the light quality to be quite good---it wasn't possible to distinguish the CF from the incandecent bulbs once they warmed up. If you look at the light in the room as a whole, there is the slightest bit of 'vibration', but it's really not noticable unless you're looking for it.
Net savings: 600W->140W to light the two rooms. Awesome.
Finally, as a coda to my quest for compact flourescents, I learned that Massachusetts is offering a $2 rebate per package for Energy Star lights and that Home Depot also sells 6-packs for $10. So, you can get 60w replacement bulbs for $1.30 rather than $4 or $5 you sometimes see. http://www.myenergystar.com/rebates.aspx Retailers need to supply the coupons, which are instant rebates at the register. There are also bigger rebates, like $75 off a dryer and $20 off a torchiere light fixture.