The year 2014 came in quietly, a silence that within a few short hours worked itself into a full-on tantrum of a snow storm. As I sit here hunched over my keyboard while munching on a post-Christmas chocolate spinach salad, a space heater dries my boots and toasts my toes.

Brutal wind chills and snow-bogged tires aside, our spirits can be buoyed by one sign of technological progress: the end of the incandescent lightbulb.

I heard this announcement on the radio on my drive home. The news is no big shocker, since Congress mandated the change-over to compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL) in 2012. But the final phase-out one of Thomas Edison’s biggest inventions is supposed to be complete in 2014. You can buy them for as long as the supply last, but new ones won’t be made.

North Americans have had plenty of time to get used to the switch. The U.S. Congress approved an energy law in 2007 announcing the change in our source of artificial light. Australia nixed incandescent light bulbs with an outright ban set for 2010. Give us Americans the latest and greatest in high-octane, caffeinated, nicotine-infused energy drinks and the pop-tops are off before you can say, “Bob’s your uncle.”

But take away a cheap, over-heating screw-in bulb that’s been around since 1879? Why are they taking our light bulbs away?

The most commonly expressed objections to the change are:

-CFLs cost more than standard bulbs. CFL costs about $3, compared with 50 cents for a standard bulb.

-Frequent on-and-off switches shorten the life of CFLs.

-Break a CFL and you have a toxic spill on your hands.

The bad thing about CFLs is the toxic substance mercury that helps CFLs produce light. Some of us remember watching balls of mercury bounce across our desks in science class. That probably explains a lot about our generation.

There are an equal number of pros for making the slow home-plate slide to CFLs. Such as:

-CFLs contain no more mercury than an old-fashioned thermometer.

This is still scary stuff, but the EPA says that you should clear the room for 15 minutes and pick up the pieces with a damp paper towel instead of a vacuum.

-CFLs can be recycled, contrary to popular belief.

Just trot on down to the closest IKEA. According to the popular television show “Glee,” there’s an IKEA in Lima, just past the palm trees and right next door to Target in the two-story shopping mall.

But the big nail in the incandescent light bulb’s coffin is in energy savings.

-A CFL uses about 75 percent less energy and lasts five years instead of a few months, translating to as much as a 12 percent discount on your utility bill.

CFLs can still save you money even if you leave them on for the recommended minimum time of 15 minutes. CFLs with the government’s Energy Star label are required to carry a two-year limited warranty, so if they burn out, return it with your dated receipt.

According to Dr. James Boulter, an associate chemistry professor and director for the Watershed Institute for Collaborative Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, one 14-watt CFL bulb can last 8,000 hours. If you are paying 10.5 cents a kilowatt hour, you will save $38.64 in energy costs with a CFL bulb versus using a traditional bulb.

And if you don’t like those squiggly, spiral-shaped CFLs, light-emitting diode lamps (LEDs) are more than twice as efficient.

Last month, our house was lit for Christmas by strings of solar lights. Having lived in dark apartments in my twenties and watching my beloved house plants die one right after the other meant any home with my name on the purchase agreement would have to let in substantial amounts of natural light. Therefore, there was enough morning and afternoon sun shining in our windows to recharge the cheap light string collectors and light the tree every night during the holidays.

If bidding a final farewell to the incandescent lightbulb saves any significant coinage from our grid fees, and lessens our carbon footprint, I’ll dry my tears and consider it a good start to 2014. One of these new years, I hope to fuel my car with a filter full of coffee grounds and a banana peel. It’s coming, if it doesn’t already exist, just as sure as the snow drift I’m stuck in today.