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Power Politics

California Proposes to Ban Incandescent Lightbulbs 1074

zhang1983 writes to tell us CNN is reporting that California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine wants to make his state the first to ban incandescent lightbulbs with the "How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb Act". The act will promote Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) to replace the inefficient incandescent lightbulbs. According to him, "Incandescent lightbulbs were first developed almost 125 years ago, and since that time they have undergone no major modifications, meanwhile, they remain incredibly inefficient, converting only about 5 percent of the energy they receive into light."
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California Proposes to Ban Incandescent Lightbulbs

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  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:51PM (#17831446) Homepage
    California Assemblyman Llyod Levine wants to make his state the first to ban incandescent lightbulbs with the "How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb Act"

    It takes a vote of more than half of the legislative body considering the measure. The full Assembly requires a majority vote of 41 and the full Senate requires 21, based on their memberships of 80 and 40 respectively.
    • Great!! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:08PM (#17831756)
      Now we have to wait for the ballast to warm up before inspiration strikes!
      • Re:Great!! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rapidweather ( 567364 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @09:31PM (#17836828) Homepage
        I replaced as many incandescent bulbs as possible in my house with these new lights.
        Sure, there are some left, but I'll go to the store and come back with more!
        You get used to them quickly, they do have a short hesitation before lighting up, and some require a warm up of a few minutes to reach full light. Most don't.
        I have one outside in the carport that comes on instantly, but it is an old style florescent, in a circle-shaped package. It really is instant, no problem.
        On one, you get about 35 watts of light (incandescent) for 7.5 watts. That one cost more, but I love it.
        Only problem is paying for all the new lights. Most people want a replacement bulb for one that has burned out, the cheapest they can get. The 7.5 wall bulb aforementioned was about $7.00. I hope it lasts forever...
        The sooner you replace those incandescent bulbs, the more you save. Can't use them on a dimmer controlled circuit, or one with an infared motion detector sensor. Probably not a good idea to replace the incandescents in the refrigerator, mine has several, in freezer also. You can try that, but some compact florescents are dimmer when cold.
        Here is a good link [lowes.com] for information on the new bulbs, and how they can save money.
        Get to the store, however, to find the less expensive bulbs in 4-packs, etc.
        That isle will have a lot of interested shoppers, so be forewarned.

    • by minion ( 162631 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:33PM (#17832178)
      I'm from the government and I'm here to help.
    • by unimacs ( 597299 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:08PM (#17832862)
      I work for an organization that promotes energy efficiency and we encourage people to replace standard bulbs with CFLs. The new ones are much better in terms of the quality of light, ability to fit inside common fixtures, reduced flicker and noise.

      There are, however, still many applications where CFLs just aren't a good choice.

      1. There are dimmable CFLs but they only dim so much and not very smoothly
      2. Not recommended for enclosed fixtures (trapped heat shortens life of electronics)
      3. Not recommended for use with photocells

      Another problem with CFLs is that quality is very uneven and people tend to buy the cheap ones. They should avoid CFLs without an Energy Star label.

      One good thing about CFLs is that they can produce quite a wide variety of light from a soft warm light to something very close to daylight. People often end up disappointed though because they don't know what to look for and they end up with a light that's too harsh or too dim looking for their tastes.

      A ban on incandescents doesn't make sense. You can't really ban them because they are still needed for certain applications. You could however tax them which would make CFLs seem more attractive.
      • by God'sDuck ( 837829 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:37PM (#17833394)
        It's also worth noting that fluorescents of all sorts are a very bad idea when working with fast-moving (repetitive) tools like lathes and drills, since Very Bad Things (tm) can happen if the RPM of the tool hits the same number of beats per minute as the ballast on the fluorescent light. That is to say, with the light flashing at the perfect rate, your eye will suddenly see the tool at the same point in its rotation on every rotation, instead of a motion blur, and if you're having a bad brain day, you might forget you have it turned on. Bye bye fingers.

        Fluorescents are also a pain for photographers, for the same reason -- flip your shutter at a faster frame rate than the ballast on the light and you'll see very bizarre things, like having two pictures in a row, one lit and the other not.

        anywho...not to say I'm against CFL's -- I'm not, I love them -- but there's a time and a place for "legacy" tech, and a ban would be dumb.
        • by GreenSwirl ( 710439 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @06:12PM (#17834046) Homepage Journal
          The dangerous stroboscopic effect only occurs if the fluorescent light source is using a magnetic ballast, which drives the light output to oscillate at the same frequency as the alternating current (60Hz in the USA). Electronic ballasts increase the oscillation frequency to something above 20000Hz, eliminating flicker and increasing energy-efficiency at the same time. Magnetic ballasts have been outlawed in commercial and residential applications, but are still allowed in some cheap "shop light" fixtures meant for garages and such, so watch out.

          Be aware that LEDs operated on AC exhibit worse flicker than the cheapest fluorescent. At least with a fluorescent, there is some light from the phosphors between cycles -- an LED goes completely dark between cycles. I recently examined dozens of brands of LED holiday lights -- every single one flickered like crazy. At least they made some cool effects when you swung them around.
  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:51PM (#17831458) Homepage
    As extreme as this legislation is, I hope it goes through, as long as there are provisions so that incandescents can still be used under certain circumstances. But as for everyday home lighting, the incandescent should be abolished.
    • by wiggles ( 30088 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:56PM (#17831530)
      The biggest problem I see is that you can't get a CFL bulb to work with a rheostat. There are far too many dimmer switches out there for this to be technically feasible at this point.

      Does anyone know if LEDs will work with dimmer switches?
      • by OwnedByTwoCats ( 124103 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:08PM (#17831774)
        Rheostats to dim lights would be incredibly inefficient and a potential fire hazard.

        Most dimmer circuits are choppers; they switch the circuit on and off 120 times a second. The fraction of time that the circuit is on increases as the knob is turned.

        Anyway, the easily-accessible CFLs are not compatible with dimmer circuits.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Znork ( 31774 )
        A google search for dimmable cfl will turn up several bulbs which can be dimmed. Apparently they've gotten that working these days.
      • by anagama ( 611277 ) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:11PM (#17831844) Homepage
        CFLs work with dimmer switches. I know I've seen them at Home Depot. And of course, there's this from GE's faq

        To use a compact fluorescent bulb on a dimmer switch, you must buy a bulb that's specifically made to work with dimmers (check the package). GE makes a dimming compact fluorescent light bulb (called the GE Longlife Plus Soft White Energy Saving Bulb) that is specially designed for use with dimming switches. We don't recommend using regular compact fluorescent bulbs with dimming switches, since this can shorten bulb life. (Using a regular compact fluorescent bulb with a dimmer will also nullify the bulb's warranty.)
        http://www.gelighting.com/na/business_lighting/faq s/cfl.htm#3 [gelighting.com]
        • Mod parent up (Score:3, Informative)

          by raygundan ( 16760 )
          Somebody had to point it out. Not all CF bulbs are dimmable, but dimmable ones are fairly easy to find if you look. I have a few recessed dimmable R30 reflector CF bulbs. You can find a replacement for nearly anything.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by glindsey ( 73730 )
        An LED bulb replacement that works with dimmer switches is a bit complicated, but doable. Typical LED bulb replacements will be using some sort of switching power supply inside them to convert the AC line voltage into a low DC voltage -- let's say 12 volts for the purposes of this writeup.

        A dimmer circuit works by varying the line voltage going to the socket. Problem is, typically this power supply isn't going to vary its output voltage in proportion to its input voltage -- it will output 12 volts regardl
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I'm not so sure about that- in that I've got a medical condition that CFLs cause me migraines. But if this will make (similarily efficient) LED arrays cheaper, I'm all for it.
    • by simm1701 ( 835424 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:03PM (#17831668)
      Ok for a state like california I can understand the reasons for this.

      Its hot there and you probably dont need an extra heat source.

      However the idea that incandescants are "bad" is really quite foolish.

      They take less energy to produce, are cheaper to produce and easier to dispose of (no heavy metals or polutants)

      The down side? atleast 80% of the energy they use goes to heat. Is this really a down side? Many people call this waste heat - but it certainly is not waste if it is doing something useful - like heating your house! I live in england - this means my central heating (electric) is on most of the year - it rarely gets warm enough for it not to be in use.

      Also given our latitude in the breif summer that we have it is also lighter much longer into the evening.

      This generally means that when the lights are on, the heating is also on. The heating is controlled by a thermostat - so until the room is at a certain temerature, the heaters will be on. If some of that heat is being provided by incandescant bulbs then it just means the heating comes on less.

      So that means all the energy is now useful... So given efficiency is useful work out / work in then for the above usage (which is common) incandescant bulbs provide 100% efficiency. Given the cost to produce and the polutants in the so called high efficiency bulbs is it really a good idea to switch?
      • by Clover_Kicker ( 20761 ) <clover_kicker@yahoo.com> on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:17PM (#17831952)
        Heating the ceiling with a light bulb is a terrible way to warm a room. There's a reason they place dedicated heaters close to the floor on outside walls.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Znork ( 31774 )
        "but it certainly is not waste if it is doing something useful - like heating your house!"

        Many heating solutions like ground source heat pumps, ventilation heat exchangers, etc, give more heat energy per electrical watt put into the system than lightbulbs. IE, heating your house with waste heat from lightbulbs might take twice as much electricity as running a heat pump. So even if the heat gets used, it's comparative waste.

        "it rarely gets warm enough for it not to be in use."

        Errr, sounds like you need to up
    • by HappyEngineer ( 888000 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:19PM (#17831986) Homepage
      Does anyone make a fluorescent bulb that doesn't make that high pitched noise? That noise drives me insane. I tried some fluorescents but switched back after a while because I just couldn't take the noise.

      There's also the issue of dimmer switches. Do they make fluorescents that can be dimmed? How can I dim the lights to create a romantic atmosphere if doing so causes the light to burn out?

      Then of course there's the color of the light. Most fluorescents give off a freaky white light. But, I know they make fluorescents that have the warmer color like incandescents, so there's no problem there.
    • I paid for my electricity, I should reasonable be able to use it to do whatever I want it.

      Powering an incandescent bulb is within reason. What's next? No P4s allowed since they waste so much energy too?

      Besides banning a particular type of bulb is totally stupid, it would be better to just have regulations on efficiency. As long as we're all being jerks about it just tax inefficient bulbs.


    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by danlyke ( 149938 )
      I keep buying compact flourescents in the hopes that they'll work out for me, but the darned things seem to have a half-life of about half a year. They get dimmer and dimmer until we end up switching back to incandescents so that we stop bumping into furniture.

      I love the concept, I'm a fan of lower energy usage, and when I've put in new fixtures I tend towards regular flourescent so that I've got the light with the lower bills, but until someone can show me how disposing of a CF bulb every half year is wort
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by alcourt ( 198386 )
      Sometimes when I buy a CFL, I end up having to either return it or throw it away. Not because of a defect, but because it produces a flicker that can't quite be seen that induces migraines in some people. This sensitivity isn't all that rare, I've known others who had a similar problem.

      I've been very reluctant to convert certain rooms of my house to CFL because of the fact that some CFLs give me problems after a few minutes, some take a few hours before the problem occurs. (Which is particularly importan
  • by MightyMait ( 787428 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:52PM (#17831464) Journal
    Hey! I'm counting on the incandescents to be inefficient--I use them to heat my home!!

    If they want to target something, let them ban electric heaters. People ought to be running P4 servers as space heaters. At least *do* something with all that electricity!
  • I don't like this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eugenia Loli ( 250395 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:52PM (#17831476) Homepage Journal
    I don't like this at all. My eyes hurt with fluorescent bulbs. They give me a headache. I prefer the more natural look and less-flickering of the current bulbs. Unless they fix the fluorescent bulbs to not be so intrusive, I don't like this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by glindsey ( 73730 )
      Fluorescent lights with electronic ballasts (which I'm almost positive all CFLs are) emit no flickering visible to the human eye; rather than strobing at 120Hz like cheap magnetic ballasts do, electronic ballasts typically operate in the 20kHz range.

      The color spectrum is another story; as another poster pointed out, changing or tinting the tube coating can help with this.
    • by MarkGriz ( 520778 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:09PM (#17831796)
      Dont worry. California legislators will simultaneously propose a bill to ban CFLs, because they contain a chemical
      known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.
    • Re:I don't like this (Score:5, Informative)

      by thule ( 9041 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:16PM (#17831948) Homepage
      If you can see the flicker from a modern fluorescent bulb with electronic ballasts, then you must have super human eyes! It is pretty rare to see new fixtures with magnetic ballasts these days. Those old ballasts certainly had flicker problems. Simply turning one of those old fixtures on would create a lightening effect until the bulb fully came on. If you spun a top under them you could clearly see the rate of flicker. Spinning a top under modern fluorescent (especially multi-bulb) shows only a hint of flicker pattern. If modern bulbs bother you, than a CRT would certainly bother you. I'm assuming that you never used computers or watched TV more than a few years ago before LCD's became popular since the flicker rate would have been worse than modern fluorescent bulbs. If you did, and it didn't bother you much, then I must say that your aversion to fluorescent bulbs may be psychological.

      With modern fluorescent bulbs, there is no reason not to use them. They come in warm and daylight temperatures now, so they can more closely reproduce a incandescent light or a daylight look. It is interesting to note that proofing tables (for graphic artists, printers, etc) have fluorescent lights in them. This seems to put weight behind the idea that fluorescents *can* produce good light.

      Personally, I bought a 68-watt MicroSun [microsun.com] lamp for my main living room to replace the stupid 300-watt Halogen. It's super bright and has a very good color index because it is a Metal Halide bulb.

      As far as the law goes.... what happens to the bulb that has been on for 100-years at that firestation in the Bay Area?
  • No, no... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eternauta3k ( 680157 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:53PM (#17831486) Homepage Journal
    While it's great they want to promote CFLs, I think this is excessive. What if you want to light an art room or something? Maybe there are exceptions for cases like those, but wouldn't it be better if they created incentives to use CFLs or maybe tax incandescents?
  • by ZipR ( 584654 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:53PM (#17831492)
    Don't most CFL's contain a small amount of mercury? What are we supposed to do with them when they go bad/break/whatever? Maybe this should also come with a CFL recycling bill.
  • by mcostas ( 973159 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:54PM (#17831504)
    Specific technology mandates or bans are a bad idea. However, rules requiring a certain efficiency of lighting would make sense. This could effectively ban incandescents and lead to replacement with CFL, but without getting unnecessarily stuck on a particular technology. For example, LED bulbs will probably soon be better than CFL. And of course we must believe in the American corporate ability to manufacture some sort of Hummer of CF bulbs that still manages to use 1 megawatt per room, while complying with a technology mandate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:56PM (#17831544)
    Politicians were invented over 2,000 years ago, and still spend only about 5 percent of their time writing legislation. I say be ban these inefficient politicians!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SScorpio ( 595836 )
      No they are too efficient. The 5% lead to bills like this. I say they should drop down to 0.5%. Remember that government is at it best when it does nothing.
  • Kind of shortsighted (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sokoban ( 142301 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:01PM (#17831622) Homepage
    Yeah, for home use in regular 120v sockets, CFL lightbulbs are more efficient than regular incandescents. Unfortunately, most CFLs contain mercury so disposal becomes an issue. Also, for larger applications, CFL bulbs are not practical. Take street lights for example, they use Metal halide or sodium bulbs which are in some cases considerably more efficient than fluorescents.

    CFLs are nice, and regular incandescent bulbs are on their way out for a number of reasons, but CFLs are far from perfect. Try finding a CFL replacement for a 40 watt chandelier bulb which offers good light without a ballast hum or warm up period for example. I've replaced most of my bulbs with CFLs now, but finding a good replacement for a 40 watt incandescent chandelier type bulb is damn near impossible.

    Oh yeah, and CFLs are still expensive as hell, which a lot of people don't like (even though they may save money in the long run). Replacing all the bulbs in my small house cost a few hundred dollars.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

      Oh yeah, and CFLs are still expensive as hell, which a lot of people don't like

      No, they are not. Only the good ones are expensive. My local Grocery Outlet is selling four-packs of ~20W CFLs for $2.00. The dollar store regularly has 1-packs and sometimes 2-packs. Before Grocery Outlet got them, I bought a couple of four-packs at a Friedman Bros. for $5 each.

      The problem with CFLs is that the GOOD ones are expensive. The ones that have decent color and don't make noise, that is.

      Outlawing incandescents mean

    • by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:45PM (#17832398)

      Unfortunately, most CFLs contain mercury so disposal becomes an issue.

      Depending on what they burn in your area to generate electricity, the mercury in the extra fuel needed to produce the extra juice needed to run an incandescent over a fluorescent's lifetime could exceed the mercury in a CFL.

      Take street lights for example, they use Metal halide or sodium bulbs which are in some cases considerably more efficient than fluorescents.

      Since those are gas-discharge lamps like fluorescents, I don't think you would ban them when outlawing incandescents.

      I've replaced most of my bulbs with CFLs now, but finding a good replacement for a 40 watt incandescent chandelier type bulb is damn near impossible.

      If you ever find anything, please let me know. I've tried the existing options, and they are very disappointing.

      Perhaps mandating a public service notice stuffed in (or printed on) each electric bill would be a better choice than an outright ban.

  • by amper ( 33785 ) * on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:09PM (#17831786) Journal
    As I mentioned in the last post on this topic, the vast majority of fluorescent fixtures I have come across in the last decade are horrible polluters of the RF spectrum. I have a recording studio in my house, and I *cannot* run fluorescent fixtures because of this problem. Despite using all balanced connections, there is a marked increase in the volume of the noise floor whenever I replace the incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, or when I use the long-tube traditional types.

    Not that I expect California's legislators to worry about this, even though CA probably has the largest concentration of movie, music, video, and television studios in the country, but what are they going to do to force the manufacturers of fluorescent fixtures (who are largely Chinese companies serving the megabox stores of America nowadays) to clean up their emissions?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nonillion ( 266505 )
      I'm glad to see someone else outside of the HAM radio community brining this issue up. I have several CFL lamps in my house, and for the most part, do not generate any harmful radio spectrum pollution. However, there is one '100 watt' CFL lamp in my laundry room that generates enormous amounts of spectrum pollution. Personally, I think LED lighting technology will overcome CFL. It's instant on, almost no heat and doesn't contain as many harmful ingredients (like mercury). And with service lifetimes exceedin
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by awing0 ( 545366 )
      Just shield your CFLs with foil or something. That'll stop those emissions.
  • by HazE_nMe ( 793041 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:16PM (#17831936) Homepage
    A good portion of the Mendocino and Humbolt county population are burning a combination of High-Pressure Sodium and Metal-Halide High Intensity Discharge lamps indoors. Some even for 24 hours per day. It is not too uncommon to find a room with 6 1000W lights burning for 24 hours per day for a few weeks, then a switch to 12 hours on/12 hours off for about 8 weeks.

    These homes usually have a very musky odor teamed up with the occaisional U-Haul or Ryder truck parked out front.
  • What's next? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by avalys ( 221114 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:19PM (#17831982)
    What's next from the People's Republic of California? Will they make it illegal to leave a light on when you're not in a room? How about making it illegal to keep your home warmer than 65 degrees in the winter, or cooler than 80 in the summer?

    Perhaps it should be illegal to drive instead of use public transportation? Illegal to drive a car that gets less than 20 mpg, or carries only two people?

    Perhaps they should ban CRT monitors and TVs, since flat-panels take up so much less power? Perhaps they should ban TV altogether, since it's a waste of electricity?

    Maybe they'll start prosecuting people who take warm showers, or stay in the shower too long.

    All you Democrats who complain about the administration's wiretapping, warrantless searches, and other invasions of our privacy, what do you think of this?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by JayPee ( 4090 )
      Stop interrupting, I'm busy peering into your windows checking to see if you left any lights on and timing the length of your showers..
  • by DreadPiratePizz ( 803402 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:32PM (#17832164)
    This would be awful for holywood. Film is either color balanced for incadescant light, or sunlight.
  • Better idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:39PM (#17832296) Homepage
    A better idea would be to tax them. An even better idea would be to increase the energy tax. That way you force people to make more energy-efficient decisions about all products, not just one particular type of light bulb. This is a case where economics can work for you, not against you. Bans like this also get complicated: What about cases where incandecent is the only option? What if someone makes a hybrid bulb? What if someone makes a more efficient incandecent? It all comes back to legislating technology (light bulbs), instead of legislating the real problem (energy use).
  • by korbin_dallas ( 783372 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:51PM (#17832520) Journal
    "People [Incandescent lightbulbs] were first developed almost 125,000 [125] years ago, and since that time they have undergone no major modifications, meanwhile, they remain incredibly inefficient, converting only about 5 percent of the energy they receive into light."

    Thus and so, I recommend that all Californians be unscrewed.

    Or screwed some more, I haven't decided yet.

  • by Shannon Love ( 705240 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:58PM (#17832666) Homepage
    I find it disturbing how quick many people resort to coercion to accomplish their goals. CFLs so clearly out perform incandescents that their eventual triumph in the free market is assured. Why do we need to hold a gun to people's head to drive their adoption? Will the use of threats of state power really accelerate the rate of adoption enough to justify it?

    Moreover, the coercive policy will almost certainly fail in its goal of reducing CO2 emissions. Since it takes more energy to construct CFLs, forcing their adoption will generate more CO2 emissions in the short run. History has shown that making a technology more efficient causes people to consume more of it usually to the point that the increased usage offsets the efficiency gains. Contemporary incandescent bulbs are orders of magnitude more efficient than Edison's bulbs yet we certainly do not use less electricity per capita for lighting. I doubt that CFLs will change this fundamental dynamic.

    Can we really justify imposing fines or even imprisoning people to enforce a policy that will almost certainly fail and would provide only modest benefit even if it worked perfectly?
    • by lxt518052 ( 720422 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @06:10PM (#17834010)
      CFLs so clearly out perform incandescents that their eventual triumph in the free market is assured.

      It's necessary to accelerate replacing incandscents with CFLs, because a lot of people either don't care, or simply don't get it. How many offices are left lit all night? How many SUVs do Americans drive? If only people had made more sensible choice, such regulations would never been thought off.

      Moreover, the coercive policy will almost certainly fail in its goal of reducing CO2 emissions. Since it takes more energy to construct CFLs, forcing their adoption will generate more CO2 emissions in the short run. Sounds plausible but let's do some simple calculation first. A CFL normally consumes 1/5 to 1/3 power of an equivalent incandescent bulb. Suppose a 60W incandescent bulb has a life span of 2000 hours and the CFL replacing it works twice longer (conservative figures, just for the purpose of illustration). The energy saved would be:
      4000 hours * 60W * (1- 0.25) - energy_needed_in_making_one_CFL + 2 * energy_needed_in_making_one_incandescent
      The first term comes to 180KW. Even if making one CFL need more energy than making two incandescent, which I highly doubt, the overall result is not likely to be negative or even a small positive. In other words, energy saving by using CFL is a considerably big NET GAIN.

      Parent post on /. and the fact it being moderated as interesting actually makes a great example for my first argument - some people either don't care or just don't get it, even in the presence of mounting evidence. It's a really sad thing.

  • by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:00PM (#17832714) Homepage Journal
    I recently made the switch to compact fluorescents in my basement (MY BASEMENT, not my parent's) and I have to say that it's been a disappointment from an aesthetic point of view. I actually ran through all three types from Home Dept (Daylight, Bright White and Soft). Daylight really blows since it's got a very strong bluish cast that makes everything look really depressing. Bright White makes everything look gray. Soft was the one I went with because it's the only one that came sort of close to regular light bulbs. But it's still too pink and has a tendency to make skin look yellowish. But it's the best compromise possible. The wattage change is great though. I bought the equivalent of 100W bulbs but they only use 27 watts each. That's four bulbs so I'm using only slightly more power than one regular bulb to power four bulbs. I sure hope they improve the technology.

    But just to put people in their place, I want to point out that fluorescent light technology isn't that much newer than incandescents: read this Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] entry on fluorescent lights. They are anywhere from 110+ to at youngest 80 some years old. Frankly, I am putting more stock in LEDs myself. For one thing, if the LED technology is improved, you'd be able to have bulbs that could be tuned to the correct color. Just imagine instead of having a dimmer, you have three RGB sliders that allow you to set the lights to ANY color you want. That's the way it SHOULD be. Aesthetics + efficiency. My personal interior design catch phrase is, "Lighting is EVERYTHING dahling".
  • save the world (Score:3, Interesting)

    by netsfr ( 839855 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:03PM (#17832762)
    I really like the idea of saving the earth by changing habits by using CFL's (and I do use them), I just wish that the retail packaging for them wouldn't be the big plastic encasements they come in (which I think are probably just as bad to the environment, as well as a hassle to open.)

    What ever happened to efficient packaging (not $ efficiency) - I mean we are already paying 10-20x to get a CFL, give it to me in a recycled box for $.20 more. Be green all the way, not just half way.

  • by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:39PM (#17833442)
    If doing something is good (installing energy saving bulbs), then it is only logical that the government throwing anyone who doesn't do the good thing in jail is also good! After all, a police state is a small price to pay to save a little bit of energy!

    Up next, I propose manditory minimum sentences of at least five years for people who don't floss (poor dental hygene hurts all of us! Including the children!) And only one of those gosh-darned extremist Libertarians would oppose the reasonable action of sending in a paramilitary SWAT team every time someone leaves their faucet running too long!

    And, without a doubt, reading blogs like Slashdot is harmful to your health... it keeps you from being outside and getting exercise! Not to mention the millions of lost man-hours to our economy caused by people reading Slashdot at work. And don't get me started on the energy wasted running the Slashdot servers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Only someone totally brainwashed by the Capitalist system to destroy the enviornment, and someone who hates Democracy and Social Welfare to the core, would suggest that we don't criminalize Slashdot!

    Thank god for the progressive state of California to realize that personal freedom and individual choice is simply a barrier to be smashed and destroyed in the struggle to make a better world!
  • by steve_bryan ( 2671 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @06:29PM (#17834298)
    Wow, a state full of people driving what amounts to Sherman tanks is now sanctimoniously telling people what type of lightbulb they can legally use? Will there be teams of lightbulb inspectors descending on homes in their black SUVs to insure compliance by the peasants?

    Here are a few free suggestions. If you strongly feel that CFL should be used instead of incandescant then buy them for your own damn home amd business. If you think it would be a useful application of public funds then propose that the state purchase and distribute CFL's for free or a much reduced price. But don't use the police power of the state to enforce your own fashionable whim of the moment. If this proposal does succeed then good luck dealing with the mercury poisoning.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972