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Light Bulb Ban Produces Hoarding In EU, FUD In U.S. 1080

Lucas123 writes "The very thought of losing that pear-shaped giver of warm, yellow light drove Europeans to hoard Edison's invention [Note: Or possibly Joseph Swan's invention; HT to eldavojohn.] as the EU's Sept. 1 ban on incandescent light bulbs approached. China's ban on incandescent lamps starts Oct. 1. And, in the U.S., the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 effectively began banning the 100W bulb this year and will ban the most popular bulbs — the 75W, 60W and 40W screw-in incandescent bulbs --over the next two years. The end standard requires bulbs to use 65% less energy by 2020. But Republicans in Congress continue to fight the ban by hamstringing the energy efficiency standards through appropriations legislation, cutting off funds for the enforcement of the light bulb ban."
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Light Bulb Ban Produces Hoarding In EU, FUD In U.S.

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  • by FBInvestor ( 2738801 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @10:56AM (#41449481)
    I don't think this can be blamed anyone else but Edison. Had he have the foresight to create energy saver light bulbs in the first place we would had been saved from lots of wasted energy and global pollution. Being also an inventor, I know to be both inventive and pollution-aware in my inventions.
    • by mellon ( 7048 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:03AM (#41449569) Homepage

      The irony is that there's now a huge market for modernized versions of the original edison bulbs, which radiate far more in the infrared and red, and far less in the colder portions of the spectrum. I was at a metting in the Andaz Hotel in downtown Manhattan last week, and they had chandeliers with maybe 20-30 of these bulbs each, producing very little light and a lot of heat, and then they had a separate cove lighting system so that we could actually _see_.

      So basically, a massive waste of energy solely for the purpose of fashion, which wasn't even at all attractive, and made several people quite uncomfortable because of the heat output. Oh, plus they probably had to crank up the AC to keep the room from overheating.

      It's a damned shame that Edison couldn't have invented the remote-phosphor LED lighting system, and instead forced Philips to do his dirty work a century later. But that's the way things go. Both he and Tesla were way too enamored of basic electricity. :)

      What astonishes me is that people aren't installing more of these Philips lights—they are amazing. You can't tell the difference between them and incandescents, but they last forever, use minimal power, and look _really_ cool (but don't look at them when they're on—they're _bright_!).

      • by danomac ( 1032160 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:25AM (#41449915)

        I can attest to this - I have retrofitted (over a year or so) my whole house with the Philips LED bulbs.

        I have a fixture with multiple bulb sockets, I put in a 60W incandescent in one and the Philips LED in the other, and I could not see a difference in colour temperature at all. They stay warm-ish to the touch so you don't have to worry about spot heating problems in your home, they're great. Now they just need a bulb that can operate in an enclosed fixture.

        It did help that our local power utility subsidized these bulbs, they're expensive - between $40 - $50 a pop. I got mine for half price because of the subsidy.

        • by NevarMore ( 248971 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:51AM (#41450415) Homepage Journal

          It did help that our local power utility subsidized these bulbs, they're expensive - between $40 - $50 a pop. I got mine for half price because of the subsidy.

          No you got yours for half price up front, with the remaining half coming from either your electric bill or taxes over time. No such thing as a free lunch.

          • It did help that our local power utility subsidized these bulbs, they're expensive - between $40 - $50 a pop. I got mine for half price because of the subsidy.

            No you got yours for half price up front, with the remaining half coming from either your electric bill or taxes over time. No such thing as a free lunch.

            Or p'raps the remaining half was paid for by his neighbors, who did not convert to energy efficient bulbs. Without examining the power company's books, you really have no idea who paid for lunch...

      • by popeye44 ( 929152 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:34AM (#41450073)

        Fucking Brilliant "pun intendend" require by code enforcement that every house have a dimmable switch or an automatic shutoff,
        Now make a law that says I cannot buy incandescent bulbs.. but if I put fluorescent bulbs in I burn out the switch or they use power constantly because they cannot be turned OFF.

        This is fucking ridiculous I'd rather heat my house with incandescent bulbs than continue to replace switches and burn out "energy saving" bulbs every 30 days. This is a waste of fucking time and my money.Just how environmentally conscious are we when we put 5 million fluorescent bulbs in the same landfill. 5 milligrams of mercury in each bulb which is enough to poison 6,000 gallons of water. I'm sorry but that just seems incredibly fucked up. When is the last time you immediately had to open a window and put on a mask in your house because you dropped an incandescent bulb.

          I'd give a LOT to have led's everywhere in a place where they would provide a good bit of light. My main issue is cost. I will indeed check the philips LED's.

      • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:35AM (#41450105) Journal

        The answer is "because they're freakishly expensive." $23 per lamp vs 44 cents for a 60 watt incandescent. In terms of running cost, that's 0.46c/hr of LED (at the 5000 rated hours**) vs .032c/hr for incandescent (GE lamps at Walmart, $21/48 lamps with a 1330hr rated life). Yes - that's more than a factor of 10.

        "But what about energy?" I hear you cry. Well, at 11c/kwh, it costs 11c x 0.0125w per hour for the led, or 0.1375 c per hour. The incandescent 60W it replaces - 11c x .060w = 0.66 c/hour.

        So I can get an LED for 0.60c/hr or an incandescent at 0.69c/hr. That seems like a pretty minor payback - a dollar of savings will take me burning the lamp for over 1000 hours - and I'm out $23 right now.

        *If this bulb does not last 4 years, return UPC and register receipt along with your name and address to GE Consumer & Industrial, Product Service Dept., 1975 Noble Road, Cleveland, OH 44112. GE will replace your bulb. So for $3-4 in packing and shipping I can get a new lamp if this one dies in four years, but if it dies in year 5, I'm SOL on a a $23 item. If my 60W blows early, I'm out 44c.

        **Rated life is 5000hrs per energy comparison data provided by Philips.

    • by Jessified ( 1150003 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:11PM (#41450725)

      Edison wasn't an inventor. He was a capitalist who stole things from other people.

      I read it once on the oatmeal so it must be true.
      http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla [theoatmeal.com]

  • Ban is dumb (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JMZero ( 449047 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:01AM (#41449541) Homepage

    Should be a tax. Encourage people to make the right choices, but don't screw people who have special circumstances or are willing to compensate society for the cost of their preference.

    • Re:Ban is dumb (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:09AM (#41449667) Journal
      Agreed, cigarettes are harmful too, but it's still legal to sell them. They just get taxed into oblivion. The same should be true for incandescent light bulbs.
      • Re:Ban is dumb (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Imsdal ( 930595 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:37AM (#41450133)
        No, the same should be true for "energy use", not "incandescent light bulbs". It's energy we should tax, not one particular thing that consumes energy but has other positive effects that the replacements don't have. (And, for the nitpickers, energy should be taxed high enough to regulate behaviour, but not "into oblivion", obviously.)
    • Re:Ban is dumb (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rockytopchip ( 1398125 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:09AM (#41449671)
      There already is a built in tax. Buy the less efficient bulb, pay more for energy costs. Some people prefer incandescent bulbs, do you want to take away their freedom to choose? Let the market decide the issue, keep government out of it.
      • Re:Ban is dumb (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Stirling Newberry ( 848268 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:17AM (#41449807) Homepage Journal
        Energy use is heavily subsdized, and the same people who hate bans, hate taxes even more. People aren't willing to pay taxes, so the next rung down has to be used.
      • Re:Ban is dumb (Score:5, Informative)

        by afidel ( 530433 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:40AM (#41450199)

        The problem is that the cost of energy as currently setup in the US does no account for negative externalities and every attempt to fix that situation has been blocked so they pushed through what they could (not that it makes any significant difference since domestic lighting is less than .1% of all energy use, but it was something they could take back to their voters who superficially care about the environment).

      • Re:Ban is dumb (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@@@worf...net> on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:51AM (#41450391)

        There already is a built in tax. Buy the less efficient bulb, pay more for energy costs. Some people prefer incandescent bulbs, do you want to take away their freedom to choose? Let the market decide the issue, keep government out of it.

        Actually, if you follow human behavior, you'd find that the "choice" would be limited to incandescent bulbs. Necessity is the mother of invention, and without these bans, we'd still be using incandescents - CFLs would be a niche, and white LEDs a purely decorative thing. Instead we have CFLs of all shapes, sizes, instant-on, dimmable, "cool" vs. "warm". And we have LED lights that are practically indistinguisable from incandescent (which are actually getting cheaper - from $100 to under $40 and much less on sale).

        And the ban wasn't on incandescents, it was a ban on inefficiency. If you can make a more efficient incandescent (I believe GE has - it's nowhere near as efficient as a CFL or LED, but it is above the efficiency threshold), it can still be sold.

        So even incandescents have improved in efficiency. How is that a bad thing? More innovation in the humble light bulb.

        If you don't force companies to adapt, they'll continue doing the same old thing every day. Even giant rich ones - remember the Montreal Protocol and CFC-free asthma inhalers? They had a quarter of a decade to phase out CFC usage, and they only complain about "tight" deadlines a couple of years prior to when their exemption expires. Well, yes it's a tight deadline if you only started at the second half of the first decade of the millennium, but you did have well over a decade prior to develop new propellants in time for approvals.

        It's very rare that industries see change coming and start to embrace it, though even that came with pushes and shoves. E.g., general aviation currently uses 100LL avgas - it's still a leaded fuel and demand is quite low (basically the only refinery can produce the annual supply in a day), requires special handling (leaded and unleaded gas require separate processing equipment to prevent contamination), and special licensing. Plus, there's only one source in the world of tetraethyl lead, from the UK. And with environmentalists clamoring with the EPA over regulation of leaded fuels (FAA is overriding that for safety reasons), the writing's on the wall for leaded gas. So what happened is the entire industry is getting together to do a pile of R&D to produce the next-gen unleaded avgas, compatible with 100LL and leaded engines. (The requirements are different enough that while the auto fleet switched to unleaded in a few years in the 80s, a lot more work would go in recertifying aircraft to use unleaded).

        Hell, see telephone and cable companies with what's happening with VoIP and streaming. Or the music and movie industry.

        Industries have to be pushed to change.

      • Re:Ban is dumb (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:11PM (#41450729) Homepage

        The problem is the energy difference is almost insignificant when the bulb cost is factored in. If the bulbs were the same price there might be a point to it all, but that is far from the case.

        Even the cheap Chinese-made CFL bulbs are 10x what an incandescent bulb costs and the promised lifespan hasn't materialized for most people. So you get a bulb that lasts 2x but costs 10x. Yes, there is lower energy use and lower energy costs, but the difference is pennies.

        Maybe the solution is to make electricity too expensive to use - you know, something like $1.50/Kwh. That would make CFL and LED bulbs far more cost effective - except that I think most people would simply be forced to do without.

        So, how about some real energy savings? Everyone can go outside and bottle up some fireflies. We could have a new company that sells bottled-up fireflies for home use. Anyone know what the lifespan of a bottle of fireflies is?

    • by bedroll ( 806612 )

      The tax wouldn't be as effective as the ban. The ban was needed to push the industry forward and enable them to be profitable making the newer, more efficient bulbs. The tax would need to be exorbitantly high for cheap-to-produce incandescent bulbs to be as expensive as the more efficient bulbs. If the price isn't adjusted enough for competition then no manufacturer could invest in the infrastructure to produce the new bulb, it would be too risky, and thus adoption would be slowed. The most telling part of

    • Should be a tax. Encourage people to make the right choices, but don't screw people who have special circumstances or are willing to compensate society for the cost of their preference.

      Should be but won't be. Republicans break out in hives if you try to raise taxes even for a good reason. Economically it makes sense but politically it is impossible.

      • by nwf ( 25607 )

        Should be a tax. Encourage people to make the right choices, but don't screw people who have special circumstances or are willing to compensate society for the cost of their preference.

        Should be but won't be. Republicans break out in hives if you try to raise taxes even for a good reason. Economically it makes sense but politically it is impossible.

        And the democrats are scared to death of raising taxes because it will be used against them in the next election. So we have two parties who won't raise taxes, even if it would help the country, for different reasons. Not much difference in the end.

    • by rcb1974 ( 654474 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:16PM (#41450807) Homepage
      This should not be the roll of government in my opinion. Let the free market decide. Yes, CFLs and LEDs have their place, but so do incandescent bulbs! If people want to buy incandescent bulbs, they should be allowed to get them at affordable prices. Let me tell you two stories about how incandescent bulbs are better than CFLs or LEDs.

      My father and I used to work on cars together all year round including the winter. The trouble light we used had an incandescent 100W bulb. We used it for light AND heat! Anytime our hands got cold after gripping a freezing wrench, we would just place them around the light bulb and warm them up quickly. Now, the government is stepping in and telling me that they're smarter than me and that I need to use a CFL or LED bulb instead, which doesn't output nearly as much heat. So instead of having 1 power cord to deal under a freezing car, I am going to have to have 2; one for a light, and another for a heat source. LAME.

      I know someone who replaced bulbs on a airport runways. The heat from incandescent bulbs is advantageous in street lights and runways in cold climate because the heat melts the snow which would obscure the light emitted from the bulb!

      I am tired of the government pretending to be smarter than the invisible hand of the free market. Rand Paul talked about this. Search for: light bulbs rand paul congress.
    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      And not a tax on bulbs but a tax on electricity consumption or CO2 emission. But that would also hurt the really big wasters of energy, the big companies with deep pockets. Also, what if someone invents an incandescent bulb with efficiency comparable to fluorescent ones, would that be banned too? This is not regulation, this is planned economy.
      There are many uses where incandescent is better: if you only use it for short periods of time (in a fridge,garage,basement etc.), if you live in a cold area (and thu

  • Labelling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <{john} {at} {hartnup.net}> on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:02AM (#41449551) Homepage

    Is there yet a way to tell at time of purchase whether a CFL bulb is going to warm up in an acceptable time?

    I'm assured that bulbs exist that reach a decent brightness in under 10 seconds, but I have yet to manage to buy one.

    • Re:Labelling (Score:5, Informative)

      by agallagh42 ( 301559 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:24AM (#41449893) Homepage

      Is there yet a way to tell at time of purchase whether a CFL bulb is going to warm up in an acceptable time?

      I'm assured that bulbs exist that reach a decent brightness in under 10 seconds, but I have yet to manage to buy one.

      I've had good luck with the Philips Warm White CFL bulbs. They have a colour that is almost exactly the same as incandescant (I can't tell the difference by looking at them) and they turn on to full brightness instantly. Literally a small fraction of a second, with no flickering at all.

    • Re:Labelling (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcmonkey ( 96054 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:24AM (#41449899) Homepage

      Came here to say the same.

      I could mod you up, but instead I'll just say, every time I bitch about warm up time in one of these threads, someone replies that I should buy a bulb made this century or by a good manufacturer. Yet no one ever has an example of which ones are the "good manufacturers."

      I had a service come in to do an energy audit on my home. I expected to hear a lot about insulation and drafty windows. Instead the guy just went through and changed all the bulbs he could to CFLs. I've also purchased CFLs in the past. These are GE and Sylvania bulbs.

      1. These bulbs do not last as long as advertised. I've been in my house for 8 years and there are fixtures that have had bulbs burn out at least twice (ie, fixtures on their 3rd CFL bulb in 8 years).

      2. Dimmable? If you consider going from off to warming up to on dimmable, then yes. If you mean on demand dimmable with a dimmer switch, then no not dimmable.

      3. Warm up time. True story: a couple days after I had my "energy audit" I'm a the foot of my stairs and flip the switch for the lights at the top of the stairs.

      Nothing happens. It's a 3-way with the other switch at the top, so I flip it back, wondering if the lights were on and I had just turned them off. But still nothing. I give another few flips, still nothing. I'm very puzzled, because light switches are usually very reliable. I don't remember ever having to replace a regular light switch that stopped working.

      Then I look up. The switch is working. The lights are coming on. It's just they are so dim, unless I am looking directly at the bulbs, I can't tell if they are on or off.

      My daily routine used to be to come home from work, go to my bedroom, turn on the over head light, change out of my work gear in to evening wear, and then go about my night. Now, I come home, go to the bedroom, turn on the over head light, turn on the night stand light, make sure I leave the door open with the hall light on, so I can see while I'm changing. By the time I'm done, all the bulbs have warmed up and I'm squinting from the brightness, but by then I'm leaving the room and turning all those lights off.

      So if someone has a line on CFLs that don't need minutes to warm up, please share! Until then, I'm going through what CFLs I have and as they burn out, replacing them with real light bulbs that work.

      I realize technologies take time to mature and I understand the concept of a public beta test, but CFLs are being pitched as a final product when they aren't nearly as good as the thing they are supposed to replace.

      • Re:Labelling (Score:5, Informative)

        by afidel ( 530433 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:47AM (#41450315)

        The GE CFL's that Walmart and Samsclub sell will reach 90+% brightness in about 2-3 seconds and 100% in under a minute. As far as the dimable CFL's, they are available but they don't dim as far, and those do take considerable time to warm up. I stopped buying them after the first purchase and now purchase the energy efficient halogen bulbs for my downstairs can lights that are on a dimmer, they're about halfway between a traditional incandescent and a CFL in efficiency and won't be banned under the efficiency guidelines.

    • One guaranteed for quick brightness is to look for the label "LED"

      It also seems to be a guarantee for $$$

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:10AM (#41449679) Homepage

    The light bulb ban is for the old incandescent. the halogens are NOT banned and work just as good and look just as good. It's all nutjobs that got foaming at the mouth over misinformation. If they had actually taken the time to go and educate themselves instead of listening to the sensationalist talking heads trying to tun something moot into a news story to milk they would have known this.

    Your only choise is not only LED or "curly que" CFL bulbs. And anyone that took 3 minutes to look it up would have known this.

    • I think the problem that rubs people the wrong way is the government issuing an outright ban. It's "protecting me from myself" style of legislation. Don't misunderstand that point - I'm in favor of bans for things that are legitimately harmful (for example, lead-based pipes, using asbestos in residential homes). But when they start using bans to make "the proper choice" for me, it becomes a slippery slope.

      There are better methods to handle this situation. As other commenters have said, give people inc
  • by ubergeek65536 ( 862868 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:10AM (#41449681)

    Why not just change the law so a store can't sell incandescent bulbs cheaper than CFL or LED? You wouldn't need to ban them to have the save effect.

  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:16AM (#41449793) Homepage

    This ban was signed into law by the Bush Administration [wikipedia.org].

    And now, after putting it in place, the Republicans NOW object?

  • by leromarinvit ( 1462031 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:20AM (#41449839)

    So, how many Republicans does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

  • by theendlessnow ( 516149 ) * on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:25AM (#41449919)

    The ban is really about child obesity and preventing further use of the Easy Bake Oven.

  • Bulbs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JBMcB ( 73720 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:27AM (#41449963)

    The *vast* majority of electricity consumed in the US is from the industrial and commercial sectors, who already almost exclusively use fluorescent lighting. Residential lighting electricity use is a drop in the overall bucket. This legislation is silly.

    I'll be stocking up on GE Reveal incandescent bulbs - the best reading bulbs in existence. The new GE Edison halogen bulbs are also very good, but with the rather insane push for CFL's, they are hard to find. I'll be upgrading to LEDs once the price is right, and the dispersion problems are fixed. Screw CFLs, they are the discrete flip-chips of the lighting world (for the uninitiated, nearly obsolete upon introduction)

  • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:32AM (#41450051)

    So what, realistically are the replacements? CFL is out for me, since -40 weather is hard on them. Also I have 20 pivot irrigation systems that have telltale lights on them and CFLs would burn out in a week there (end tower light turns on and off with the motor at least once a minute, and some center tower lights have blinkers on them). My shop has a bunch of 200W rough service bulbs as well. CFL is not going to replace that. I understand there are cold-weather flourescent tubes I can install, but they are much more expensive than incandescents, and the fact they are only turned on for days out of the year total makes any efficiency benefits moot.

    Someone mentioned before the ban isn't on incandescents per se, but on inefficient bulbs. So will there be higher-efficiency incandescents out there? Some sort of hybrid? Besides CFL and LED, what is really happening in the the incandescent area?

  • by dtjohnson ( 102237 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:36AM (#41450115)

    'Bans' take all other factors out of the decision on what to use. The only real screw-in alternative to an incandescent bulb is the 'compact fluorescent' bulb although the LED screw-ins may eventually improve their performance and lower their cost enough to make them another alternative. However...the CFL bulbs have a lot of limitations. They have very low light output when they are powered up and need several minutes to warm up enough to reach full output. That makes them a very poor choice for lighting fixtures that are powered up for only a few minutes at infrequent intervals. The lifespan of a CFL bulb decreases dramatically to the same or less than an incandescent bulb when powered up for only short periods of time. Even when warm, the CFL maximum light output decreases by 20 to 30 percent over the life of the bulb. CFLs generally have a lower light output than a comparable incandescent bulb if you rely on the manufacturer 'equivalent to a xx-watt bulb labelling so your room, when lit with CFLs in the same lighting fixtures, is likely to be quite a bit dimmer. CFLs are supposed to have a life of 6,000 to 15,000 hours but my experience in real-world use has been less than 2,000 hours at best. Finally, CFLs are a very poor choice for any lighting that is not in a heated space as they will not even start in cold temperatures and, if they do start in cool temperatures, will put out a very low amount of light. In spite of these limitations, CFLs are an excellent choice in some locations such as a heated space that is powered up for long periods of time. However, the 'ban' will result in CFLs being used everywhere with predictable poor results. A 'ban' for something like a light bulb is like using a hammer to swat a fly...heavy-handed with poor results.

  • by drdrgivemethenews ( 1525877 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:37AM (#41450135)
    Unbelievably bad, that is. The light is poor and barren. I have yet to see a "100w equivalent" that was even close to being as bright as a 100w incandescent. Some of them have a power factor of 0.5, which means they're actually half as "energy efficient" as the label says. And "long-lasting"? Not in my experience. But hey, at least they're expensive.

    The lighting industry has got to be gleefully rubbing its hands over these regulatory moves.

    The building inspector made me replace 160 watts of very nice halogens in my new kitchen with 160 watts of fluorescents because the code says half of the lighting in a kitchen has to be "energy efficient". The overall lighting level went down considerably with this change, in part because the halogens give directed light and decent looking fluorescents don't, and also because halogen light is a lot nicer. Of course the change was reversed the same day the inspector signed off. The $120 fluorescent fixture I was forced to buy now illuminates an area of my home that I don't spend much time in--the laundry room.
  • by aabrown ( 154032 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:39AM (#41450175)

    There sure is a lot of misinformation out there. Much of it seems to have come from right wing talk. Incandescent light bulbs are not going to be banned.
    Here is the straight dope from the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/26/garden/fearing-the-phase-out-of-incandescent-bulbs.html?_r=2pagewanted=all&

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:51AM (#41450397)

    Have you ever taken a CFL apart? I have. There's an astonishing amount of electronics in that small base; it's required to transform line voltage into a potential sufficiently high to ionize the gas in the fluorescent tube. How much energy goes into the manufacture of these electronic components? How much of the electronics is either re-used or recovered as raw material when these bulbs are 'recycled', as opposed to the materials, (and the energy that went into their manufacture), being disposed of in landfills? I have been unable to find answers to these questions, and I think they're important. There's a lot more 'stuff', in a CFL, with a much wider range of chemical compositions, than in an incandescent bulb, so it's harder and more energy-intensive to fully recycle.

    Then there are the special interests of the various stakeholders and their lobbyists - for a discussion of this, see http://ceolas.net/#li1ax [ceolas.net] . Does anyone really believe that 'saving energy' is a primary, or even an important, motivation for the manufacturers and patent holders of CFLs? Given that, what might they be hiding, and how much spin has been applied to the figures the provide vis-a-vis total energy savings?

    If the powers that be were really serious about saving energy and the environment by encouraging CFL use, they would mandate two things: 1) A a high minimum standard of longevity for the electronics in the bases of CFLs, and 2) A means of replacing the tube only when it burns out, so the most complex and least homogeneous part of the bulb, (the base with its electronic circuitry), can be re-used numerous times. But guess what? That reduces the profit margins and raises both the cost and the price, making the whole proposition both less economically attractive and less politically palatable. If 'energy saving' was the true motive behind this legislation, these things would have been incorporated into CFL design by now.

    The problems of the EMI and RFI that CFLs generate, and their crappy power factor, are points for further investigation for those interested. As are the problems with LED lights and their greater negative effects on melatonin production, with the accompanying decrease in health for those exposed to them.

    This whole topic is a lot more complex and nuanced than most people realize, and I suggest that anyone reading this might want to do a little digging before giving in to a knee-jerk reaction of either "But, but... the environment!" or "But, but... I like the old ones!"

Long computations which yield zero are probably all for naught.