Ban the Bulb

good light bulbAn interesting new report reveals that global energy use could be reduced by 10% through a global switch to energy efficient light bulbs and lighting systems. Lighting is a major source of electricity consumption accounting for 19% of the world's use of electricity. There is a growing movement to Ban the Bulb – the phasing out and replacement of still widely used traditional incandescent light bulbs which are 100 years old and grotesquely energy inefficient. Newer compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) (search) cost more initially, but are 2/3 more efficient and in the long term save money, energy and the environment. As government's mandate a widespread change and subsidize these new light bulbs, economies of scale will further drive down the upfront costs for new CFLs. Where is national and global leadership to implement such a perfectly achievable way to fight climate change, conserve electricity and end energy wars?

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9 Responses

  1. Larry Cornell says:

    Yes the bulbs are more efficient but many people do not like the quality of light they give off. This means that one of the major incentives facing any change in product use is against us. Also if we could reduce our energy demand by 10% but do not put growth caps in place we would quickly find ourselves using just as much electricity.
    REPLY: While the light quality may have been an issue in the past, in my experience the latest generation have light that is virtually indistinguishibl. Yes, overall growth will overwhelm these gains, but you have to start somewhere to massively ramp up energy efficiency to stop global warming and a 10% gain in efficiency from a relatively simple action using existing commercially available technology is an easy low hanging fruit and should in my opinion be done immediately.

  2. Novell says:

    Governments particularly those in africa will surely cut their spending on power supplies if these light bulbs are made compulsory to domestic and industrial use, this in turn would force manufacturers of energy wasting bulb products to change course!
    I am particularly interested in the advocacy and awareness of the formulation of policies that reward importation or manufacture of cost-cutting energy savers.

  3. MAN-MADE CLIMATE CHANGE NULLIFICATION, a fait accompli in slow motion?
    How will the super-powerful Energy Cartel be able to successfully discourage enough individuals from switching to this everlasting cornucopia of cheap homemade energy that will gradually neutralize any and all man-made climate changes?

  4. Doug Lowthian says:

    I agree that the quality of the light was not great a few years ago. It was also hard to find CFLs to fit certain low profile fixtures like ceiling fixtures and also in lamps that have a shade that sits on top of the bulb. But those problems have been solved. My whole house has compact flourecent bulbs including ceiling fixtures, all types of lamps, outdoor lights, track lights and spot lights. Looking to go to LED lights for night lights for the kids rooms. There really is no excuse anymore not to switch to CFLs. Just Do It. 🙂

  5. Jim Jordan says:

    CFLs save me about $20.00 a month on my electric bill. I like them for general purpose lighting. They work very nicely for hard to reach areas where you need a ladder to change them, as they last much longer . (less risk). The down side is if you need perfect color correction they havent gotten there yet. A good old incandesent reading lamp is easier on the eyes . CFLs are a stopover for solid state lamps, yet to be perfected . Notice the automotive use of these lamps . One final comment Our well meaning government should encourage the change away from incandesent , not mandate it .

  6. viv says:

    do you have any idea the mercury, lead and other heavy metal content of CFLs?
    have you looked into the amount of polution/energey used to manufacture CFLs, vs the edison bulb?
    I think you will find, CFLs to be an environmental disaster waiting to happen, not an environmental savior.
    I suggest you look into LED bulbs, they may have the qualities environmental profile you are wishing upon CFLs.
    RESPONSE: You are quite right that mercury in CFLs in an issue that has gotten little play. They need to be disposed of propoerly. We are not as familiar with LED but will look into it. Thank you for thinking critically and going against the common wisdom. That is what we try to do here.

  7. Holland brown says:

    The CFL's do not last like they say they do- they regularly go out on me after anywhere from 6 mo to 1 year- on a bulb that claims 5 years. They are still too expensive for the service life- and like said above, that arguement is supported by the high up-front cost- and the manufacturing processes that go into making them have to be looked at as well- all hidden from the consumer- I still use them, but I am beginning to keep a running tab on life vs. purchase cost vs. real energy savings. If they really lasted like they say, yeah, it would be a good deal. I personally get my feelings hurt when I buy an expensive bulb that craps out in 6 mo.
    I know this isn't about cost to the consumer- it is about saving energy as a whole- but consumers are not gonna go for it until it is as good or better than incandescent- with no downsides.

  8. Section9 says:

    Instead of switching to CFL bulbs that contain mercury, its now time to switch to LED bulbs that last longer without mercury toxins of CFL, and they are now at a much lower price than before

  9. Dan B says:

    CFL Do Last – I have four CFLs in our basement that are switched on daily – and I have had them in there for 10 years. If you buy the super cheap CFLs, then maybe you have a case (but the economics are still valid).

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