2007/02/21

Lies, Damn Lies, and Fluorescents

Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) has proposed legislation mandating the use of fluorescent bulbs in the state of California, an effort to totally phase out incandescents by 2012. Predictably, Mr. Levine is getting criticized from all sides:
  • By bulb manufacturers who claim that it's technically infeasible -- a lie
  • By retailers who claim there is no market demand -- a fib, since many outlets simply refuse to stock the bulbs despite their availability
  • By the GOP that refuses to consider any energy-saving measure that isn't "market-driven"
  • By the MSM that has taken to dumping on "wacky Californians"
  • By bloggers who've taken up the old meme that fluorescents are bad for autistic children and epileptics -- a lie of omission since modern fluorescents are better shielded and even incandescent bulbs can produce the "flicker" that triggers seizures in the photosensitive
Thus, it seems unlikely that California will follow the path that Australia is already on, but the facts don't lie. A modern 20w compact fluorescent will last 8 times longer than the the 100w incandescent it replaces, and over it's whole 8000 hour life time will use a total of 160 kWh. Your incandescent, during it's 1000 hour lifetime, will use 100 kWh.

So basically, don't be like the short-sighted asses who make up reasons not to use fluorescents. Save money and energy...because the powers that be are going to make sure that governments don't intervene.

23 Comments:

I systematically replaced all my incandescent bulbs a couple of years ago as they burned out. It's really nice to not have to be replacing them every few weeks. To my eye though, the 13W compacts, which supposedly put out the same light as a 60W incandescent, are just slightly less bright. I think it has to do with what spectral band the light is in. I much prefer the 23W compacts that replace 100W incandescents, but they are quite a bit more expensive here in Canada.

One other thing that you must alert everyone to. USED FLOURESCENTS OF ALL KINDS MUST BE DISPOSED OF AS HAZARDOUS WASTE. They contain mercury, which is a neurotoxin. Consult your local municipality for details on regulations and provisions for handling and disposal. That applies to the old style tubes too, not just the compacts.
USED FLOURESCENTS OF ALL KINDS MUST BE DISPOSED OF AS HAZARDOUS WASTE.

That's an excellent point SadButTrue, and everybody needs to keep this in mind.

My only complaint with fluorescents is that with some of the more cheaply made ones, I can hear a faint hum--bothersome if I'm within a couple of feet, not so much if I'm across the room.
I agree on this point. Whatever is best for energy...
How about phosphorescent instead? Okay, so that's not feasible...I guess flourescents it is. We use em in our house...good enough for us, good enough for our governments, no?
When will the Right say, "I see the light!?"
Sumo... What I really need now is good fluorescent solutions for track lighting replacement. Can't find anything in stores, a bit online, but not usually compatible.

Windspike... Well LED is coming, I imagine that phosphorescent is a bit further out.

Fred... Probably never.
I work for an environmental organization, and we recently received a sad communication from a Resmuglican group (you'd recognize many of the names on their letterhead, oh yes) wanting to ally with us. They say they've decided to work on a greener agenda. So, the 2006 election has made an impact on some on the Right Wing.

And get this they want a Resmuglican from our group to address them at an upcoming conference--the funny thing is that we don't have anyone fitting that description.

BTW, LED has come a long way in the last couple of years--I just put a Princeton Tec Corona on my commuter bike, and it's amazingly good for $50.
Hey Kvatch, you know who is really behind this move?

The porn industry!!

Levine's porn buddies in the San Fernando Valley prefer fluorescent lighting. Incandescent flickering interrupts filming. Plus, skin glows much nicer under fluorescent light!
Mr_Blog... So where they willing to accept a 'non-partisan' speaker?

Comandante... Porn?! No surprises there I guess--always the early adopters they are. ;-)
Not sure what we're going to do. The thing that annoys is that our organization's primary issue-area is nonpartisan, and we are officially nonpartisan.

The Resmuglicans still think they can make everything about party, and not the good kind. Oh well, baby steps.
i am just going to say- that i have been replacing the bulbs with the swirly looking ones- and they work just fine. mine don't hum and they put out plenty of light. my next project is sealing up my drafty house and slowly replacing the drafty windows. eventually have to replace the heater- but hopefully not until next year. my point being- we have to start somewhere and if we can get everyone- rethugs included- into that mindset- we may have a shot yet at saving our planet.
Mr_Blog...wait, let me get this straight. Are you saying that they're not willing to have someone talk to them unless the person is a Republican? That's nuts!

Betmo...no truer words. We all have a responsibility to do all we can to reduce our consumption.

As we speak, the Frogette and I are having our heaters replaced and, though there is no real need, swapping in programmable thermostats for the older ones--keep those temps comfortable but slightly lower, not to mention keeping the heaters off during the day.
If only logic and facts could prevail in this country.

Does it say in the Bible somewhere that thou must use incadescent lights?
I have almost changed over all my bulbs to fluorescents. We have a few left that still need to be changed, but we change them as they die and a few are being stubborn
Are you saying that they're not willing to have someone talk to them unless the person is a Republican?

At the moment, although they then qualified it with an "if possible." It may be a matter of staying within the comfort zone of some of their members. Baby steps.h
We, too have been replacing with fluoresents and have had no problems. LED is coming and I think that will be a bigger boon.
I remember decades ago when bioluminescence was the next great thing. Fireflies produce light many times more efficiently than the best electrical techniques. But science could never come up with a solution that evolution stumbled on in only a few billion years. (but I must warn you, if you believe in evolution or that the Earth is billions of years old, you're probably going to hell. /sarcasm )
I do agree that energy-saving exterior lighting should be mandatory. This can be accomplished by requiring mfrs to use sockets that will not accept incandescent bulbs. But I don't agree with a mandatory changeover for interior lighting, esp for residential users. For one thing, the price diff. For another, the TYPE of light put out by CFLs. There are many places CFLs are appropriate (esp in hard to reach places), but some places they are horrid. I will NEVER put on my make-up under any light but incandescent (or even better, natural sunlight), no matter how many 24-cent incandescents I must replace each year. It's not all about energy-saving either. There is the issue of full spectrum light (which mimics natural sunlight) vs narrow spectrum light of the common cheaper fluorescents. some European studies show people who spend over 4-hrs a day working under cheap common fluorescent lights (the ones that put off a slightly bluish light) suffer much higher incidence of headaches, nervous tension & even (gasp) brain tumors! Of course, we here in amerika don't care about such things. If we did, we would demand the CFL's being pushed as energy-savers be the full-spectrum kind. Even changing ALL your outdoor lighting to solar or fluorescent & about half your indoor lighting to CFLs will only yield a small drop in energy use. Heating & A/C, Refrig, W/D & W/H remain the biggest household energy-gobblers. ~~ D.K.
Does it say in the Bible somewhere that thou must use incadescent lights?

Polishifter...actually I think the verse is Leviticus and says that you're supposed to to use whale oil.

Scott... We're not waiting, but there are no replacements for some of the lights we've got installed.

Mr_Blog..."baby steps," indeed! Just don't tell 'em the political affiliation of the speaker. 'Course I'm a jerk! ;-)
Peacechick... See everyone who reads this blog is converting. Guess I need to find a wider audience. :-)

SadButTrue... I not only believe that the earth is only 4000 years old but that bioluminescence is the work of The Evil One.

For one thing, the price diff.

D.K... This makes no sense. Using contemporary pricing (i.e., what I could find at Target), CFLs come up 50% to 75% cheaper of their lifetime and that's not considering the energy saving. As for the harsh light. I don't usually have a problem unless the bulbs are exposed to my vision directly.
hey, don't get me wrong Kvatch. I think every bit of energy-saving does add up! I was only pointing out the price diff wasn't worth it in certain locations (like my make-up area).

But I am curious if you've ever had a CFL live up to its stated life hours? The lab test for that rating involves turning the light one ONCE & leaving it run until it burns out. In real life, people turn them on & off which lowers the actual life of any fluorescent. Also, there is a point well before they burn out where they start flickering & buzzing so much, even a non-epileptic couldn't stand it. I wonder what their real-use life is.

One other incandescent point (which I'm NOT pushing, just pointing out) is they are also available in a longer-life 130-volt version (avg life = 2500 hrs when run on 120-volt which is what your home is supplied with). ~~ D.K.
But I am curious if you've ever had a CFL live up to its stated life hours?

You know D.K... that's an excellent question.

In my home, I couldn't tell you because we only started using CFL's about 9 months ago. Haven't had one fail yet, but that only amounts to about 1500 hours of usage.

However, our building has been using them for our hallway lighting for about 3 years and since these lamps are on 24/7, we're getting about 10000 hours out of them.
I agree with d.k., I'm all for saving energy but I don't like the mandated aspect of having to use these bulbs everywhere. I have vision problems and the only lights I have found that don't bother me are the traditional bulbs coated either a pink or a biege to soften the light. In some areas where a light is contained in a traditional ceiling type fixture it's fine but in my traditional lamps and in my bathroom I will not use a flourescent and I don't feel I should be forced to. Encourage people to switch over, educate them on the benefits but not force...

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