Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Great Lightbulb Debate

Some of the tabloid media are having a field day over the rather hamfisted attempts of the UK government to gradually phase out "traditional" lightbulbs.
A debate was started on Urban 75 which has raised some good points and helps to dismiss some of the more far fetched myths about the current situation, so I will post some of the more relevant posts here.
First one of the resident Toryboy reactionaries on Urban stated the Daily Telegraph Case for the prosecution:

Alright
Traditional Lightbulbs Being Phased Out
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...ned-by-EU.html

The traditional "candescent" bulbs are said to use more energy than the new, chunky "Fluorescent Lumps" (FLs) that won't work with dimmer switches.

However, FLs use a lot more energy whilst warming up than they do whilst running afterwards, so switching them on and off will COST energy ... ESPECIALLY as this shortens their life to the same existence of a trad bulb.

However, if you leave FLs on all the time you're not saving energy in the long run. In essence, their energy consumption is that of the old fluorescent strip-light. And the light is just as harsh.

The high-frequency flicker is the same, causing some people headaches and doing no favours to epileptics. FLs contain mercury, so disposal could be a nightmare. If they break in your home, mercury could be widespread. They are more expensive than trad bulbs. And they don't reach "full light" for a few minutes.

Is the decision to ban "trad" bulbs really a good idea?


Further on there was an informative reply from the poster known as Extra Refined:

Extra Refined
Whilst I don't think tungsten bulbs should be banned, for several reasons; a tax on CO2 emitting electricity generation would work better; exceptions will make it pointless; the nonsense spread about CFLs pisses me off no end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alright
However, FLs use a lot more energy whilst warming up than they do whilst running afterwards, so switching them on and off will COST energy ...


This is a lie

http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consume.../mytopic=12280

Quote:
Turning off fluorescent lights for more than 5 seconds will save more energy than will be consumed in turning them back on again
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alright
ESPECIALLY as this shortens their life to the same existence of a trad bulb.


This is wrong. To reduce the life of a CFL to that of a tungsten bulb you'd have to switch it on and off every 5 mins. Even then, its lifecycle CO2 emissions would be lower than the tungsten.

https://www.rmi.org/images/PDFs/Clim...ort_080401.pdf

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alright
However, if you leave FLs on all the time you're not saving energy in the long run.
You would have to usea CFL five times as much as a tungsten bulb to use as much energy


https://www.rmi.org/images/PDFs/Clim...ort_080401.pdf

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alright
And the light is just as harsh.


Modern CFLs are available in different colour balances (unlike tungsten bulbs which are all around 3000K). If you find daylight balance too harsh, in which case I assume you dislike going outside in the day, you can use warm balance. Up to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alright
The high-frequency flicker is the same, causing some people headaches and doing no favours to epileptics.


Modern CFLs flicker at frequencies in the kHz range. No can discern this.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=...bulb-headaches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alright
If they break in your home, mercury could be widespread.


Some modern CFLs contain no mercury. The rest contain tiny amounts ~5mg. This is less than the amount of mercury released by burning the quarter of a ton of coal needed to power a tungsten bulb for 10,000 hours.

https://www.rmi.org/images/PDFs/Clim...ort_080401.pdf

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alright
They are more expensive than trad bulbs


Running a 100W tungsten bulb for 10,000 hours will use 1000kWh of electricity. This will cost ~£100. A 20W CFL will cost £20 in electricity, a saving of £80. Against this the cost of the bulb is insignificant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alright
And they don't reach "full light" for a few minutes.


Modern CFLs reach 80% brightness or more in seconds, which you'd actually have a very hard time discerning from 100%, but if you really care, just buy one a few watts brighter. You can buy 30W CFLs (which I have fitted in my front room) which are FAR brighter than 100W tungsten bulbs.

Furthermore, in a couple of years LED lighting will be affordable (although compared to the lifecycle cost of tungsten it already wins). This instantly reaches full brightness, contains no more dangerous chemicals than any other electronics, and can potentialy be any colour you want.

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2 Comments:

At 10:29 pm, Blogger Roger Pearse said...

Who are these Nazi scum who are telling me how to light my home? We need an end to his Hitlerian interference in the lives of ordinary people.

 
At 10:16 pm, Anonymous N Hanson said...

bit ott roger, i'll leave it a couple of years before i think over the change, too much of a headache right now!

 

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