PDA

View Full Version : Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: Proceed with Caution



Gingersnap
09-22-2010, 12:55 PM
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: Proceed with Caution

By Peter Wilson

The Cambridge Energy Alliance is going door to door in North Cambridge, Massachusetts next month, handing out free compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in return for "inefficient incandescent bulbs." Well, they're not actually free. The Cambridge Energy Alliance is "sponsored by the City of Cambridge," so I guess that Cambridge taxpayers are footing the bill. The event is part of Bill McKibben's 350.org "global work party" on October 10, 2010, which is a really excellent date because you can write it as "10/10/10."

CFLs use around 30% of the energy of an incandescent bulb, and everyone should switch over, so the argument goes. Even if you agree with Bjorn Lomborg's recent judgment in the Wall Street Journal that "direct carbon cuts [are a] woefully ineffective" means to address global warming, CFLs save you money. Lighting accounts for 10% to 20% of residential electric use, so if your bill is $100 a month, changing every bulb in your house would lead to a savings of as much as $14/month. NSTAR recommends changing 25% of your bulbs, which would amount to a savings of $3.50/month. This assumes you get the bulbs for free; otherwise, you have to subtract the higher cost of the bulbs from your savings. Okay, you will probably spend the $3.50 on a Starbucks mochachino, not a transformative life experience, but why throw away free money?

And yet if CFLs are so great, why does the Cambridge Energy Alliance have to organize volunteers to give them away?

The modern breed of environmentalist tends to have a statist faith in government. Average citizens cannot be trusted with economic decisions that require balancing immediate costs and long-term benefits. Consumers therefore need wise government to mandate the use of CFLs, through legislation like the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 or through taxpayer-funded giveaway programs.

Many people, however, don't like curlicue light bulbs, and not because these people are uninformed, shortsighted, or on the payroll of Big Carbon. The list of objections is long, but here are a few:

* CFL manufacturers claim that a 13-watt CFL emits the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent, but it doesn't seem to work that way in the real world. I've been in CFL-lit hotel rooms where I need a flashlight to read my dog-eared copy of The Road to Serfdom.

* Warm-up time: it takes up to 5 minutes for a CFL to reach full strength, which may be related to the point above (why CFLs seem less bright). My friend has installed them in a hallway where illumination is needed only for the thirty seconds it takes to navigate the staircase. Not ideal when Grandma visits and can't see the skateboard on the stairs.

* Few CFLs last for their advertised lifetimes of five years or more. Many people report replacing them after one year, making those return on investment numbers a bit less rosy. Using them in ceiling fixtures, on dimmers or timers, and for less than fifteen minutes per use reduce their life.

American Thinker (http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/09/compact_fluorescent_light_bulb.html)

FlaGator
09-22-2010, 12:59 PM
My problem with them is that they just aren't as bright as incandescent bulbs. I've put both in a bathroom late fixture, put the cover over them and one hour later you can see that the fluorescent bulb is not nearly as bright as it's incandescent counter part.

Arroyo_Doble
09-22-2010, 01:02 PM
The modern breed of environmentalist tends to have a statist faith in government. Average citizens cannot be trusted with economic decisions that require balancing immediate costs and long-term benefits.

Considering the improvements to the cleanliness of air and water after "statist[s]" got into the game, I would tend to agree.

marv
09-22-2010, 01:08 PM
The Law of Unintended Consequences...
1. CFLs are not as bright.
2. They don't last as long as advertised.
3. They cost more.
4. They use mercury, and you can be fined if you don't dispose of them "properly".
5. They don't fit every lamp fixture because they're bigger.
6. They don't work with dimmers.
7. They cost American jobs - they've moved to China.

Arroyo_Doble
09-22-2010, 01:10 PM
7. They cost American jobs - they've moved to China.

Incandescent manufacturing had already moved there (they were convinced to switch to CFL). I think the last American plant is scheduled to close soon.

Bailey
09-22-2010, 01:14 PM
Incandescent manufacturing had already moved there (they were convinced to switch to CFL). I think the last American plant is scheduled to close soon.

I noticed you just skipped right over the whole mercuy point.

Arroyo_Doble
09-22-2010, 01:17 PM
I noticed you just skipped right over the whole mercuy point.

The not as bright one as well.

Bailey
09-22-2010, 01:29 PM
The not as bright one as well.



So let me get you straight, your first post in this thread basically knocked the great masses for not having the ability to keep the air and water clean. Please correct me if i am wrong but you seem to be a fan of CFL's but then you skate over the rather large defect of CFL's that they pollute more the regular bulbs. (overall)

Arroyo_Doble
09-22-2010, 01:35 PM
So let me get you straight, your first post in this thread basically knocked the great masses for not having the ability to keep the air and water clean.

I was being glib since I believe "the great masses" work through their governing institutions in this nation and "the great masses" usually like clean air and water ..... some don't, I suppose, but so far not enough to allow everyone to piss in the drinking water just yet. Maybe the so-called tea party candidates can change all that.


Please correct me if i am wrong but you seem to be a fan of CFL's

I'm not, so .....

.... there it is.

Gingersnap
09-22-2010, 01:58 PM
Maybe the so-called tea party candidates can change all that.


Let's stay on topic here. The Tea Party doesn't have a position on pissing in drinking water. If the Dems or the Pubbies do, let's save it for another thread.

Arroyo_Doble
09-22-2010, 01:59 PM
Let's stay on topic here. The Tea Party doesn't have a position on pissing in drinking water.

It's a metaphor.


If the Dems or the Pubbies do, let's save it for another thread.

The so-called tea party candidates are "Pubbies."

Gingersnap
09-22-2010, 02:43 PM
It's a metaphor.

The so-called tea party candidates are "Pubbies."

Luckily, I believe I have enough incandescent light bulbs to see me through until LED technology becomes a better choice. :)

Arroyo_Doble
09-22-2010, 02:45 PM
Luckily, I believe I have enough incandescent light bulbs to see me through until LED technology becomes a better choice. :)

I would stock up but the damn things burn out so fast ....... :cool:

malloc
09-22-2010, 07:21 PM
The modern breed of environmentalist tends to have a statist faith in government. Average citizens cannot be trusted with economic decisions that require balancing immediate costs and long-term benefits.

Considering the improvements to the cleanliness of air and water after "statist[s]" got into the game, I would tend to agree.

Work that non sequitur! You assume that since statists got involved, and the air and water has been cleaner that the statists must have caused the cleanup. After all correlation always equals causation right? I don't think it's because statists got involved in environmental concerns. I think it's because fewer women wear pantaloons and fewer men wear bowler hats. Either correlation is plausible though because we have the exact same amount of evidence.

Perhaps, just perhaps, this could be due to advances in efficiency of production which were created by capitalists acting freely in a market where efficiency is rewarded by higher profits and broader market expansion. On the other hand I suppose the government could have made decrees addressing each point of pollution and legislating the technicalities of how to alleviate the problem. Yeah, the latter must be it. :rolleyes:

Arroyo_Doble
09-23-2010, 08:59 AM
Perhaps, just perhaps, this could be due to advances in efficiency of production which were created by capitalists acting freely in a market where efficiency is rewarded by higher profits and broader market expansion. On the other hand I suppose the government could have made decrees addressing each point of pollution and legislating the technicalities of how to alleviate the problem. Yeah, the latter must be it. :rolleyes:

So the move in this nation toward environmental regulatory activities which dealt with pollution control through the authority of the state has nothing to do with the recent success in the control of pollution .... it is just a coincidence.

That makes sense. It explains why nations with lax, or zero, enforced pollution controls have the same levels of purity in their air and water as we do.