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CFL's not a bright idea


Anders Hoveland
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I think you'll see a pretty dramatic drop in LED prices over the next few years. They're continually improving the lighting efficiency, so you'll need fewer for a set amount of light in a bulb, and you'll get the economy of scale as they are more widely adopted.

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RE Swansont comments

 

And since the law does not specify bulb type, isn't that exactly what

it's doing? It does not ban specific types, and it does not mandate

specific types. It only mandates efficiency.

 

1. Any product not meeting a standard is obviously banned.

Not allowed = Banned ;-)

 

 

2. Energy saving is not the only desirable quality a product can have.

If that was so, people would only buy such products.

 

Moreover:

Auto or light bulb energy usage standards affect their characteristics.

A given car that has to be more fuel efficient = slower and/or lighter (less safe), for example.

Similarly, standards do ban the common regular simple incandescent bulb.

Halogen type alternatives may be similar, but not the same (whiter, hotter etc) and, again cost more.

 

 

3. "Efficiency" is not just about "energy efficency".

A fuel guzzling car is likely more efficiently performing (speed etc) than the equivalent forced to use less fuel.

Similarly it is much easier to make a bright 100W+ incandescent bulb than a bright CFL or LED equivalent, a constructional efficiency in terms of labor and parts required.

 

 

So what if it's only 1%? It's still several Billion kWh per year, and

it's part of a larger effort (energy star) to have more efficient

electrical devices. You can help flatten out demand. That means

fewer new plants that have to be built and less stress on a

distribution system that's outdated.

And if demand goes down, generation will, too.

 

>> Unlike others against the ban I am all for saving energy.

There are good and bad ways of doing so.

Targeting consumer product use is a bad way,

and if relevant would hardly be directed at lighting for reasons given.

 

Light bulbs don't burn coal or release CO2 gas.

Power plants might - and might not.

If there is a problem - deal with the problem.

 

Much more relevant to deal with electricity generation energy efficiency (common old type coal plants 30-35% efficient)

or grid distribution (US grid especially),

than telling people what products they can or can't use in their homes.

There is no energy shortage and if there was, the price rise would reduce use, without regulation.

Anyway, targeting consumption including light bulbs leads to little or no overall savings, as referenced.

 

The coal plant issue is as said.

Even at peak times, the common hydro/gas turbines kicking in have less CO2 emissions associated.

 

 

Re Taxes

 

Funny, most people against the law absolutely hate taxes. And you run

into the same problem of affordability: if you can't afford a more

efficient bulb, how are you going to afford higher electrical taxes?

 

With respect, I think you misunderstood the point...

People are not necessarily just hit by taxes in that tax income can be used to lower the prices of alternatives (alternative bulbs, alternative electricity supply),

as well as giving government income towards, say, renewable energy projects

 

c 2 billion bulbs of relevant type sold annually in pre-ban USA and EU

And that is just light bulbs.

Add in alternative tax income possibility on regulated buildings, cars, washing machines etc, which have usage advantages despite a higher energy use

(http://ceolas.net/#cc21x)

The point too is of course that tax alternatively reduces the sales of targeted products - a presumable objective, simulating bans - so it is a "win-win" situation for governments.

 

Taxation is still unjustifiable compared to market stimulation

(new and energy saving bulbs can be helped to market and compete against existing alternatives),

but tax is a better alternative than regulation for California type "liberal" cash-strapped governments, that seek to justify high public expenditure, alternative energy subsidies, etc

 

 

 

// Sorry this comment is so long

- I tried to make new comment but it aggregates up again into one comment! //

RE "The expensive LED bulbs will become cheaper in future, on economy of scale"

 

It may seem natural to expect that greater sales means cheaper bulbs.

Firstly it does not necessarily hold on supply and demand.

Having removed the other bulb choices, there may be insufficient supply for the new demand. That raises rather than lowers prices.

Secondly, it is irrelevant how many bulbs are sold, in that manufacturers / distributors / retailers simply charge what they can. Since the cheap competition has been removed, and since there are fewer manufacturers of newer more complex bulbs, there is less pressure to reduce prices (besides which light bulb manufacturers have a history of cartels).

Thirdly, on the Government side, pre-ban price lowering subsidies (as in North America and Europe) are no longer seen as so necessary.

Fourthly, a reason the ban was sought by the major manufacturers was profitability, on patented new technology compared to patent expired old simple bulbs.

As with all other patented products (compare with pharmaceuticals) the price is higher for the duration of the patents.

 

That is not all.

CFLs and LEDs contain rare earth elements, the price rise in recent years giving an increase in their prices, as from 2011 news reports.

Also they are mostly made in China, where wages are rising, and shipping transport fuel cost has also risen in recent years.

Finally, CFLs (and possibly LEDs) will be subject to increasing recycling mandates on manufacturers and retailers, which will again add to consumer purchase cost.

 

In comparison, incandescents are of course more simply and often locally made, and have no recycling requirement.

As said,

agree about the overall context of not wasting energy, but light bulb regulations are not a good way of going about getting savings.

Edited by lighthouse10
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  • 4 weeks later...

For all those who think that LED bulbs offer a good alternative, I have done a test, with dissappointing results.

I was initially very optimistic about LED bulbs, besides the big problem of their much higher cost. But after actually doing a comparison, I now realise that the light output of LED bulbs has severe disadvantages.

 

You can see pictures and an explanation of the comparison here:

https://sites.google.com/site/unusualchemistry/incandescent-vs-led-light-output

 

The other big problem is that LED bulbs do not fit into most types of lamps because of the wide size of the heat radiating fins.

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I'm starting to get the sense that you work at an incandescent bulb manufacturing plant and you're afraid of losing your job so you're out evangelizing against CFLs and LEDs. Good grief, people. As if you have a first grasp of every available option on the market and your comments apply to all. Silliness factorial.

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For all those who think that LED bulbs offer a good alternative, I have done a test, with dissappointing results.

I was initially very optimistic about LED bulbs, besides the big problem of their much higher cost. But after actually doing a comparison, I now realise that the light output of LED bulbs has severe disadvantages.

 

You can see pictures and an explanation of the comparison here:

https://sites.google.com/site/unusualchemistry/incandescent-vs-led-light-output

 

The other big problem is that LED bulbs do not fit into most types of lamps because of the wide size of the heat radiating fins.

 

From wiki

"The lumen (symbol: lm) is the SI derived unit of luminous flux, a measure of the total "amount" of visible light emitted by a source."

From that page

"Since the lumen is a measure of the intensity of visible light in some defined beam or angle"

No prizes for guessing which one is right.

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Also, 1200 lumens is obviously less than ~1500 lumens, so it should be no surprise that the bulb looks dimmer. It is. The company should be beaten up (figuratively) for false advertising. So fine, compare it to a 75 W bulb. 18 W is still much less than 75 W and saves money over the life of the bulb.

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For all those who think that LED bulbs offer a good alternative, I have done a test, with dissappointing results.

 

Well I too have been doing some checks on LED lights and have come to the opposite conclusion.

 

I don't think the problem is to do with the LEDs, I think it is to do with customers and manufacturers not understanding the differnce in fitting design mandated by differences in light source characteristics.

Edited by studiot
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I put the LED bulb in the bathroom, and did more comparisons with different wattages of incandescent bulbs.

The 18 Watt LED bulb seems only about as good as lighting the bathroom as a 75 Watt incandescent bulb.

 

Again, 18 Watts is about the brightest type of LED bulb available. That claim that it is a "110 Watt equivalent" just does not seem to be substantiated by actual observation.

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Anders Hoveland

 

I put the LED bulb in the bathroom, and did more comparisons with different wattages of incandescent bulbs.

The 18 Watt LED bulb seems only about as good as lighting the bathroom as a 75 Watt incandescent bulb.

 

Again, 18 Watts is about the brightest type of LED bulb available. That claim that it is a "110 Watt equivalent" just does not seem to be substantiated by actual observation.

 

I don't know if that was a reply to my post but if so it is a pity you didn't read it properly.

 

I was not talking about light bulbs.

 

I have been testing a 14 watt LED light fitting in my recently extended utility room.

It is the brightest domestic light I have ever seen, considerably brighter than the 100 tungsten bulb and halogen fitting I used to have in there. Furhter the the new type of fitting distributes the light more evenly.

 

The manufacturers have not bothered with the fictitious equivalent ratings that accompanies CFL lamps.

 

The recessed LED lights I have seen suffer greatly from an inappropriate mounting.

Edited by studiot
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I don't know if that was a reply to my post but if so it is a pity you didn't read it properly.

 

I was not talking about light bulbs.

 

I have been testing a 14 watt LED light fitting in my recently extended utility room.

It is the brightest domestic light I have ever seen, considerably brighter than the 100 tungsten bulb and halogen fitting I used to have in there. Furhter the the new type of fitting sitributes the light more evenly.

 

The manufacturers have not bothered with the fictitious equivalent ratings that accompanies CFL lamps.

 

The recessed LED lights I have seen suffer greatly from an inappropriate mounting.

 

 

The LED lighting is interesting to me, I keep marine reef aquariums and lighting is a problem, the best lighting is metal halide, but of course is it hot and expensive. Newer LED lighting is what I am considering for my next set up. Wave length is important as well as intensity. Very expensive is the word I would describe commercially available Aquarium LED lighting. Do you have technical expertise in LED lighting? I like to "do it your self" this type of thing...

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Do you have technical expertise in LED lighting?

 

Some, but it's a new and developing technique.

 

And yes they are currently still excessively exopensive (even the El Cheapo poor quality ones)

 

Last year for instance many manufacturers had to withdraw/recall products because they had not correctly assessed the heat generation by LED equipment and this lead to real building fires.

 

I was suprised that my super fittings generate significant local interference to AM and FM radios.

 

It's too late here for details but I can post them if you are interested.

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Some, but it's a new and developing technique.

 

And yes they are currently still excessively exopensive (even the El Cheapo poor quality ones)

 

Last year for instance many manufacturers had to withdraw/recall products because they had not correctly assessed the heat generation by LED equipment and this lead to real building fires.

 

I was suprised that my super fittings generate significant local interference to AM and FM radios.

 

It's too late here for details but I can post them if you are interested.

 

 

yes i would be interested in the details of this.

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I keep marine reef aquariums and lighting is a problem, the best lighting is metal halide, but of course is it hot and expensive. Newer LED lighting is what I am considering for my next set up. Wave length is important as well as intensity.

Wave length with LEDs shouldn't be much of an issue anymore if you dig around for what you want, but there has not, and I suspect there may never be, a solution to the lack of intensity in LEDs for applications such as greenhouses and aquariums where you need to penetrate through water and/or canopy. They're great for low-intensity accent lighting for the human eye. High intensity lighting with LEDs must overcome both heat issues and fundamentally poor intensity. Sadly, looks like MH lamps may be the only option for high intensity aquarium lighting for some time. Have you tried high wattage CFLs with good hoods? I don't have a huge aquarium, only 75 gallons, and it's a Walstad natural-style, freshwater planted tank, so it's backed against a south facing window for most of its light. I supplement with high wattage CFLs as I can more easily direct the light to the plants that need it most when compared to a single or couple 250w MH.

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  • 2 weeks later...

http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/004972.html

 

A New York Times panel looked at 21 alternatives to incandescents and found nearly all of the compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) disgusting. But they did like some of the LED and halogen choices.

 

 

Dan Neil of the Los Angeles Times shares Rosenbaum's lack of enthusiasm for fluorescents and also thinks LED lights are not good substitutes either.

 

As a good liberal, I’m ready to embrace, and pay for, more efficient lighting. And yet, I’m already feeling what might be called Edison nostalgia. Even a bare bulb hanging from a wire is a thousand times more bewitching, more jocund and welcoming than a CFL screwed into the most arty fixture featured in Wallpaper magazine. The light from a CFL—stark and shadowless and overcorrecting—is a scold: Why haven’t you dusted? Why haven’t you taken better care of your skin? (This is the well-known public lighting effect.) LEDs, by their very nature, produce a single frequency of light, a sliver of the visible spectrum. In the case of “white” LEDs that would replace the common bulb, they are actually a ghastly white shade of blue, and that’s why everyone looks a touch cyanotic under them. The quality of light from these instruments will get better, but they only can approximate—only counterfeit—the warm, wide-spectrum glory of a filament that radiates across the visible spectrum and beyond.

 

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The NY Times panel was at least 4 years ago and the Dan Neil left the LA Times over two years ago (and "as a good liberal" now works for Rupert Murdoch!). The newspaper quotes are old news and the comments to your linked article made much more sense than the article itself.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I also want to mention that many CFL's actually consume 20% more power than their rated wattage, because the little ballast in the base of the tube takes additional energy also. That 14 Watt CFL may actually be consuming 16.8 Watts of power, while still only giving off 14 Watts of fluorescent light.

 

Not only that but CFL's (like all fluorescent lights) become dimmer and less efficient over time. If low quality phosphors are used, like in most of the inexpensive CFL's that were made in China, this effect can become fairly noticeable after only 8 months. But even higher quality flourescent lights become 70% dimmer towards the end of their useful lives. In other words, that CFL (or the tube by itself at least) may initially have a 50 lumens/watt efficiency, but this can quickly go down to 35 lumens/watt over the course of time.

 

While LED's also dim over the course of their lives, it happens at a much slower rate, and more importantly does not effect the actual efficiency, as proportionally less power is consumed.

 

 

CFL bulbs may cause SKIN DAMAGE

 

New research funded by the National Science Foundation has scientists warning consumers about the potentially harmful effects energy-saving CFL light bulbs can have on skin.

 

The warning comes based on a study conducted by Stony Brook University and New York State Stem Cell Science — published in the June issue of Photochemistry and Photobiology — which looked at whether and how the invisible UV rays CFL bulbs emit affect the skin.

 

Based on the research, scientists concluded that CFL light bulbs can be harmful to healthy skin cells.

 

“Our study revealed that the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation,” said lead researcher Miriam Rafailovich, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stony Brook University, in New York, in a statement. “Skin cell damage was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nanoparticles were introduced to the skin cells prior to exposure.”

 

According to Rafailovich, with or without TiO2 (a chemical found in sunblock), incandescent bulbs of the same light intensity had zero effects on healthy skin.

 

The scientists found that cracks in the CFL bulbs phosphor coatings yielded significant levels of UVC and UVA in all of the bulbs — purchased in different locations across two counties — they examined.

 

With high levels of ultraviolet radiation present, the researchers delved into how the exposure affected the skin. According to the findings, skin damage from exposure to CFLs was consistent with harm caused by ultraviolet radiation.

 

The warning comes based on a study conducted by Stony Brook University and New York State Stem Cell Science — published in the June issue of Photochemistry and Photobiology — which looked at whether and how the invisible UV rays CFL bulbs emit affect the skin.

 

Based on the research, scientists concluded that CFL light bulbs can be harmful to healthy skin cells.

 

“Our study revealed that the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation,” said lead researcher Miriam Rafailovich, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stony Brook University, in New York, in a statement. “Skin cell damage was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nanoparticles were introduced to the skin cells prior to exposure.”

 

According to Rafailovich, with or without TiO2 (a chemical found in sunblock and personal cosmetics), incandescent bulbs of the same light intensity had zero effects on healthy skin.

 

The scientists found that cracks in the CFL bulbs phosphor coatings yielded significant levels of UVC and UVA in all of the bulbs — purchased in different locations across two counties — they examined.

 

With high levels of ultraviolet radiation present, the researchers delved into how the exposure affected the skin. According to the findings, skin damage from exposure to CFLs was consistent with harm caused by ultraviolet radiation.

 

Despite their large energy savings, consumers should be careful when using compact fluorescent light bulbs
,” said Rafailovich. “Our research shows that it is best to avoid using them at close distances and that they are safest when placed behind an additional glass cover.”

 

 

I have been testing a 14 watt LED light fitting in my recently extended utility room.

It is the brightest domestic light I have ever seen, considerably brighter than the 100 tungsten bulb and halogen fitting I used to have in there. Furhter the the new type of fitting distributes the light more evenly.

What brand is it?

It may seem much brighter, when you look at it from the front, but it likely is still giving off less light overall.

Remember, lumens are not a measure of total light output; they are a measure of light intensity at a given angle. LED lights are highly directional. What is the lumen output of your bulb towards the back side? Probably much less.

 

What really matters is how well a bulb can light a room. Unless it is recessed lighting in the ceiling, a 1000 lumen incandescent bulb will give off much more light than a "1000 lumen" incandescent bulb. The packaging on the LED light I got claimed it was 1200 lumens, yet it did not even put out as much light as a 95 Watt normal light bulb.

 

I just recently placed an order for an 18 Watt LED bulb, that I calculate will give off as much light as a 72 Watt incandescent bulb. It claims to give out a "neutral white" colored light. It was very difficult to find, I only found two companies on the internet that sell an LED bulb this bright which are not in the form of a highly directional flood light (the other company's light was in the shape of a flat panel with the LED's all on one side of it, obviously this shape would not be suitable to put in normal lamp fixtures). The total cost was 55 € including shipping. It will be interesting to see how it performs.

Edited by Anders Hoveland
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they only can approximate—only counterfeit—the warm, wide-spectrum glory of a filament that radiates across the visible spectrum and beyond.

 

 

 

Yes, warmly glowing incandescent light-bulbs seem so agreeable! The nicest way humans have invented to illuminate our homes at night. They make home look pleasant: softly-lit, and relaxing. Not like with those awful CFL things, which emit a cold bleak light - which might suit an office, or other place of work, where all that matters is maximum light output, at minimum expense. However the CFL light looks quite wrong at home. I've tried using CFL tubes. They induce aversion, as soon as they're switched on. A feeling of "I don't like this".

 

Could this dislike be an instinctive reaction, arising from the way humans evolved to use artificial light? To us, for hundreds of thousands of years, artificial light at night meant only one thing - fire, flames, burning torches. Then candles, oil-lamps, and gas-light, as we developed better technology.

 

The point is - all these light-sources burn. And the filament of an electric light-bulb also burns - albeit in a kind of slow motion. But it's really the same principle as the burning wick of a candle.

 

So could humans have evolved to instinctively prefer the light from burning things?

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I am not sure whether it's really the "electromagnetic radiation" (radio wave energy from the transformers) actually causing the headaches, or just the poor quality of the light that causes eye strain in some individuals. Edited by Anders Hoveland
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And I have just replaced the halogen in the Dining room again. The suckers just do not last.

 

My last office had loads of halogens which went far too often - I was told to try swapping brands till I found one that worked better; it did seem (placebo?) to make a difference. But halogens were not a low cost solution. In the new office we have motion-sensor controlled tubes and leds - so far we have had minimal replacement, and energy bills are ridiculously low

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