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CFL's not a bright idea


Anders Hoveland
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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.

 

LOL

I wonder if she has a mobile phone.

 

There's no doubt that these bulbs emit RF noise and, if her complaint were that they might mess up AM radio reception then she would have a point.

But the claim that the RF noise directly affects people is, to be polite about it, "unsupported by evidence".

 

Remember, data is not the plural of anecdote.

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  • 1 month later...

Many of the consumer testers who actually have been testing out the new "energy efficent" bulbs and doing comparisons have been left very dissatisfied with the available options:

 

My life in the past several years has been a living lightbulb joke. I’ve changed, re-changed and re-re-changed the bulbs in my house trying to find replacements that save money but don’t make our skin look like zombie flesh. Compact fluorescents and LED lamps save energy, last longer, and emit less heat than incandescent bulbs. But their light is ickier, versions advertised as "dimmable" often dim only over a limited range, and CFLs take maddeningly long to come to full brightness. No single type works everywhere. LEDs are great for desk lamps, but their narrow beams fail to fill larger spaces. In darkly painted rooms, I went with cold-cathode fluorescents with a low brightness temperature. I’ve filled a big box in the basement with all the bulbs I’ve tried and rejected. So much for saving money.

- George Musser

 

I, for one, am dreading the day when incandescent bulbs are no longer sold in the U.S. In fact, I'm thinking about buying a closet full of them. Why? Well, currently the most feasible alternatives to "regular" lightbulbs are compact flourescent lightbulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diode lightbulbs (LEDs). The thought of having to light my home with CFLs and LEDs for the rest of my days (and nights) makes me shudder.

- Joe Provey

 

 

Artists are getting frustrated at the poor color rendering ability of the light given off by the new "energy efficient" lights:

In the rush to manage carbon emissions, one of the first victims is the incandescent lightbulb. After seeing the green glow of the hardware store CFL, many wince. And some ask, "What is this doing to my artwork?"

 

My wife's an artist and illustrator. One night several years ago, she was up late working on a contest submission. To help her work at night, I gave her a "full-spectrum" Ott-Lite. "Just paint with this. It'll be like sunlight!" After working through the night, Lorna woke up the next morning to find that the painting that had looked good under that light looked quite pink in the light of day. Like many CFL-based sources, this "full-spectrum" light had accentuated the greens in her paint, and she'd managed to compensate by mixing her paint in the opposite direction, a sort of orange/pink color.

 

For many color-sensitive jobs, CFLs, LEDs, and other new light sources are proving difficult to work with. And for others they just don't look right. For the past few years, we wondered how do we do this right? How do we pick the right color temperature? How do we find full-spectrum lights that are actually good enough? And why do even 90CRI lights look a little strange sometimes?

 

It seems many consumers are rebeling against the poor quality of CFL light:

In a September 18 letter to C.F.L. industry stakeholders, Richard Karney, Energy Star products manager, said that national sales of the CFL bulbs have declined 25 percent from their peak in 2007, with sales in some regions such as Vermont and parts of Massachusetts declining 35 to 50 percent…

 

Despite more than a decade of costly C.F.L. promotions — including giveaways, discounted prices and rebates — the bulbs have failed to capture the hearts (and sockets) of American consumers. Mr. Karney said that in regions where C.F.L. campaigns have been heaviest, 75 percent of screw-based sockets still contain incandescents. Nationally, about 90 percent of residential sockets are still occupied by incandescents, D.O.E. has reported.

 

The following consumers had this to say:

It's bad enough that I have to spend all day under fluorescent tubes at work. When I come home I just want a place to relax with pleasant lighting. The last thing I want is more fluorescent tubes in my own home. I've been to a friend's house who had switched out all her lighting with CFL's; it looks like a morgue. I hate it. It even makes me a little reluctant to want to go over to her house and visit.

 

I swtiched all my bulbs out with CFL's. I quickly realized that these new lights made it more difficult for me and my family to concentrate. I got a little headache whenever I had to work on filling out tax paperwork in my home office (I'm an accountant) and it became more frustrating to do all the work I had to do. My daughter began to start having trouble doing her homework. At the end of the day, I like to lay on the couch and read a book. But after changing out the lights in my living room, I found myself just not even wanting to read. It wasn't fun any more, it felt like I had to focus just to read the books I formerly enjoyed so much. I had enough of those new energy efficient lights so I gathered them all up into a big bag, took them back to the store to be recycled, and I haven't had any problems since. My daughter started doing all her homework again.

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I get sick and tired of people who do not know what they are talking about refer to "color temperature" and CRI. Different technologies of light sources put out completely different spectrums, so illuminated colors in a room will appear differently. And even if two light sources have the same "correlated color temperature", they can still put out very different colors of light if they are not the same technology (incandescent, fluorescent, LED).

 

 

sunIncandLEDCFL_lightbulb-wars-00-0911-xln-42221615p.jpg

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Many of the consumer testers who actually have been testing out the new "energy efficent" bulbs and doing comparisons have been left very dissatisfied with the available options:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artists are getting frustrated at the poor color rendering ability of the light given off by the new "energy efficient" lights:

 

 

It seems many consumers are rebeling against the poor quality of CFL light:

 

 

The following consumers had this to say:

You seem to have missed this line from my past post.

Remember, data is not the plural of anecdote.

 

Re the spectra.

So people get sloppy with use of language.

So what?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was browsing the comment section of another site and found this interesting rant:

 

 

" I'm not buying into the CFL thing either

 

Or rather I've bought a lot of CFLs in varying price ranges and color temps and been disappointed every time. I'im still buying them if I see a new brand, source or promotion. I keep trying them because I really want them to work.

 

But they don't last very long - scarcely a year of not full time use. They also don't survive power outages very well - a frequent occurence in my rural area. I can lose every single CFL lamp that happens to be switched on during a single event (and that's a lot of bulbs in my 10 buildings), but we never lose any of the remaining reg. incandescent in the same outages.

 

The CFL light is awful to my eyes. I have tried all kinds of color temps and filtering globes. Nothing pleases my eyes as well as the full-spectrum incandescents.

 

And the slow-start thing is very vexing: I had thought to put the ugly-light-but-energy-saving bulbs in all the fixtures in my 9 farm buildings. I made a complete change over in the summer of 2009. Yes, they were slow-starting on cool fall mornings and evenings, (modest bummer) but in below-freezing winter temps it's unacceptable to standard around in the dark while the bulbs take 60 secs, or more, to even begin to glow, weakly. If I'm going out to the barn when it's that cold, I want to get on with it not stand around shivering in the dark waiting for the light to turn on.

 

I've tried LEDs (once) and they gave off awful light, too. Luckily the store where I bought them took them back for full credit.

 

I'm still hoping for improvement in CFLs or better LEDs. I have a stockpile of my favorite full-spectrum incandescents, JIC.

 

We are transitioning to a 100% PV system on the farm right now, which will assuage some of my guilt for not using the wretched CFLs."

 

by Araguato on Mon Feb 13, 2012 at 03:12:29 PM PST

(left in comment section of http://www.dailykos....tbulbs#comments)

Edited by Anders Hoveland
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Well I have commenced replacing incandescent light sources with LEDs.

Well again, let's not forget how much electrical power it takes to make these LEDs in China.

 

 

One big environmental consideration for LED lighting is the aluminum used in the cooling fins.

Some of these heat sinks / cooling fins can be quite heavy, especially for higher output LED lights.

 

This aluminum heat sink is for an 80 Watt LED chip, and weighs 1.8 kg:

Heat-Sink-LED-Radiator-MG-F-80W-100W-1-.jpg

 

This aluminum heat sink for a 100-120 Watt LED chip weighs 3.8 kg:

http://www.made-in-china.com/showroom/ledredsun/product-detailWqRnuQekYvUo/China-LED-Heat-Sink-Cooler-MG-S-100W-120W-1-.html

while this one (100 Watts) weighs 3.4 kg:

http://www.made-in-china.com/showroom/ledredsun/product-detailsqHJEecMbSrR/China-LED-Heat-Sink-Radiator-MG-F-100W-B-4-.html

 

So how much energy does it take to produce the aluminum for these heat sinks?

Because aluminum smelting involves passing an electric current through a molten electrolyte, it requires large amounts of electrical energy. On average, production of 2 lb (1 kg) of aluminum requires 15 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy. Just the cost of electricity represents about one-third of the cost of smelting aluminum. All these heat sinks are made in China, where most of the electricity comes from dirty coal fired powerplants.

 

The other major ingredient used in the smelting operation is carbon. Carbon electrodes transmit the electric current through the electrolyte. During the smelting operation, some of the carbon is consumed as it combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide. In fact, about half a pound (0.2 kg) of carbon is used for every pound (2.2 kg) of aluminum produced. This carbon is released as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. For every one pound of carbon consumed, 3.6 pounds of carbond dioxide is created.

 

This is why it would be so important to recycle the aluminum heat sinks for LED lighting. If these aluminum is not getting recycled, that is a lot of wasted energy the LED is going to have to make up for over its life time.

 

 

 

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Recycling is a good idea.

That heatsink is for an 80 watt array

This

http://www.ledhut.co.uk/led-bulbs/new-e27-led-standard-shape-bulb-7-watt-smd-600-lumens-80-watt-equiv.html

is a 7 watt array and it's "equivalent" to an 80W bulb.

So, that heatsink is for the equivalent of nearly a kilowatt of conventional lighting.

That's important for stage lighting and maybe some industrial lighting, but it's not really got anything to do with normal domestic use.

You are talking about this sort of application

http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/product-VPLFH500L/

 

Had you not noticed that?

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is a 7 watt array and it's "equivalent" to an 80W bulb.

No that's just not true. Many LED manufacturers make all sorts of exaggerated claims about their products. Those equivalences only up when the lighting is for directional purposes (such as recessed fixtures).

 

The typical rule is 4 watts of equivalent incandescent light output for every 1 watt of LED power. For some of the more efficient LED lamps (such as the Phillips L-prize), that can go up to 6 watts of equivalent incandescent light.

 

To match the light output of the old 100 watt bulbs, you are going to need at 20-25 watts of LED power. From what I have observed at least, those rated lumen ratings can be misleading.

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If you look you ill see that I put the word equivalent in quote marks.

 

"The typical rule is 4 watts of equivalent incandescent light output for every 1 watt of LED power. "

Says who?

 

Anyway, the lumens per Watt is going to be fairly consistent.

That $10,000 projector uses 7000 lumens

the lamp I cited gives 600 and burns 7 Watts

So 80/7 *600 is about 7000 lumens.

 

The heatsink you cited is about the right size for the very expensive projector and has nothing to do with ordinary domestic lighting and so, rather little to do with the thread.

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The heatsink you cited is about the right size for the very expensive projector and has nothing to do with ordinary domestic lighting and so, rather little to do with the thread.

Even if it were domestic it has little to do with the thread, which has been a continual moving of the goalposts as each claim has been debunked.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay, not that anyone probably cares, but I found out about a potential disadvantage of the new energy saving halogen bulbs compared to the old incandescents. Whereas putting the old incandescent bulbs on a dimmer increased the lifespan of the bulb, putting these new halogen bulbs on a dimmer can potentially reduce the lifespans of the bulb.

 

One factor is the running at reduced power; halogen bulbs don't like being put on dimmers, since the halogen cycle which redeposits tungsten onto the filament only works at high temperatures; otherwise, they will blacken and burn out very quickly (somewhat slower at reduced power, but life may initially drop sharply before the lower temperature has a bigger effect).

 

Will dimming switches work with a halogen light bulb?

Yes, conventional incandescent dimmers will work to dim halogen lamps. However, the effectiveness of the halogen cycle to keep the lamp walls clean and give longer life may well be affected. This cycle depends upon correct lamp operating temperatures, which of course will be changed when the lamp is dimmed. Therefore, using a dimmer may not extend the life of your halogen lamp as much as a dimmer typically extends the life of a standard incandescent lamp.

The halogen lamp is designed to prevent the tungsten from depositing on the inside of the bulb wall and darkening it. Because the halogen action stops working when the bulb wall temperature falls below 260 degrees Centigrade, which may happen when the dimmer lowers the voltage, the halogen lamp blackens and its life is not prolonged as much as an incandescent lamp on a dimmer. Eventually a severely dimmed halogen lamp can become blackened and fail.

The wall blackening can be partially reversed if the halogen lamp is operated at full power, non-dimmed, periodically to allow the halogen cycle to remove some of the deposited tungsten.

 

However, halogen bulbs are still more dimmable than CFLs or LEDs. Putting a normal CFL on a dimmer switch will drastically reduce its lifespan, much more so than halogens. Another problem is that even for most CFLs or LEDs that claim to be dimmable, their operation is still negatively affected by dimming. The CFLs will lose much of their efficiency at lower powers, and even some of the "dimmable" versions will still result in some flicker if the dimmer is turned down to low. Many of the "dimmable" LEDs actually only dim down to 20% of their brightness. Any lower than that and the light starts to go out, or sometimes there is some flicker, or in some cases it even causes an annoying hum. There do exist, however, LED lighting that are indeed fully dimmable, and putting an LED on a dimmer will not affect its lifespan. For comparison, dimming a halogen bulb, while potentially taking away from its lifespan, will not in the slightest immediately affect the operation of the bulb.

 

All this goes to show that there all sorts of new considerations that have to be made when switching to any of these new energy efficient bulbs. They all have their own special disadvantages in several situations. Most consumers can't be troubled to educate themselves about all the complexities, and just assume these new bulbs work just the same as the old. Then they are surprised when their new more expensive bulbs burn out after only 6 months.

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A valuable point, assuming that most switches are dimmer switches.

If, on the other hand, one makes the opposite assumption then the point' a bit academic.

While dimmer switches are not frequently encountered in older houses, they are being installed much more frequently in newer houses.

The state of California, for example, recently has begun requiring in its building codes that all rooms in the house either have to have dimmers or "high efficiency" lighting (either flourescent tubes or the new more expensive recessed LED fixtures. Considering that 38 million people live in the state, this is going to affect a lot of people. Most home builders are just going to install dimmers because that is the cheapest option, and most homebuyers are not going to like fluorescent tubes in their house. If you hire an electrician to change the lamp fixture in one of your rooms, technically by law they also have to install a dimmer switch also.

 

This will be interesting, with all these dimmer switches everywhere, and the old incandescent bulbs being banned. I wonder how long it will take the public to realise that their new energy efficient bulbs do not operate so well with these dimmers.

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Dimmer switches

http://a5products.co.uk/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&keyword=dimmer&inc_subcat=0&search_in_description=0&sort=20a&page=2&gclid=CKWhoavPrrMCFWbKtAodGBEAKQ

Light bulbs

http://a5products.co.uk/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=308&zenid=beab04def4af0d11aa67338082cff676

Please show me how the dimmers are less expensive than the bulbs?

i.e. show how

"Most home builders are just going to install dimmers because that is the cheapest option,"

 

 

Also, re.

"Considering that 38 million people live in the state, this is going to affect a lot of people."

Over what timescale?

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Some observations from five years of trying to switch over to CFL bulbs:

 

1) The light quality is lousy. It's hard to read, hard to see colors, blue tinged, eyestrainingly shadowy and "dim" in a funny way - the closest comparison I can come up with is with laser light, or colored spotlights, in the way everything gets flat and loses shading and sort of visually "hums".

 

2) The bulbs burn out much sooner than advertised, in ordinary household fixtures.

 

3) Most of them will go into the ordinary trash, and from there into the local landfill or garbage burner, mercury and all. Not mine, because I'm willing to go through all the recycle hassle, but I have a wife who puts her foot down and stiffens my backbone. My neighbors, and general community, are not going to be recycling these things.

 

4) They don't work in cold temperatures. I live in Minnesota, and important locations for lightbulbs include the garage, basement, attic, outbuildings, front entrance closet and mud room, and so forth. These places are often fairly cold. In my household light bulbs are also used particularly at night, when it's dark, and cold. They are often used in short bursts, when immediate light is needed for a few minutes. These bulbs work poorly under those circumstances and for those needs.

 

5) They don't put heat out, either - and the heat from a light bulb is not wasted, in a dark northern winter. It's useful, often. Some other source will have to be found, for the chicken brooder and the back entry and the crawl space plumbing and the mitten drying rig.

 

As much as those things cost, I wonder how close we could come to breaking even just by throwing a solar panel or two on the roof and using it to run modern, more efficient, incandescent bulbs.

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From that site "The new bulbs, which use halogen elements, provide energy savings of about 28 percent compared to conventional incandescents."

From WIKI

"The use of iodine was proposed in a 1933 patent,[3] which also described the cyclic redeposition of tungsten back on the filament. In 1959 General Electric patented[3] a practical lamp using iodine.[4]"

1933 isn't modern from my point of view.

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1933 isn't modern from my point of view.
? The specific bulbs in question are new to the market as of spring, 2011. They are more efficient than standard incandescents. And they meet the 2007 legal requirements for light bulbs, thereby providing us with hope of an alternative to 1) political action in our interest ; 2) improved kerosene lanterns for decent light quality (modern ones don't work half bad, btw, if you run out of light bulbs).

 

And so what? I'm not seeing a point, here.

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The "new" light bulbs are tungsten halogen lamps (which are "more efficient than standard incandescents") and have changed little since 1933.

An improvement of 28% on the original incandescent lamps which are about 3% efficient might mean one of two things

It means the new ones are about 4% efficient or about 31% efficient.

If it's the latter then the guys selling them would describe then as "about 10 times better" because that's going to sell a lot more bulbs.

So it seems likely that these have changed something that wastes 97% of the electricity to something that only wastes 96%

I don't see that saving the planet any time soon.

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The "new" light bulbs are tungsten halogen lamps (which are "more efficient than standard incandescents") and have changed little since 1933.
They have changed enough to meet the 2007 efficiency standards.

 

It means the new ones are about 4% efficient or about 31% efficient.

If it's the latter then the guys selling them would describe then as "about 10 times better" because that's going to sell a lot more bulbs

Or you are just blithering' date=' about something you could look up with a couple of mouse clicks.

 

I don't see that saving the planet any time soon.
Baby steps. CFLs aren't going to save the planet either. At least with these I can read the newspaper of a winter's evening - and afford the electric bill.

 

http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/energy-efficient-bulbs-halogen-vs-fluorescent-vs-incandescent-3228.html

 

Effects on Climate

Compared to incandescent bulbs, fluorescent lamps are especially efficient in warm climates. Around 90 percent of the energy used to power an incandescent bulb is transformed into heat, as opposed to 30 percent for CFLs, which use less electricity to begin with. When it's hot out, switching to CFLs not only reduces electricity for lighting, but it also reduces workloads on air conditioners. The opposite is true in cold climates. Without the extra heating from incandescent bulbs, more natural gas or oil needs to be burned to heat homes and businesses. In areas where electricity is cheap or comes from non-fossil fuel sources, switching to CFLs can actually increase overall energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions (see References 4).

 

- - -

 

 

A new class of halogen bulbs has recently been developed. These new bulbs use a special infrared coating to redirect infrared light back toward the tungsten filament, reducing waste heat and improving efficiency by up to 30 percent over typical incandescent bulbs (see References 3). They are still not as efficient as CFLs, which are around 75 percent more efficient than normal bulbs, but this variety offers top-tier efficiency when it comes to halogen bulbs

 

 

 

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They have changed enough to meet the 2007 efficiency standards.

 

Or you are just blithering, about something you could look up with a couple of mouse clicks.

 

Baby steps. CFLs aren't going to save the planet either. At least with these I can read the newspaper of a winter's evening - and afford the electric bill.

 

http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/energy-efficient-bulbs-halogen-vs-fluorescent-vs-incandescent-3228.html

Firstly, can you show that older halogen lamps didn't meet those requirements.

Secondly, I'm not blithering, I didn't need to look it up because I already had the figures.

If you like looking stuff up then here's some numbers that prove my point.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incandescent_light_bulb#Efficiency_and_environmental_impact

halogen lamps are about 3.5% efficient as opposed to incandescent lamps at about 2 or 2.5%

What they are not is 30% efficient. They are 30% better than something that's bloody awful.

 

It's not baby steps, it's a serious step in the wrong direction.

LEDs and CFLs run at about 10 to 15% so 3.5% really isn't helping the planet.

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Most home builders are just going to install dimmers because that is the cheapest option, and most homebuyers are not going to like fluorescent tubes in their house.

 

Anders, why not? The humble old flouro tube is getting left out of this conversation. A good 36W slimline flouro with a clean diffuser panel will light up most rooms very well. They also come in round for more compact fittings. While perhaps not as efficient as the newer CFLs, they will outlast the then new CFLs by a large margin (in my experience) so are less fuel intensive in the long run. So why don't people want normal flouros? I grew up with them as household lighting and they were fine.

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