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The E.U. has embraced CFLs. Photo created using images by stevecadman and AZAdam

The Ban Begins

People stockpiling light bulbs?

It's happening in the European Union as the first set of restrictions on the sale of conventional incandescent lighting go into effect. Retailers are allowed to sell off their remaining stocks of incandescent frosted glass bulbs before a blanket ban on their import begins. It is the beginning of a gradual phase-out resulting in a full-scale switch to compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs). Reaction thus far is mixed -- some are embracing it, some are accepting grudgingly and others are panicking and stockpiling.

CFLs use up to 80 percent less energy than standard light bulbs and save money in the long term but the switch has triggered fierce debate. CFLs have a higher up-front cost and there is concern about their mercury content. Others are decrying the loss of consumer choice. E.U. officials reassured consumers the change will be gradual; the most common type of light bulb, the clear 60-watt, will be available until September 2011.

America is slated to phase out incandescent bulbs starting 2012. Will you embrace the change or stockpile old bulbs?


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Ban makes no sense -for any reason

09/04/2009 07:40 PM lighthouse10

Europeans, like Americans, choose to buy ordinary light bulbs around 8-9 times out of 10 (light industry data 2007-8)
Banning what people want gives the supposed savings - no point in banning an impopular product!

If new LED lights -or improved CFLs- are good,
people will buy them - no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (little point).
If they are not good, people will not buy them - no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (no point).
The arrival of the transistor didn't mean that more energy using radio tubes were banned... they were bought less anyway.

Supposed savings don't hold up in any case, for many reasons:
(http://www.ceolas.net#li13x onwards)

Just a few examples here:
Brightness problem of CFLs:
Supposed equivalents are not actually equivalent in brightness, so
higher energy using CFLs needed for adequate brightness.
See recent testing of CFL brightness versus ordinary bulbs:

CFL Lifespan is lab tested in 3 hour cycles. That does not correspond to real life usage and numerous tests have shown real life type on-off switching reducing lifespan. Leaving lights on of course also uses up energy, as does the switch-on power surge with CFLs
Also, CFLs get dimmer with age, effectively reducing lifespan

Power factor: Few people know that CFLs typically have a power factor of 0.5 - that means that power stations use up twice as much power than what the CFL rating shows. This has to do with current and voltage phase differences set up when CFLs are used.
Although consumers do not see this on their meters, they will of course have to pay for it on their bills.
This is explained with official links including to US Dept of Energy here: http://ceolas.net/#li15eux

Heat benefit from using ordinary incandescent light bulbs
A little bulb near the ceiling may not seem like much, but
room heat substantially rises to the ceiling (convection) and spreads downwards from there. Half of more of supposed switch savings are negated in temperate climates, as shown via the above link with American and Canadian research references.

Also: Much greater energy in CFL manufacture, transport (from China) and recycling, compared to ordinary simple light bulbs.

if energy use does fall with light bulb and other proposed efficiency bans and electricity companies make less money,
they’ll simply push up the electricity bills to compensate:
(especially since power companies often have their own grids with little supply competition)
Energy regulators can hardly deny any such cost covering exercise...

Does a light bulb give out any gases?
Power stations might not either:
Why should emission-free households be denied the use of lighting they obviously want to use?
Low emission households already dominate some regions, and will increase everywhere, since emissions will be reduced anyway through the planned use of coal/gas processing technology and/or energy substitution.

A direct effective way to deal with emissions (for all else they contain too, whatever about CO2):

The Taxation alternative
A ban on light bulbs is extraordinary, in being on a product safe to use.
We are not talking about banning lead paint here.
Even for those who remain pro-ban, taxation to reduce consumption would make much more sense, since governments can use the income to reduce emissions (home insulation schemes, renewable projects etc) more than any remaining product use causes such problems.
A few euros/dollars tax that reduces the current sales (EU like the USA 2 billion sales per annum, UK 250-300 million pa)
raises future billions, and would retain consumer choice.
It could also be revenue neutral, lowering any sales tax on efficient products.

However, taxation is itself unjustified, it is simply better than bans also for ban proponents, in the overall lowering of emissions.

Maybe the rising controversy of such a ban will influence American and Canadian debate?

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