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Arguments about CFLs vs: incandescent bulbs  RSS feed

 
Charles Kelm
Posts: 171
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
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Paul suggested I post this on the forum. A childhood friend of mine posted the following on FaceBook:

Congress overturns incandescent light bulb ban

His comment about the article: Curse the GOP planet-destroyers and their dirty-energy blackmail tactics. Guarantee this will result in numerous coal power plants running for decades longer than necessary. Which means we are even more screwed for sea-level rises, droughts and floods than we already have been.

I posted Paul's article about CFL's on RichsSoil.com and my friend responded with:

Two things, Charles. 1) Clearly the CFLs are a stopgap measure. 2) The amount of mercury emitted just to produce the power differential for an incandescent with the standard grid mix is greater than that contained in the CFL. The only way the analysis would work is if the electricity were not produced from coal, or if the mercury were scrubbed out of the coal-plant exhaust. And if CFLs are handled properly, NO mercury is released into the environment. Incandescents release copious amounts of mercury just by existing. Fluorescent lighting has saved untold electricity since its invention in the early 20th century. CFLs will be phased out soon, but they have their place.

And of course, Charles, the article is full of other propaganda and paranoia you should really think twice about posting. Not only wrong, but wildly so. For instance, he talks about CFL subsidy, but says nothing about fossil fuel subsidies or externalities. I think you should improve the sourcing of your articles generally.

here's something about being a contrarian which makes people lose their critical thinking skills. If you're going against consensus, better have your ducks in a row.

I am here to "get my ducks in a row" before responding to him. Thoughts on what I should say in response, or is my friend correct?
 
Nemo Lhamo
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But clearly in the Northern climes you will have to burn something to keep your house warm for half the year. Where I live almost no electricity is from coal. So in Winter it is more environmentally friendly to use incandescent since the heating factor is neutral. I actually switch some rooms from CFL to incandescent around November.
 
Jami McBride
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Location: PNW Oregon
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He is 'vested' and would loose face if he truly looked at other perspectives. Everything he says about what you presented can be said of what he is presenting.

He says "Curse the GOP planet-destroyers and their dirty-energy blackmail tactics" but makes no mention of the loss of freedom of choice, nor of government over stepping it's role. A dangerous slippery slope indeed. He is one of those that believes the will of the few should override the choice of the many. Everyone that doesn't believe as he does is wrong and unfit to govern themselves. So call in the government and new laws to control the stupid bastards and make their choices for them.

People can believe whichever side in keeping with their values and beliefs, those who are passionate can present their side in the public forum, but....
Curse the controlling destroyers of freedom, curse those who through propaganda and fear take away my right to choose for myself through bigger government and restrictive laws.

I made up my own mind as soon as the truth came out, long before Paul's article. Mercury is not for me or my house - ever! That's my choice, it should be my right.

IMO this is not a CFL question it is a question of freedom, and I want mine.... so I can vote with my money and a free market can respond with better choices and products.


 
Brian Knight
Posts: 554
Location: Asheville NC
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Im agree with Nemo and really like your solution of switching to incandescent in the Winter to help with the Heating load. Something people need to be careful about: If your lighting outlet box is not fully air sealed (recessed cans especially vulnerable) then the driving force of an incandescent can suck quite a bit of conditioned air into the attic. This is huge energy penalty on top of Incandescent's terrible lighting efficiency.

People arguing against CFLs are wasting their time. LEDs are taking over. They arent perfect yet but address the biggest problem of Incandescents; terrible Lumens per Watt. http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2011/11/29/LEDs-The-Future-Is-Here/
 
Madison Wells
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Charles Kelm wrote:Clearly the CFLs are a stopgap measure.

Lighting accounts for 10% of household electricity use, household electricity use accounts for 39% of total electricity use, electricity uses 40% of total energy, and 70% of electricity is derived from fossil fuels.

Household Lighting:
10% of household electricity use
3.9% of total electricity use
1.1% of total fossil fuel use

For fresh CFLs and using manufacturers inflated lumen numbers would translate into a savings of 7.5% off of household electricity use and 0.8% off of total fossil fuel use. Using more realistic numbers (65% of claimed lumen, 80% lumens over it's lifetime) gives us 3.9% household electricity savings and 0.42% total fossil fuel savings.

3.9% isn't a stopgap, it's a joke, it's nothing, almost anything you do to conserve power will dwarf these pitiful savings.

The amount of mercury emitted just to produce the power differential for an incandescent with the standard grid mix is greater than that contained in the CFL.

As Wheaton states in his article this is only true if we accept very generous estimations of CFL light output and longevity, and landfill mercury sequestration.

And if CFLs are handled properly, NO mercury is released into the environment.

It's ludicrous to believe that the average consumer will be disposing of them properly when eco-conscious early adopters aren't.

There's also the every present risk to the occupants of a broken CFL.
 
John Polk
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Who, amongst us, has never broken a light bulb?
 
Jami McBride
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John Polk wrote:Who, amongst us, has never broken a light bulb?


Exactly.... and what about children and their accidents.
Something always gets broken by flying objects when raising children.

It's crazy to think I'd buy a common household product I have to be afraid of.
 
                        
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Incandescent light bulbs were supposed to become illegal in Canada today but the government has finally caught up to the mercury question so now is dithering. They aren't backpedalling very far; they are now giving the manufacturers of CFL bulbs until 2014 to figure out ways to arrange for "proper disposal" whatever that means.

Lots of people don't recycle anything as it is..I wonder how many kids will have to get mercury poisoning from stepping on a broken bulb or breathing in the vapours before the government wakes up and realizes we really could do better than deliberately putting such stuff into the environment at all. However, lots of people didn't know anything about the dangers of cfls so there may be a backlash which gets rid of them entirely.
 
peter dublin
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RE Permaculture Dec 2011 Podcast
http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/623-podcast-100-cfl-compact-fluorescent-lightbulbs/

See http://sendyourlightbulbstowashington.wordpress.com/
Linking to it
It also links to your site on right hand side.

The CFL issue is also extensively covered on the Ceolas.net site
eg
http://www.ceolas.net/#li15eux
 
Robert Eiffert
Posts: 16
Location: Zone 8
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The WATimes was, to be generous, exaggerating; The law was restricted to low-efficiency bulbs. And most manufacturers had already made changes to incandescent bulbs increasing their efficiency to legally acceptable levels. Which probably says more about how low the requirements were than anything else.

For most of the other claims, it would really give more credence to your argument to actually bring some supporting evidence to the table.


"Approved during the George W. Bush administration, EISA (Energy Independence and Security Act ) established light bulb standards requiring manufacturers to develop 27 percent more efficient incandescent bulbs by 2014." http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/07/13/13climatewire-market-for-more-efficient-light-bulbs-moves-12837.html

"Section 321 sets an energy efficiency standard for general service incandescent
lamp" http://energy.senate.gov/public/_files/RL342941.pdf
 
peter dublin
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To clarify RE the Washington Times article in the above post

The 2012 sale of regular 100W incandescents was never banned
Only the manufacture and import.
Since stores are stocking up, it will not change things for consumers short term.
However, it does mean Congressmen are forced to look again at the whole issue
in election year 2012.

Also, long term is a different story:
incandescent technology for ordinary lamps will effectively come to be banned,
on the mandated 45 lumen per Watt end regulation standard
(touted halogen incandescent replacements only reach typically 20-22 lumens per W)
See
http://freedomlightbulb.blogspot.com/2011/12/after-funding-amendment-clear_18.html







 
peter dublin
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RE Madison Wells comment that energy savings are insignificant overall

this is true:
See the Energy Dept etc referenced rundown http://ceolas.net/#li171x
= less than 1% of total energy, 1-2% grid electricity saved
Much more relevant generation, grid upgrade, alternative consumption savings, as described

Also.. more on the deception behind the regulations
http://freedomlightbulb.blogspot.com/2011/11/deception-behind-ban.html

something for Charles to chew over
 
peter dublin
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RE CFL Mercury and Coal mercury

Clearly Charles's friend doesn't know what EPA is doing.

The coal plant "rat in a pizza" argument keeps doing the rounds,
but USA EPA administration themselves are not pursuing that
argument (whatever about old diagrams floating around), following the
90% mercury emission reduction mandate as pursued under new EPA head Lisa Jackson.

Ban proponents use old mercury emission data
- just like they use old CO2 emissions data,
project that forward to 2030,
and then talk of multi-million ton savings
- completely ignoring planned output reduction changes

It never was true anyway, for the extensive referenced reasons here:
http://ceolas.net/#li198x
(Of course, to the user, a broken bulb in the home is a likely greater
worry than a distant chimney emission release anyway, again with
reference to EPA in their thorough clean-up mandates)



 
John Polk
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One argument that I have never even heard mentioned comes to mind:

By their shape, CFLs would be useless for darning socks. The incandescent is the clear winner here.
 
paul wheaton
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Your friend is right, there is a lot of propaganda. from the CFL industry channeled through all sorts of wacky places.

How could there be propaganda from the incandescent industry? Those are the guys that will get rich switching everybody to CFLs.

the article is full of other propaganda and paranoia you should really think twice about posting. Not only wrong, but wildly so. For instance, he talks about CFL subsidy, but says nothing about fossil fuel subsidies or externalities.


So let me see if I understand this logic. There cannot be a CFL subsidy because there is no mention of other subsidies.

Charles, I think I've learned that your quality standards for friends is set really low. You need to be more picky.

In the meantime, I think your friend makes a perfect example of the kind of fountains of misinformation that are the norm today.

 
Charles Kelm
Posts: 171
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
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Well, I haven't seen him in like 22 years. It's funny you mention that Neil, because he very often de-freinds anybody who isn't inline with his Obama-can-do-no-wrong idealogy. I'm only still his friend because I try not to be too antagonistic.

Paul, yeah, my friend is pretty smart - he'll be the first to tell you so.
 
Suzy Bean
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Paul and Jocelyn talk about some friends of theirs that recently had an energy audit on their house. They talk about CFL lighting, and the importance of making lifestyle changes in sustainability. podcast
 
paul wheaton
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Rather than start a new thread, I thought I would add this to an existing thread.

I have received some odd responses to this video:



77: My light bulbs are all CFLs and they have lasted for years, therefore this video is wrong.

78: Americans don't use lights that way, so there is no point in making a video about 30 seconds or less.

For 77 I wonder about how long lights are left on. I suspect they are left on a lot and that leads to 78.

And for 78, I think what is being said is that most americans just leave lots and lots of lights on. Many of them 24 hours per day.

I think another point that somebody might get from the video is that they should leave their CFL lights on a long time so they don't burn out as quickly.

So, I wish to take a moment to explore one house with one person. Let's focus on an evening in winter. Let's say it gets dark at six. Let's call this "scenario 222": The porch light is simply left on 24x7. A single switch in the living room turns on 8 lights. A single switch in the kitchen turns on 8 more. When it is dark, this person turns on the kitchen and living room lights for the evening - until they go to bed at 10. Let's say something similar happens in the morning for an hour. And we add an hour in the morning for four lights in the bedroom. Then there is a sprinkle of lights here and there for hallways, closets, bathrooms, etc. but in this scenerio, those lights are turned off when not in use.

So with a CFL, let us suppose that all lights are a "60 watt equivalent" (15 watts). The porch light is 10.8kwh. The kitchen is 18kwh and the living room is 18kwh. The bedroom is 1.8kwh. Total of 48.6kwh. Maybe all the rest of the lighting needs will round it out to 50.

At ten cents per kwh, that's $5 per month for one person. Which, for the winter time, is about the national average for one person.

Let us suppose that this one person in scenario 222 spends each evening on the internet and watching television. Both in the living room. Sometimes the evening meal is delivered and sometimes the evening meal is a microwaved box of something from the freezer.

I wish to make a suggestion for this person in scenario 222. First, turn off the kitchen lights when you are not in the kitchen. Second, turn off the porch light except when needed - or better yet, leave it on and put a motion detector sensor on it. Third, modify the lighting in the living room so that there is one light bulb for tv or computer use, and then go ahead and use all 8 when you really need the illumination. This cuts about 44kwh. So if the total lighting was 50, we have, with a few simple things, eliminated 88% of the lighting bill. The lighting bill is now 6kwh per month. About 60 cents per month.

Now I suggest that we change all of the light bulbs from CFL to incandescent. Let us assume that the energy saving claims of the CFL are accurate (which I don't think they are - but that's a different discussion for a different day). So all lighting just popped up to 24kwh. But wait .... we're talking about winter. All of the lights, except for the one outside, give off heat. In fact, they give off radiant heat - far more efficient than the convective heat that is used in most homes. Without changing the thermostat, the heater comes on less often because of the heat given off by the lights. Effectively, the power for all incandescent lighting, in the winter, is free. Because every dollar spent on lighting is a dollar saved on heating. Now there are people that could argue that if you position your light bulb next to the ceiling and insulate poorly, then some of that heat would be lost. True - but that too can be mitigated. Further, if you direct the light (and heat) to the person, you can heat the person and, thus, be able to turn down the thermostat thus saving even more money.

So:

CFLs in scenario 222: $5 per month

a little optimization: $0.60 per month

convert that to incandescent: maybe $2.40 per month, maybe $0.00 per month, maybe -$20.00 per month






 
paul wheaton
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To add a little more to this idea.

If you combine in my electric heat article, I suppose I could say that a single incandescent bulb helped save me $480 in electricity during a montana winter.

 
paul wheaton
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Oh right, almost forgot. Another argument is that this heat is not of much use in the summer. My response to that is that my dominant form of light in the summer is sunshine from the much longer days. So I suppose my monthly expense for powering lightbulbs is something around 30 cents per month.


 
R Scott
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Any flourescent light in a home environment doesn't make much sense, other than possibly grow lights.


 
paul wheaton
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I want people that call themselves environmentalists to be against the
poisons, the sickness, lies and wickedness behind CFLs

 
That new kid is a freak. Show him this tiny ad:
The $50 and Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler - digital download
https://permies.com/wiki/23442/digital-market/digital-market/Underground-House-Book-Mike-Oehler
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