Monday, October 06, 2008

Efficient lighting pt 3

In the first two articles, I promoted the virtues of the newer CFL's. But, while they have come a long way, they are still not perfect. After much searching and measuring of CFL's, I am still not satisfied with the state of the art.

This is not to say I don't think they are a good idea, I do think we should be heading that way, but we (as a society) are not there yet. The best "green" products should put "green" in our pockets. If they don't, we need to rethink them. CFL's put green in our pockets, but only when they fit in the sockets and when they get a lot of use (like my desk, stove, garage, and reading lamps). A quick count says I have about 10 CFL's and 10 regular light bulbs in use in my home. These numbers probably won't change much for a couple years.

LED lamps for household use are not really ready for prime time, yet, but there may be exceptions. Several kinds of Christmas lights (and I assume similar lights for other functions or holidays) use LED's. Also, a standard night light uses over $5 a year in electricity. I have found some LED night lights that cost less than $3 each (and use about $.25 a year in electricity) making them worthwhile if you just need something so you won't stub your toe in the dark. The problem I had with the reading lamp was the cost, which was in excess of $30, making even a single failure unacceptable.

I tackled efficient household lighting because it seems to be on every body's mind. Talked about in the press, and advertised on TV. But in reality, it is a pretty small part of the picture, dwarfed by the costs of air conditioning, construction, manufacturing, and transportation. This is one reason cost of the light bulbs is so important - it represents energy use in manufacturing and transporting the light bulbs to you. And if there is no payback on that, there is no payoff in energy conservation.

Some useful links:
usatoday 2008-02-28-light-bulb_N.htm

EnergyInvestmentStrategies dot com 2008 cfl-problems coming to light - good news for leds

energystar partners/downloads/meetings/Karney.pdf

Scientific American - the switch is on

stupidevilbastard-comments (the days of the incandescent light bulb in the US are numbered)

forums CNet message thread

BuildersSquare dot com Light Bulbs Buying Guide 45

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