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CFL bulbs: Shedding Light on Misleading Performance Claims (EPA's claims about CFL's are bogus)
Seminole County Environmental News Examiner ^ | Jan 12, 2012 | Kirk Myers

Posted on 01/14/2012 8:08:34 PM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE

By Kirk Myers, Seminole County Environmental News Examiner

This article, the second in a series, focuses on the misleading performance claims surrounding the “more energy efficient” compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs now replacing traditional incandescent bulbs. These potentially harmful mercury-filled lamps (see my previous column describing the dangers) are being forced on consumers by the U.S. congress with support from the Green Lobby and light-bulb manufacturers like GE, Sylvania and Phillips. These and other manufacturers stand to make huge profits selling the more expensive CFLs (more on that issue in my next column).

There is a growing body of evidence undermining claims of the EPA, environmental lobby and light bulb manufacturers touting the performance advantages of mercury-laced CFL bulbs.

Exaggerated lifespan

Real-world reports from the home front show that the claimed extended lifespan of CFLs is often greatly exaggerated. There is ample data indicating that the frequent switching on and off of CFLs greatly shortens their life. A study by H. Sterling Burnett, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, and co-author Amanda Berg concludes

“Unfortunately, except under a fairly narrow range of circumstances, CFLs are less efficient than advertised. Manufacturers claim the average life span of a CFL bulb is 10,000 hours. However, in many applications the life and energy savings of a CFL are significantly lower. Applications in which lighting is used only briefly (such as closets, bathrooms, motion detectors and so forth) will cause CFL bulbs to burn out as quickly as regular incandescent bulbs . . . When initially switched on, CFLs may provide as little as 50 percent to 80 percent of their rated light output and can take up to three minutes to reach full brightness.”

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, Pacific Gas & Electric originally estimated the useful life of CFL bulbs at 9.4 years. But based on real-world results, the company was forced to lower its estimate to 6.3 years, meaning that it had overstated bulb life by 49 percent. “The early burn-out rate, along with several other factors, meant that the actual energy savings were 73 percent less than the 1.7 billion kilowatt hours projected by PG&E,” the Journal reported.

Less bright, more dim with age

As many consumers have noticed, CFL bulbs grow dimmer as they age. In a 2003-2004 study, the U.S. Department of Energy reported that one-fourth of CFLs, after only 40 percent of their rated service life, no longer produced at their rated output.

And according to Wikipedia: “CFLs produce less light later in their lives than when they are new. The light output decay is exponential, with the fastest losses being soon after the lamp is first used. By the end of their lives, CFLs can be expected to produce 70-80% of their original light output.”

After conducting its own tests on bulbs from several manufacturers, The Sunday Telegraph in London “found that under normal conditions, using a single lamp to light a room, an 11W low-energy CFL produced only 58 percent of the illumination of an ‘equivalent’ 60W bulb - even after a 10-minute ‘warm-up.’”

The European Commission, which led the effort to ban incandescent bulbs in Europe, said that claims by manufacturers that CFL’s shine as brightly as old-fashioned bulbs are “not true.”

Posted on its website for consumers was the warning that “exaggerated claims are often made on the packaging about the light output of compact fluorescent lamps.”

Higher heating bills

Go-Green advocates like to complain about the fact that 90 percent of the energy from incandescent lights is given off as heat, with only 10 percent providing illumination. But they ignore one important fact: The extra heat given off during the winter months can actually lower energy bills.

According to a study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “The heat of incandescent lights - more than 341 Btu per bulb per hour - can help to warm a room. Therefore, if the cost of electricity is low relative to the cost of home heating fuel, there may be an economic case for changing to incandescent bulbs in colder seasons.”

In other words, on a cold day when you’re running your electric heater, it makes sense to flip on all those incandescent heat sources. Of course, the contribution of incandescent bulbs to lower heating bills is conveniently missing from pro-CFL literature.

Unsuitable for outdoor lighting

What about the use of CFLs for outdoor lighting? Forget it. Most do not operate well in low temperatures, a performance shortfall that makes them virtually useless for home-security lighting, including as lights in motion detectors. By signing the incandescent bulb’s death warrant, congress has effectively rendered useless outdoor lighting systems that keep away intruders and discourage home break-ins.

Myth of mercury reduction

One of the most misleading arguments advanced in defense of CFLs is the assertion that they reduce harmful mercury levels (a dubious proposition given that the bulbs themselves are laced with mercury).

Case in point: In a letter to the Wall Street Journal in December, CFL advocate Nicole Lederer claimed that “coal-fired power plants produce about half of all mercury.”

In his Jan. 5 response, Charles Battig of Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment-Virginia called the statement “scientifically vacuous and misleading.”

Battig cited data from an op-ed ("The Myth of Killer Mercury” by Willie Soon and Paul Driessen) that broke down mercury contributions as follows: �U.S. coal-fired plants, about 41-48 tons per year; forest fires, about 44 tons per year; Chinese power plants, 400 tons per year, while recurring geological events such as volcanoes and geysers emit 9,000-10,000 tons per year.�

“With these missing pieces of information, wrote Battig, the U.S. power plant contribution of mercury is closer to a 0.5% value than the “half of all mercury” claim by Ms. Lederer.”

Battig then offered this advice:

“Would that Ms. Lederer and the Environmental Entrepreneurs expend an equal amount of environmental anguish over placing compact fluorescent lamp bulbs indoors in homes, schools and factories. These mercury-containing, stealth-pollution bulbs bring the mercury threat right into your living room and nursery.”

No good reason for switchover

The fact is there is no good reason for consumers - even energy-conscious go-green enthusiasts - to replace their old incandescent bulbs with the much-overhyped and potentially dangerous CFL lamps. The sole beneficiaries of the forced switchover are light bulb manufacturers who stand to make huge profits selling CFL bulbs whose shelf price has been artificially lowered (but still is higher than incandescent bulbs) through hefty subsidies paid to them by taxpayers.

In light of the facts, the switchover to CFL bulbs has become a real consumer turn-off.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cflbulbs; cfls; corruption; crushepa; envirofascism; epa; epaisajoke; fraud; ge; gefraud; gelies; generalelectric; geobama; govtabuse; incandescentbulbs; incandescents; lightbulbs; mercury; thegelie; thegreenlie
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Are we subsidizing GE's (er, Obama's tame super-corporations) CFL lightbulb change-overs?

I know the US-built conventional resistance bulb factories are getting shut down .... But is money going TO the Chinese CFL makers/importers?

1 posted on 01/14/2012 8:08:39 PM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE
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To: steelyourfaith

Ping.


2 posted on 01/14/2012 8:14:34 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four Fried Chickens and a Coke)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
In a 2003-2004 study, the U.S. Department of Energy reported that one-fourth of CFLs, after only 40 percent of their rated service life, no longer produced at their rated output.

Um... it's 2012. Have there been no improvements since 2004?

Don't get me wrong, I think you ought to be able to light your home with $30 LEDs or pine knot torches, if that's what floats your boat. Constitutionally, the fedgov has no say in the matter.

But reports should be up-to-date, and honest.

/johnny

3 posted on 01/14/2012 8:16:36 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: JRandomFreeper

There have. We’re pretty fond of our CFLs, then again many are cases where the light would be left on for an hour or two minimum, sometimes considerably more, and ALSO low heat is a very big plus.

As I reiterate every time so I don’t get ran off the site on a rail...I think both types should stay on shelves so everyone can buy what they prefer.


4 posted on 01/14/2012 8:21:15 PM PST by Fire_on_High (WTB new tagline, PST!)
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To: Army Air Corps; steelyourfaith; neverdem; narses; SunkenCiv; Nachum; CholeraJoe; SoothingDave

If you ping steely before I ping steely ...but both of us ping steely before steely pings us, do both of us (or neither of us) get credit for an “In before steely” claim on a CAGW thread?


5 posted on 01/14/2012 8:25:02 PM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but socialists' ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

You bet, we are subsidizing GE, GE wanted to close incandescent production for all kinds of reasons .... you can bet making this technology obsolete is going to have all kinds of tax benefits for GE.

By the way, 6.8 for CFLs isn’t close to being right. My own experience shown all the CFLs in my home burnt out after only 3 years except for very low wattage cfls like the 11 watt mentioned in this article.


6 posted on 01/14/2012 8:30:09 PM PST by dila813
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To: Army Air Corps; Robert A. Cook, PE; Dr. Bogus Pachysandra; grey_whiskers; ApplegateRanch; ...
Army Air Corps; Robert A. Cook, PE

Thanx for the pings Army Air Corps & Robert A. Cook, PE !

 


Beam me to Planet Gore !

7 posted on 01/14/2012 8:31:45 PM PST by steelyourfaith (If it's "green" ... it's crap !!!)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

You raise a good question. Personally, I think that such an action causes a rift in the space-time continuum.


8 posted on 01/14/2012 8:35:15 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four Fried Chickens and a Coke)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

So, with the passing of 100 watters, question comes to mind:

What happens with 50-100-150 bulbs? Are they forced to be 50-150? Can there be 40-80-120, or similar, to replace them?

What about 150w bulbs?


9 posted on 01/14/2012 8:35:27 PM PST by C210N (Dems: "We must tax you so that we can buy your votes")
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

Limbaugh said as much, many moons ago


10 posted on 01/14/2012 8:37:00 PM PST by stickywillie (a corrupt parallel universe exists beside our wonderful Constitution)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, Pacific Gas & Electric originally estimated the useful life of CFL bulbs at 9.4 years. But based on real-world results, the company was forced to lower its estimate to 6.3 years, meaning that it had overstated bulb life by 49 percent.

6.3 years? I'd be glad for half that. I don't think I've found a CFL yet that lasted 3 years.
11 posted on 01/14/2012 8:41:18 PM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: JRandomFreeper

Lots of useful info on the uselessness of CFL bulbs on Junk Science: http://junkscience.com/?s=cfl+bulbs


12 posted on 01/14/2012 8:45:38 PM PST by maddog55 (OBAMA: Why stupid people shouldn't vote.)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

The gov. EPA site says that CFL`s should not be used within 12 inches due to UV radiation.


13 posted on 01/14/2012 8:53:53 PM PST by bunkerhill7 (CFL`s gives you a tan? ? Who knew?)
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To: maddog55
I'm happy enough with my CFLs. And my LEDs. And my Edison bulbs. And my fluorescent tube lights. Light is good. I use the appropriate lighting system in the appropriate place based on good engineering principles.

I'm not so big on kerosene wick lamps. But the pressurized ones don't bother me like some folks, because I can't hear the noise.

/johnny

14 posted on 01/14/2012 8:55:40 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

The European Commission, which led the effort to ban incandescent bulbs in Europe, said that claims by manufacturers that CFL’s shine as brightly as old-fashioned bulbs are “not true.”

Who are you going to believe. The numbers put on the box by someone wanting to sell you something at 6 times the normal price or your own eyes?


15 posted on 01/14/2012 8:56:32 PM PST by freedomfiter2 (Brutal acts of commission and yawning acts of omission both strengthen the hand of the devil.)
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To: af_vet_rr

CFL’s last me 1-6 months. I only use them on 2 light fixtures that are higher up and harder to change. I can change the other bulbs once a month and still be cheaper than using CFL’s and the light is better.


16 posted on 01/14/2012 8:56:42 PM PST by packrat35 (When will we admit we are know almost a police state?)
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To: Fire_on_High
incandescent bulbs haven't gone away. They are being built\sold using less wattage producing the same lumens at a greatly increased priced.

We’ve been using CFLs since they came out. my wife hates ‘em. The early ones sucked. Today's aren't to bad, but they don't last as long as advertised. There are very few lights in our house that are on for any length of time.

The LEDs are still too expensive and I really don't like the light they give off.

We'll probably end up with a mix of new incandescent and CFLs.

17 posted on 01/14/2012 8:58:35 PM PST by stylin19a (obama - "FREDO" smart)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

I live in the People’s Republic of California. My 89 yr old mother-in-law has macular degeneration and she always turns on all the lights in her house and it’s still not bright enough for her to see. It’s absolutely infuriating that the so called do-gooders have made it against the law for her to have sufficient lighting. She was a nurse in the WACs in WWII and worked as a nurse until she retired at 65. She should be allowed to have whatever the frik she wants/needs for lighting so her quality of life is the best it can be.

Forcing her to use dimmer, poisonous bulbs is absolutely shameful!!!! Shouldn’t we, as a society, be trying to improve people’s lives with sufficient light, water, power rather than strangling the progress that has been made???


18 posted on 01/14/2012 9:00:31 PM PST by TMD (Behind enemy lines.....)
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To: TMD
She should be allowed to have whatever the frik she wants/needs for lighting so her quality of life is the best it can be.

Yep. FedGov doesn't have any legitimate authority in that area.

/johnny

19 posted on 01/14/2012 9:04:28 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
I have enough 60,75,and 100-watt bulbs to last me the rest of my life and more. I should put them into my will?

I have only one florescent light in my house that I consistently use and and that is the one that lights up my kitchen overghead. I wish I could find something to replace that fixture?

20 posted on 01/14/2012 9:11:28 PM PST by rawhide
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