Tuesday, January 11, 2011

California's Incandescent Bulb Ban Begins

California's Incandescent Bulb Ban Begins "It's equal bits amazing and confounding that in this time of rapid technological advancement, when a 3G mobile phone is outdated in under 12 months, that there are plenty of people griping about updating a tech product that has barely changed in 121 years."


The Dad said...

It seems to me that the industy needs to quickly look past CFL and go straight to LED. The recycling and mercury issues related to CFL really bug me. And I can't wait for LEDs to come down in price. Personally, hearing the comment "they pay for themselves in X years" to me is bull. Nothing "pays for itself". Things cost money, period. Sure, you save money in terms of electrical usage, but buying one bulb that costs >$20 by no means "pays" for itself.

I currently have a track light, of sorts, with three 50w GU10 bulbs in it, above our kitchen table. Replacements using 4w LED bulbs cost about $29 each. If I use those lights at full power 3 hours a day, 365 days per year, LEDs would "pay for themselves" in a little over two years. However more likely I should calculate it out to about 1 to 2 hours a day based on real usage. So let's say they pay for themselves in 4 years. What's the real lifespan of an LED? I'd bet it's about 4 years. But no one truly knows yet, and I've got plenty of CFL bulbs in my basement that were replaced within 2 years next to incandescants that lasted twice as long.

Don't get me wrong, I want to put in those bulbs to save energy, but I don't buy the "they pay for themselves" crap. BTW two things still need to happen in the industry. First, more bulbs need to be dimmable. Second, the price needs to go WAY down. In just my great room, which includes the lights I mentioned above, there are a total of 17 bulbs of varying types. Some are recessed floods, some are CFLs, some are halogen. Almost all are on dimmers. If I were able to replace them all with LEDs at today's rates, I'd have to remove 4 dimmer switches, and spend over $500. For light bulbs in one room. Savings or not, I cannot justify it.

Howard said...

See my previous posts on CFLs. The first one might give you an idea...


Karl said...

I've replaced my incandescent with clfs as they burn out. About half my fixtures still have incandescent after 10 years. Where do these 4 year life spans come from? One thing to consider is that the "wasted" energy is given off as heat (and UV, sound, etc., but mostly heat). So in a colder climate it is not actually wasted. Maybe my scales are off such that this is not a significant contribution, but I do use my incandescent desk lamp to keep my fingers warm at the computer which allows me to lower the room temperature.

As for dimmable LED's. I'm not sure why they don't exist. A basic LED will illuminate in proportion to its input voltage so a simple inline potentiometer would allow you to (inefficiently) dim an LED. I guess we can blame it on AC current and existing infrastructure.

The Dad said...

Howard, yeah, I remember those posts...not much has changed.

Karl: re "I do use my incandescent desk lamp to keep my fingers warm at the computer"

>That's so sad.