Thursday, December 2, 2010

>:( CFL? Green?

The light bulb.

Interesting factoid:

Reginald Fressenden, a Canadian, improved Tomas Edisons “platinum filament” light bulb with a cheap steel based alloy to make the light bulbs cheap enough to mass produce. He also helped pioneer television, sonar and radio. Smart dude!

Lately I have been hearing the "CFL" debate again. The United Nations thinks that they are an improvement on the incandescent light bulb. They are currently endorsing it as a "better solution" than incandescent bulbs

What is the difference? Which one is “greener”?

That is a complex analysis! One uses less energy, the other less materials. One lasts a long time, the other costs less. One has toxic materials, the other, less expensive materials.

This comparison is made even more complex when the CFL does not last the claimed “10” years, let me explain. I have bought several of these to have them “blow out” in weeks. They are expensive and dirty to recycle. Seems they do not fare well on dimmer switches or areas with “spiky” energy. What a waste. $6 bucks for 2 weeks of use is not "green". Has this happened to you?

I am not getting paid to do a scientific study on this, so, I will let you think it through with me.

CFLs consume more energy to make. Of course materials are cheap, but, look at the plastics(housing), electronics (transformer) and mercury(yuck) that they use. Those are not "cheap" on our environment. When they do not last 10 years, what is the energy savings? What is the impact on our environment. Of course "they" say, recycle them. But, what if it breaks? How to clean up the mercury? Is there instructions "on the back" for that?

Incandescent lights use more energy. That is why you should avoid CFLs and just lower the wattage of your normal bulbs. I find the light is softer, less buzzy and that fluorescent light is harsh on my eyes. Will they stop making incandescent bulbs? Yes! Are you worried? Don't be!

So, add it up. If you use a 25 watt CFL and a 25 watt Incandescent, over ten years, which has the least impact ( this assumes the CFL lasts, but, what if it only lasted 5 )? What if over 10 years you use 5 incandescents? Is a 25 watt light enough for you?

When you add "it" up, you will find that CFL's come with low energy promises, but toxic secrets and "big claims in life expectancy". Of course, they fail to tell you the "full lifecycle of the product".

Oh, if you are interested, I suggest the future of lights: LED lights last much longer than both! Check the facts first! No breakage! No kidding! NO CFL's!

Why is everyone so "CFL greenwashed"? Because, Walmart already built the "CFL mega factory" in China, and "they" have to hit economies of scale, or they lose money. I hope so! Lets get smarter, learn to avoid the #greenwash.

Think it through. Does it make sense? Then vote with your dollars, the government will not help.


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