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European Union Begins Ban of Incandescent Light Bulbs September 1, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Controversial information, incandescent light bulb.
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The Incandescent Ban: Coming to a country near you!

The Incandescent Ban: Coming to a country near you!

Gadzooks! The EU has begun their ban the incandescent light bulb. Below is an article about the stir it is causing throughout Europe and even worldwide. Remember the EU is not the only one banning the incandescent. Heck the US is planning on a 2012 ban with some restrictions beginning as soon as 2010.

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

 

ABC’s Samantha Fields reports from London: Across Europe today, a mundane household object is causing quite a stir — the incandescent light bulb, which is now living on borrowed time. The European Union Tuesday began enforcing a ban on incandescent bulbs, in an effort to save energy and combat global warming. Under the ban, factories are no longer allowed to produce the frosted glass bulbs, and retailers are not allowed to import them, though they can continue selling ones they already have. Conceived by Thomas Edison, incandescent light bulbs were first produced commercially in 1879, and in the 130 years since, almost nothing about them has changed. Now, though, the traditional bulbs are being replaced by the more energy-efficient — and more expensive — compact fluorescent bulbs. While some Europeans are in support of the ban and the reasons behind it, many others are mourning the endangered bulbs, which are cheaper, and give off a warmer glow. Some people are even rushing to stockpile incandescent bulbs, which will remain on the shelves only until retailers sell out of their existing stock. In Germany, sales of incandescent bulbs were up 35 percent in the first half of the year. One objection to the ban is that compact fluorescent bulbs cost around $14 a piece, compared to less than a dollar each for a traditional bulb. But the initial cost of the bulbs, officials say, is offset by energy savings down the line, and by the fact that compact fluorescent bulbs tend to last longer than incandescent ones. By E.U. calculations, making the switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, which use 80 percent less energy, could save each household more than $70 a year on electricity bills. Even if people can be convinced on the financial front, though, many are up in arms over the ban for other reasons. People who suffer from a variety of conditions, such as epilepsy, anxiety and lupus, say that fluorescent light has an adverse affect on their health. Others are concerned about the levels of mercury found in the bulbs. Compact fluorescents also tend to take longer to illuminate, cannot be used with dimmer switches, and emit a harsher light. That, in many ways, is what it comes down to: quality of light. Though the European Union is not the first to ban incandescent bulbs — Australia and Cuba have also done so — its experience will serve as a preview for the U.S., which is planning to phase them out starting in 2012. As the battle against climate change moves increasingly front and center, proponents of the energy-guzzling incandescent bulb seem to be fighting a losing battle. Still, they’re unlikely to let Edison’s bulbs go out without a fight.

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1. peter in dublin - September 1, 2009

About why this ban is wrong, and the politics behind it
http://www.ceolas.net/#li1x
onwards

Europeans, like Americans, choose to buy ordinary light bulbs around 9 times out of 10 (light industry data 2007-8)
Banning what people want gives the supposed savings – no point in banning an impopular product!

If new LED lights -or improved CFLs- are good,
people will buy them – no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (little point).
If they are not good, people will not buy them – no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (no point).
The arrival of the transistor didn’t mean that more energy using radio tubes were banned… they were bought less anyway.

The particular error of banning 100W+ ordinary bulbs is that bright CFLs or LEDs are comparatively difficult and expensive to make,
and the high wattage heat effect is not necessarily wasted (see below ).

Banning frosted lights smacks of particularly unwarranted EU pettiness, for any marginal savings involved.
Clear lights (including halogens) have a strong glare – hence the overwhelming popularity of frosted lights for ceiling use.

Another problem is that small bright CFLs and LEDs are difficult to make, so that candle/golfball lights are bulkier and may not fit some lamps.

Supposed savings don’t hold up for many reasons

Just a few examples here:
CFL Lifespan is lab tested in 3 hour cycles. That does not correspond to real life usage and numerous tests have shown real life type on-off switching reducing lifespan. Leaving lights on of course also uses up energy, as does the switch-on power surge with CFLs
Also, CFLs get dimmer with age, effectively reducing lifespan

Power factor: Few people know that CFLs typically have a power factor of 0.5 – that means that power stations use up twice as much power than what the CFL rating shows. This has to do with current and voltage phase differences set up when CFLs are used.
Although consumers do not see this on their meters, they will of course have to pay for it on their bills.
This is explained with official links including to US Dept of Energy here: http://ceolas.net/#li15eux

Heat benefit from using ordinary incandescent light bulbs:
http://ceolas.net/#li6x
Room heat substantially rises to the ceiling (convection) and spreads downwards from there. Another half of more of supposed switch savings are negated in temperate climates, as shown via the above link with several official research references.

Conversely,
if energy use does fall with light bulb and other proposed efficiency bans and electricity companies make less money,
they’ll simply push up the electricity bills to compensate:
Energy regulators can hardly deny any such cost covering exercise.

Emissions?
Does a light bulb give out any gases?
Power stations might not either:
Why should emission-free households be denied the use of lighting they obviously want to use?
Low emission households already dominate some regions, and will increase everywhere, since emissions will be reduced anyway through the planned use of coal/gas processing technology and/or energy substitution.

The Taxation alternative
A ban on light bulbs is extraordinary, in being on a product safe to use.
We are not talking about banning lead paint here.
Even for those who remain pro-ban, taxation to reduce consumption would make much more sense, since governments can use the income to reduce emissions (home insulation schemes, renewable projects etc) more than any remaining product use causes such problems.
A few euros (or equivalent) tax that reduces the current sales (EU 2 billion per annum, UK c. 250-300 million pa, Germany c 1/2 billion per annum), raises future billions, and would retain consumer choice.
It could also be revenue neutral, lowering any sales tax on efficient products.
However, taxation is itself unjustified, it is simply better than bans also for ban proponents, in overall emssion lowering terms.

2. Otitismedia di Monaco - September 4, 2009

peter in dublin wrote:
Europeans, like Americans, choose to buy ordinary light bulbs around 9 times out of 10.

In the future, this quote is expected to drop in favor of improved LED lights anyhow. So, if nowadays the CFL bulbs really last ten times longer than incandescents, very soon, 50% of all bulbs operating in private homes will already be non-incandescent — and this proportion will continue to rise!
Notably, without any lighting product ban messing with the the citizens’ well-being, or the visual appearance of anyone’s interior design!

3. peter in dublin - September 8, 2009

Right, otitismedia.

So of course if people buy the new bulbs
a ban makes no sense either,
because the supposed savings aren’t there…

About the real and unpublicised EU political and industrial reasons
behind the ban:
http://www.ceolas.net/#li1ax


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