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ZOinks! NXP wants to give every light bulb an internet connection! Who said the future was dead? May 25, 2011

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Gadzooks! Lightbulbs are beginning to be the cure-all for all of society’s ills! Well..maybe not but they sure aren’t the light bulbs I grew up with! Check out this article about Semiconductor manufacturer NXP vision the new internet light bulbs!

ZOinkS!

Semiconductor specialist NXP has announced an innovative new way for businesses and consumers to reduce their energy usage: smart, internet-connected light bulbs that can talk to each other.

Demonstrated this week at the LightFair International Show, NXP – in partnership with TCP and GreenWave Reality – has developed a product it calls ‘GreenChip’, which it plans to use to create ‘smart lighting’ networks by giving every light bulb its own internet connection.

Adding additional power-draining hardware to a bulb to reduce energy use might seem counter-intuitive, but NXP believes it could have a massive impact on energy efficiency, through smarter, rather than dimmer, lighting.

“The GreenChip smart lighting solution signals a fundamental shift in the way we interact with lights – at home, in the office, even outdoors,” claimed NXP’s John Croteau. “By bringing together wireless IP connectivity with our energy-efficient lighting and power conversion technologies in a compact, low-cost solution, we are transforming the way we design, control and manage lights.”

Croteau envisions GreenChip technology being used to create lights that communicate with each other and with their owners via the internet, creating ‘intelligent lighting environments’ – lights that turn on and off when they’re needed, at a predetermined level of brightness.

“Our smart lighting solution also brings us one step closer to the ‘Internet of Things’,” Croteau claimed, “a world in which every home appliance can be monitored and controlled via an IP address.”

The GreenChip network is designed to operate on the same wireless frequencies used by ‘smart meter’ technologies, potentially allowing interoperation between the two systems – and the technology behind the network, known as JenNet-IP, will be made open-source for other manufacturers to add support to their products.

NXP has announced that reference designs of its Internet-connected light bulbs are available now, but has yet to suggest when the technology will be ready for a commercial launch.

Author: Gareth Halfacree

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Zoinks! New Light Bulbs are “Can Do?”?? This guy from USA Today Thinks So! February 4, 2011

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Gadzooks! It seems everyone has an opinion about Light Bulbs these days! Nothing stirs up more conversation than saying “spiral bulb” in mixed company..Anyways this guy from USA Today thinks the “new light bulbs” are “can do”..Me to! As long as they don’t suck..

ZOinmks! Did I say that?

When it comes to energy, the United States is too often the nation of “can’t.” Can’t drill for oil in new areas offshore. Can’t build a new generation of nuclear power plants. Can’t raise gasoline taxes to discourage the use of imported oil. Can’t move quickly to site new offshore wind plants. By PR Newswire More efficient choices: Halogen, compact fluorescent and light-emitting diode bulbs. EnlargeCloseBy PR Newswire More efficient choices: Halogen, compact fluorescent and light-emitting diode bulbs. OPPOSING VIEW: Turn on the BULB Act What the nation can do is limp along with a status quo energy policy that takes many energy decisions out of Americans’ hands and weakens national security and the environment. More than half the oil Americans use is imported — a vulnerability underscored by the ongoing tumult in Egypt. Electricity production relies heavily on coal, which exacts a heavy toll on the global climate. Congress and the president spend far more time talking about these problems than solving them, but occasionally they get it right. One of those times was in 2007, when then- President Bush signed an energy bill that, among other things, raised car mileage standards and took aim at an extravangantly inefficient household item: the light bulb. The best way for government to boost energy efficiency isn’t to micromanage by picking winners and losers, a job better suited to free-market innovation. It is to set a reasonable standard — miles per gallon or light per watt, for example — and let the market sort it out. That’s what Congress did in 2007. Americans are already reaping the benefits of higher-mileage vehicles, but a rebellion is brewing against the new standard for more efficient light bulbs, which takes effect next New Year’s Day. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., complained in a response to President Obama’s State of the Union address that the government “now tells us which light bulbs to buy.” A group of House Republicans has introduced a bill to repeal the standard..  That would be a mistake. The familiar incandescent bulb is a 125-year-old design that’s handy and cheap but a huge waster of electricity. Roughly 90% of the juice that goes to a typical bulb generates heat, not light. The new rules require bulbs to be at least 25% more efficient, starting with 100-watt bulbs. Incandescents can’t do that, so they’ll begin to disappear. There’s a huge payoff for this. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that fully implementing the new lighting standards would make it possible to avoid building 30 new power plants and cut CO2 emissions by 100 million tons a year. But what will Americans switch to? The most common alternative now is the compact fluorescent light (CFL), the spiral bulb that uses far less electricity than incandescents. It costs two to four times as much as an old-fashioned bulb but lasts five to 10 times as long —a big saving for consumers and country. CFLs aren’t perfect. Some people don’t like the light they give off, the delay before they reach full brightness or the extra care required because CFLs contain tiny amounts of mercury. Even so, millions of early adopters are perfectly happy with them because they reduce electricity bills. But light bulb makers know that some people hate CFLs, so manufacturers have produced an alternative: a halogen bulb that looks just like an incandescent and produces similar light but meets the new standard. You can buy them today. The evolution won’t stop there, which is the virtue of unleashing market forces. Manufacturers are working on next-generation LED bulbs that last roughly four times as long as long-lived CFLs. They’re wildly expensive now — as much as $30 to $40 or more for a single bulb — but the price inevitably will drop. Some of this innovation would have happened without the new law, but not as much, or as quickly. Faced with deadlines and a market for their new products, manufacturers intensified efforts to develop better bulbs. It would be a shame to undo that progress — and produce yet another energy “can’t.”

How Many Lightbulbs? November 2, 2009

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Zoinks! Check Out Physicist David Mackay’s video of how  the  light bulb  provides a graphic way of communicating to non-physicists the scale of the energy gap now facing our society! Light bulbs will always lead the way for me!

Dr. Z


Zbulbs: Make the Switch!

Cambridge University physicist, David Mackay, in a passionate, personal analysis of the energy crisis in the UK, in which he comes to some surprising conclusions about the way forward. The film is based on his new book Sustainable Energy without the hot air, in which Prof Mackay has calculated the numbers involved for the alternatives to fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil.

He debunks some myths about energy saving – unplugging our phone chargers, does not make any appreciable difference. After showing us what won’t work – he goes on to show what will make a difference at home, like turning your thermostat down.

But, his big point is that this will not be enough – individual efforts are not enough. Instead we need to make sweeping national changes to our energy production, and we can’t reject everything available to us. If we are going to follow the advice of climate scientists, and get off fossil fuels by 2050, which currently provide 90% of our energy, Britain’s main options are wind power and nuclear power. But to make this huge change in our power supply, Mackay says that we have to get building now!

For more information go to David Mackays website
http://www.withouthotair.com

Resitance to EU’s lightbulb ban October 29, 2009

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Zoinks! The European Light Bulb ban is still a controversial subject! Seems some of the citizens don’t want to let go those incandescents! Check out this LA Times article!

Dr. Z

https://www.zbulbs.com

 

 

Resistance to EU’s lightbulb ban By Henry Chu Los Angeles Times

FRANKFURT, Germany – Ulf Erdmann Ziegler takes a dim view of the newfangled lightbulbs people are required to buy, so dim that he has stocked up on 3,000 of the old, incandescent bulbs – enough, he has calculated, to last him his lifetime. His stockpile is the fruit of a frenzied shopping spree. For weeks, he spent many of his waking hours on the phone and online tracking down vendors and snapping up incandescent bulbs. The buying binge was necessary, he said, to beat a ban by the European Union. As of Sept. 1, the manufacture and import of 100-watt incandescent bulbs have been outlawed within the EU, to be followed by bulbs of lesser wattage in coming years. Once current stocks are gone, incandescent bulbs will join Thomas Edison in the history books. The ban is part of the EU’s effort against global warming. The object is to encourage people to switch from energy-wasting incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps, which last longer and are up to 75 percent more efficient. For EU officials, it’s all about the math. Ditching the older bulbs, they say, will save 40 billion kilowatt-hours a year by 2020 – equal to the output of 10 power stations. The United States is to begin phasing them out in the next few years. But not everyone considers it such a bright idea. Dissenters have sprung up across the Continent, people who complain that fluorescent lamps are inferior, cost more, and pose their own environmental problems. Art galleries fret over how best to display their works without the warm glow of incandescent bulbs. A petition to save the conventional bulb is circulating on the Internet. “There’s been quite a bit of consumer backlash,” said Peter Hunt, chief executive of Britain’s Lighting Association. To help consumers and manufacturers get used to the change, the EU decided not to ax all incandescents at once. The ban from September covers only clear bulbs of 100 watts and frosted ones of all wattages. Clear incandescent lamps of 60 and 40 watts are to be eased out by September 2012. The advantages of the ban outweigh any deficiencies, EU officials say. Good-quality fluorescent bulbs can last years, far longer than conventional bulbs, so while they cost more, they are more economical in the long run. The new lamps also save on electricity costs because of their more efficient use of energy. In conventional bulbs, most of the energy is lost as heat rather than converted to light. Then how to explain that low-energy fluorescent lamps have been around for 25 years but have never caught on with ordinary consumers? “The early ones were the size of large jam jars, they flickered, they had a cold blue light, and they took a long time to switch on,” Hunt said. The technology has improved considerably, Hunt said. None of that matters to Ziegler. Months before the Sept. 1 deadline, he went through every room of his apartment with a floor plan, marking an X wherever there was a light fixture and noting what kind of bulb it required. His local vendor worked out how many bulbs Ziegler would need for the next decade. “I said forget 10 years,” Ziegler recalled. “I want a lifetime supply.”

Drying up of lightbulbs has German in a lather October 19, 2009

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Germans torn between incandescent and fluorescent

Germans torn between incandescent and fluorescent

ZOinks! The Controversy over the European Incandescent Light Bulb Ban continues. This Oct 17th article from the LA Times gives the lowdown..

-Dr. Z

https://www.zbulbs.com/

Reporting from Frankfurt, Germany – Here’s a twist: How many lightbulbs does it take to change a person?

For Ulf Erdmann Ziegler, the answer is 3,000. That’s how many bulbs are squirreled away in his modest apartment here in Frankfurt, the number that turned an otherwise ordinary guy into a hoarder, made him the object of his neighbors’ pity and got him thinking about death and divorce.

His enormous stockpile is the fruit of a frenzied summer shopping spree. For weeks, he spent many of his waking hours on the phone and online tracking down vendors and snapping up enough incandescent bulbs to last him the rest of his life.

The buying binge was necessary, he said, to beat a ban by the European Union. As of Sept. 1, the manufacture and import of 100-watt incandescent bulbs have been outlawed within the EU, to be followed by their dimmer brethren in coming years. Once current stocks are gone, such bulbs will join Thomas Edison in the history books.

“It will run out,” Ziegler warned of the limited supply, “and everyone will be sorry.”

The ban is part of the EU’s effort to retard global warming. The object is to encourage people to switch from traditional energy-wasting incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps, which last longer and are up to 75% more efficient.

For EU officials, it’s all about the math. Ditching old-fashioned bulbs, they say, will save nearly 40 billion kilowatt-hours a year by 2020, equivalent to the output of 10 power stations. Australia has already abandoned incandescent bulbs, and the United States is set to begin phasing them out in the next few years as well.

But not everyone considers it such a bright idea. The ban has been met with some resistance in Europe, showing what happens when the collective goal of greening the planet clashes with issues of individual choice and even aesthetics.

Dissenters such as Ziegler have sprung up across the continent, people who complain that fluorescent lamps are inferior, more expensive and come with their own environmental problems. Art galleries fret over how best to display their works without the warm glow cast by incandescent bulbs. A petition to save the conventional bulb is circulating on the Internet.

There have also been reports of runs on lighting stores. In Britain, where major retailers began taking 100-watt incandescent bulbs off their shelves even earlier, in January, a retired teacher in southern England spent $800 of her pension to buy 1,000 of them.

“There’s been quite a bit of consumer backlash,” acknowledged Peter Hunt, chief executive of Britain’s Lighting Assn. “A lot of it we expected.”

To help consumers and manufacturers get used to the change, the EU decided not to ax all incandescent bulbs at once. Last month’s ban covers 100-watt clear bulbs and all frosted ones. Clear 40- and 60-watt incandescents are to be eased out by September 2012.

The advantages of the ban outweigh any deficiencies, EU officials say. Good-quality fluorescent bulbs can last years, many times the life span of regular bulbs, so although they cost more, they are more economical in the long run.

The new lamps also cut electricity bills because of their more efficient use of energy. In conventional bulbs, most of the energy is lost as heat rather than converted to light.

“You can . . . look at it the same way that you’re looking at improvements of washing machines and fridges, where consumers don’t even notice that the fridges [have] become more efficient,” said Andras Toth, a policy officer in the EU’s energy directorate.

Maybe. But then how to explain that low-energy fluorescent lamps have been around for 25 years but have never caught on with consumers? Though he supports the switch-over, Hunt acknowledges that there were good reasons why fluorescent bulbs were passed over on store shelves.

“The early ones were the size of large jam jars, they flickered, they had a cold blue light and they took a long time to switch on,” he said. “So it’s not surprising that consumers have a bad preconception of this lighting.”

The technology has improved considerably on all those counts, Hunt said. But fluorescent bulbs haven’t shaken their bad rap.

Their start-up time still lags well behind the instant on-and-off of incandescent bulbs. They cannot be used with dimmer switches. And the most commonly available ones still do not provide the same spectrum of light as the old lamps, which worries art collectors, photographers and others who need light sources that offer sharp color rendition. (Officials point out that halogen bulbs, which give off light of a similar quality to incandescent varieties, remain on the market.)

Then there is the fluorescent bulbs’ mercury content, up to 5 milligrams per bulb. Cleaning up a shattered bulb requires more than just sweeping up jagged shards: Users should ventilate the room and avoid touching pieces with bare skin.


Still, “if you compare it to other mercury content, like dental fillings, the amount we’re talking about is really rather small,” Toth said. “And you have to be extremely unlucky to be exposed to it in a dangerous way.”

None of that cuts any ice with Ziegler.

A writer and former art critic, he sees the EU’s ban as unnecessarily extreme. Why not slap a tax on the old-fashioned bulbs, rather than outlaw them entirely?

“The law just says you can’t use the best lightbulb ever invented,” he grumbled.

A few months ago, with the Sept. 1 deadline looming like a neon sign, he decided to take preemptive action.

With typical German precision, he went through every room of his apartment with a floor plan in hand, marking an X wherever there was a light fixture — about 25 in all — and noting what kind of bulb it required. Then he took the checklist to his local vendor, who worked out how many bulbs Ziegler would need for the next decade.

“I said forget 10 years,” Ziegler recalled. “I want a lifetime supply.”

That, though, posed an unanticipated question. At 50, he suddenly had to ponder — or guess — how much longer he expected to live. He drafted his wife into his existential contemplations, and together, like actuaries, they finally decided that a lifetime supply meant enough bulbs to last 30 years.

Laying his hands on 3,000 incandescent bulbs was another story. He cleaned out one supplier and went on to the next, seeking them out on the Internet. Bulky packages kept arriving at the apartment, and “I was not unaware of the pitying looks of my neighbors,” he confessed in a newspaper column.

Thankfully, his wife supported his panic buying, because she “hates [fluorescent bulbs] even more than I do,” Ziegler said.

But that sparked yet another uncomfortable discussion. Who gets custody of the hoard in case of divorce? (Stay tuned.)

For now, the incandescent cache is carefully stowed away in the attic, to which Ziegler disappears to extract an unusually shaped bulb to show a visitor the way a wine lover might disappear down the cellar to produce a prized bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild.

Ziegler still hopes the EU ban will somehow fail, or be repealed. He’s mulling the idea of writing a political manifesto on behalf of the incandescent bulb, laying out its history and its merits.

And he urges people to build their own stockpiles as soon as they can, before supplies dry up.

“If you want to get in on it, get in,” he said. “It’s not too late.”

Light bulb ban finds some Europeans in the dark September 10, 2009

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A display shows a traditional light bulb (l.) and two energy-saving bulbs at a do-it-yourself store in Dortmund, Germany on August 31.

A display shows a traditional light bulb (l.) and two energy-saving bulbs at a do-it-yourself store in Dortmund, Germany on August 31.

Zoinks! More controversy over the lightbulb ban in Europe! Check it out!

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

 

Light bulb ban finds some Europeans in the dark

By Andrew Heining

 

Um, lighten up?

A week after the EU’s light bulb ban went into effect – traditional filament, incandescent bulbs over 100 watts may no longer be bought by retailers, though old stock may be sold until it’s gone – some Europeans are hoarding – and howling.

Old habits die hard, and among the Europeans proving the saying true are patrons at Chris Abbott’s “Abbott’s DIY,” a British hardware store with two branches. Abbott told Sky News, and the Dartmouth Chronicle reports, that:

“Everyone wants to be more environmentally friendly, but in some cases the low energy bulbs are just not suitable and until there is a viable alternative the opinion I am getting is that they should not yet be banned, until such time that there is a better quality alternative.”

“In both our stores we have seen unprecedented buying of all traditional types of light bulbs, and speaking to other hardware retailers across the region they are all experiencing the same.

“But as the ban is only on import and manufacture, retailers are still allowed to sell them, so we have filled our storeroom up to bursting point so that we can continue to supply our customers for at least the next few years.”

One possible answer to the light-quality complaints: this LED-based bulb from Sharp. As design blog Inhabitat reported in June, the bulb comes with a dimmer-switch remote control that can change the output between seven shades of white. One concern it doesn’t address? The cost. The Sharp bulbs cost $82 apiece.
But hoarding the old-style bulbs doesn’t make much economic sense, either, government officials are saying. CFLs use significantly less energy, and immediately begin paying themselves off. The New York Times
explains:

One bulb can cost €10, or $14 — or a lot more, depending on type — whereas traditional incandescent bulbs cost about 70 cents each. But E.U. officials argued that the energy savings would cut average household electricity bills by up to €50 a year, amounting to about €5 billion annually. That would help buoy the economy if consumers spent their savings, they said.

That rationale isn’t swaying some Britons. They’ve found a loophole in the plan and are exploiting it. The new ban covers light bulbs sold for home use, but it can’t touch those meant for industrial applications. As Telegraph reader Brian Rogers told the paper:

I suggest you pay a visit to your local electrical wholesaler and ask for a “rough service” lamp. These are identical to the normal ones except for slightly thicker glass envelopes and extra filament supports. They are more robust than the normal household item as their main use is in garage pit inspection lights and they need to stand up to more abuse.

The US has a similar CFL mandate going into effect in 2012. In addition to the concerns already mentioned, some in the US are decrying the health hazards of the new bulbs.

CNN, in its spectacularly headlined “The fluorescent light bulb boogeyman,” points to a 2007 case in Maine, where a woman, aware that CFLs contained toxic mercury, called state officials who told her to bring in a hazardous waste cleaning crew – to the tune of $2,000. That advice was given before an official policy on CFL disposal was implemented, Maine officials told CNN, and users are no longer advised to call in the troops in hazmat suits when a bulb breaks.

“According to the Environmental Protection Agency,” CNN reports, “the average fluorescent light bulb contains about 4 milligrams of mercury, over 100 times less than found in an old mercury thermometer.”

CNN News article: The fluorescent light bulb boogeyman September 4, 2009

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CFL Bogeyman, Dr. Z

CFL Bogeyman, Dr. Z

Gadzooks! The light bulb bogeyman is here and its only Sept! CNN weighs in CFLs and their percieved  “danger”

Dr Z

www.zbulbs.com

 

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — So now the government’s going to tell you what light bulb to buy, and it could be hazardous to your health.

That was the takeaway from some conservative and libertarian-minded folks when the energy bill of 2007 mandated more efficient lighting that would lead to a gradual phase out of many incandescent bulbs. Europe’s ban began this week and the new U.S. rules take effect in 2012.

The concept of the government dictating light bulbs seemed too juicy for some groups to pass up. The fact that the more efficient fluorescent bulbs contain mercury – a highly toxic element – gave actual grounds for objection.

But environmentalists point out that the increased electricity required to run a regular lightbulb from a powerplant produces a lot of mercury too.

Nonetheless, criticism of fluorescent bulbs was fast and furious.

“Everyone is being urged, cajoled and guilt-tripped into [replacing] Thomas Edison’s incandescents,” wrote the WorldNetDaily, a news Web site that bills itself as “a free press for a free people.” “However, there is no problem disposing of incandescents…you can throw them in the trash can and they won’t hurt the garbage collector…they won’t kill people working in the landfills.”

The poster-child for the anti-fluorescent bulbers is Brandy Bridges, a mother in Maine who broke a bulb in her daughter’s bedroom a couple years back.

Bridges, aware the bulbs contained mercury, called state officials, who came over, did tests, and told her to have the room cleaned by a hazardous waste crew – to the tune of over $2,000. Maine officials eventually came to her house and cut out the carpet.

This story has been widely circulated on the Internet, and sharp criticism of the government mandate continues today from email chain letters to rants on Capitol Hill.

The mandate, which doesn’t ban incandescent bulbs but requires much greater efficiency that will effectively take most of them off the shelf, phases in starting in 2012. One in Europe began earlier this week.

But much of the fear surrounding fluorescent light bulbs may be overblown.

When contacted about the Bridges case, Maine officials said the advice to get a professional hazardous waste cleaner and remove the carpet was given before a policy on fluorescents was fully developed. They no longer tell people to call a hazmat crew or remove rugs, unless the homeowner is particularly concerned.

Maine regulators, along with national environmental groups, consumer advocates and the federal government, all still recommend using the energy-saving bulbs.

When it comes to safety, they say the amount of mercury in a fluorescent bulb is so small it should not present a health risk. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average fluorescent light bulb contains about 4 milligrams of mercury, over 100 times less than found in an old mercury thermometer.

Consumer Reports just did extensive testing of the bulbs and found that many contain even less mercury – some had just 1 milligram.

“It’s not something to panic about,” said Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman, deputy home editor at Consumer Reports. “Tube fluorescents like we all have in our offices and schools have mercury too, and it’s not like they evacuate a school every time a bulb breaks.”

Still, the bulbs should be handled with care if broken. EPA recommends several steps including cleaning up the glass with cardboard or another item that can be disposed of after, opening the window, and putting the remnants in an outside garbage can.

If your town collects other household hazardous waste like batteries, paint or cleaning supplies, then you should dispose of the bulbs in the same manner. Home Depot and Ikea will recycle any old fluorescent bulbs, no mater where they were purchased.

Also, if the light is close to small children or pets that may easily knock it over, it’s probably best to use another type of bulb. Efficient, mercury-free incandescents like halogen lights, as well as LED lights will still be available after the new efficiency standards kick in.

The benefits of using fluorescent bulbs, experts say, far outweighs any mercury risk.

When it comes to mercury content, a fluorescent bulb ends up putting far less mercury into the environment compared to all the extra electricity required to run an inefficient bulb – four times less mercury, according to Noah Horowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

If the whole country switched to fluorescents, says Horowitz, it would eliminate the need to build 30 new coal power plants and save as much electricity as used by all the homes in Texas.

Then there’s the cost savings. Consumer reports estimates that each incandescent replaced with a $1.50 fluorescent will save an individual $56 in electricity costs over the life of the bulb.

“You’d be hard pressed to find a better deal for your wallet or the environment,” said Horowitz.

Still, some people remain unconvinced.

For starters, many say if fluorescent bulbs were really better, people would buy them on their own.

For her part Bridges, contacted at her home in Maine, says she’ll never go back to fluorescent bulbs and has little faith in experts telling her what’s safe.

“Remember, at some point lead paint wasn’t a big deal either,” she said.

NY TIMES: Europe’s Ban on Old-Style Bulbs Begins September 3, 2009

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Gadzooks here is a great article on the  Incandescent ban in Europe from the pages of the NY Times. Enjoy!

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

 

Europe’s Ban on Old-Style Bulbs Begins

 

By JAMES KANTER

Published: August 31, 2009
BRUSSELS — Restrictions on the sale of incandescent bulbs begin going into effect across most of Europe on Tuesday in the continent’s latest effort to get people to save energy and combat global warming. But even advocates concede the change is proving problematic.

Leon Neal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Stores in the European Union will no longer be allowed to buy or import most incandescent frosted glass bulbs starting Tuesday.

 

 

 

Under the European Union rules, shops will no longer be allowed to buy or import most incandescent frosted glass bulbs starting Tuesday. Retailers can continue selling off their stock until they run out.

While some Europeans are eagerly jumping on the bandwagon, others are panicking and have been stockpiling the old-style bulbs for aesthetic or practical reasons. Others are resigned to the switch, if grudgingly.

“Why are we switching? Because we have to,” said Ralph Wennig, a 40-year-old photographer shopping on Monday at BHV, a Paris department store.

The new compact fluorescent lamps are billed as more economical in the long run because they use up to 80 percent less energy and do not burn out as quickly.

“But the downside is that the light isn’t as nice,” Mr. Wennig said, “and they are more expensive individually.”

One bulb can cost €10, or $14 — or a lot more, depending on type — whereas traditional incandescent bulbs cost about 70 cents each. But E.U. officials argued that the energy savings would cut average household electricity bills by up to €50 a year, amounting to about €5 billion annually. That would help buoy the economy if consumers spent their savings, they said.

At a briefing Monday in Brussels, however, they also were defending themselves against charges that they were depriving children of traditional fairground lights, and dealing with more serious questions about health hazards from the mercury in the new lamps.

Such arguments have already started to reverberate in the United States, where incandescent bulbs are due to be phased out starting in 2012.

Until then, the E.U. is providing the biggest staging ground for both the conversion as well as a debate over trade-offs created by environmental legislation. The issues include the loss of long-standing manufacturing industries, consumer choice and possible exacerbation of other environmental hazards.

The ban is one of a series of measures to support the E.U. goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Everything from televisions to washing machines to tiny motors are being made more energy-efficient.

But the light bulb ban has proved singular in the way it has stirred fierce debate. The ubiquity of lighting and the way it can alter the aesthetics of an interior, even the experience of reading a book, makes it somehow more personal.

E.U. countries are not the first to ban incandescent light bulbs, but they are in the vanguard.

Australia has already introduced a ban and Cuba has entirely shifted to compact fluorescent bulbs, according to Andras Toth, an expert with the European Commission, the E.U. executive agency.

Consumer advocates in Europe have cautiously welcomed the measures but they also have pointed to drawbacks for consumers — especially those who have a special sensitivity to certain kinds of light or need old-style bulbs for health reasons.

“The blanket ban could spell misery for thousands of epilepsy and anxiety sufferers who are adversely affected by energy-saving bulbs,” said Martin Callanan, a European Parliament member.

He also warned that the new bulbs would not work in all types of fixtures nor with dimmer switches, and that they would give off a harsh light.

E.U. officials sought to reassure consumers that they still would have plenty of choice, and that the changes would be gradual. The clear 60-watt bulb, one of the most commonly used, would remain available until at least September 2011, and clear 40-watt bulbs until 2012.

National governments will be responsible for enforcing the rules.

However, the European Commission acknowledged that compact fluorescent lamps had to be handled with extra caution. If one breaks, people are advised to air out rooms and avoid using vacuum cleaners when cleaning up the mess to prevent exposure to mercury and other electronic parts in the bulbs, officials said. Instead, householders should remove the debris with a wet cloth while avoiding contact with skin. Used bulbs should be put in special collection receptacles, officials said.

Stephen Russell, the secretary general of ANEC, a group representing consumer interests in the development of product standards, said the commission had set the limit for mercury too high.

E.U. officials said that they would find ways to push the industry to reduce the amount of mercury to levels around 2 milligrams per bulb from the current level of 5 milligrams per bulb.

The effects of the ban are likely to be felt first at the checkout counter, where supplies of old-style bulbs soon could dry up entirely.

In Germany, consumers have been taking the precaution of stockpiling old-style light bulbs. Sales of incandescent bulbs have increased by 34 percent during the first half of this year, according to GfK, a consumer research organization.

“Some delay may happen before you get all possibilities at reasonable prices,” said André Brisaer, another European Commission official, who is helping to lead the phase-out.

Other consumers have complained that compact fluorescent bulbs do not last as long as incandescent bulbs when turned off and on like a standard bulb and that they take too long to illuminate fully. In those cases, commission officials have recommended that consumers use halogen bulbs, which brighten more quickly and are up to 45 percent more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs.

But WWF, an environmental group, said standard halogen bulbs should also have been removed from the market.

“Getting rid of incandescents is a no-brainer, but halogens are nearly as wasteful,” said Mariangiola Fabbri, a senior energy policy officer for WWF.

As for fairgrounds, E.U. officials insisted that adequate replacements were available that would retain their soft-white traditional ambiance

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.

European backlash toward incandescent ban! August 24, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, incandescent light bulb, light bulb.
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Zoinks! Here is an article from the Financial Times discussing the backlash in Europe concerning the legistlation banning incandescent light bulbs. Seems that they are hoarding the little buggers!

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

Germans have always had a thing for incandescents! Check out this little beauty!

Germans have always had a thing for incandescents! Check out this little beauty!

 

Germans fail to see the light on bulbs By Daniel Schäfer in Frankfurt Published: August 22 2009 03:00 | Last updated: August 22 2009 03:00 Germans, Austrians and Hungarians are hoarding energy-hungry light bulbs, which have fallen out of favour in other European countries, ahead of a European Union ban that takes effect next month. The scramble for conventional bulbs illuminates the challenges of persuading consumers to embrace environmentally friendly shopping habits – particularly in the midst of an economic crisis. Sales of incandescent light bulbs have risen 34 per cent year-on-year in Germany in the first six months of 2009, data from GfK, the German consumer research group, shows. In most other European countries, sales of old-style light bulbs have fallen at double-digit rates this year. In the UK, sales dropped 22 per cent, amid a voluntary agreement between retailers and energy companies to phase out light bulbs nine months ahead of the EU ban. Last year, the UK experienced a similar tendency to stockpile light bulbs ahead of the voluntary ban that came into effect in January. Christian Schraft, head of the consumer division at Osram, one of Europe’s largest lighting producers owned by engineering group Siemens, said he had been taken aback by Germany’s reluctance to accept energy-saving bulbs. “Germans are often sceptical about innovations. And in difficult economic times in particular, they tend to stick to what is tried and tested,” Mr Schraft said. The hoarding instinct has been heightened by an EU rule change that comes into effect in September, banning 100-watt bulbs and widely used pearl bulbs from store shelves. The move will be followed by further phase-out steps, until ultimately all conventional bulbs will be banned in four years’ time. The shopping behaviour appears to contradict the stereotypes of Germans and Austrians as environmentally conscious. But Hans-Georg Häusel, a psychologist who uses brain science to explain consumer behaviour, said they were reluctant to change. “There is a fear that they could destroy the snug atmosphere of their homes,” he said.