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In the Future You Will Listen To Lightbulbs..maybe May 18, 2010

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in light bulb, Weird Bulb News.
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Sylvania combines speakers and light bulbs, oddly

While Sylvania isn’t the first to combine light bulbs and speakers, the idea is sound. Okay, sorry. But consider the placement of a couple of lamps in your living room. Wouldn’t those locations also be suitable for speakers? Yes? Then MusicLite is for you.

Each one of these fixtures has an array of LEDs on board that emit as much light as a 65-watt incandescent, while cranking out 25 watts of sound at the same time. The speakers are all connected wirelessly, and can be placed 90 feet away from each other. Hide a subwoofer under the couch, and you’re ready to rock.

Too bad you’ll have to wait until Fall to find out the price of these clandestine light/speaks, but if you’re itching for some now, Klipsch might beat Sylvania to the punch with the same thing, with Klipsch saying theirs are “coming soon.” However, the Klipsch models will rip you for $600. Maybe these will be cheaper.

https://www.zbulbs.com

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“LED Bulbs Save Substantial Energy, a Study Finds” A New York Times Article November 30, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in LED Lights, light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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Soon Uncle Fester May Not Have To Work So Hard To Keep That Light Bulb Lit!

Zoinks! Its me Dr. Z! LED’s are all the rage in lighting and now the New York Times is running another article on their energy saving benefits..Dig this article!

Dr. Z

https://www.zbulbs.com/

 

By ERIC. A. TAUB
Published: November 29, 2009
Does the latest generation of energy-saving light bulbs save energy? A comprehensive study conducted by Osram, the German lighting company, provides evidence that they do.

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Rick Friedman for The New York Times
A standard incandescent bulb over its life will use almost five times the energy of an LED bulb, a German study concluded.

That is because no one knew if the production of LED lamps required more energy than needed for standard incandescent bulbs. While it is indisputable that LEDs use a fraction of the electricity of a regular bulb to create the same amount of light, if more energy were used in the manufacturing and distribution process, then the lighting industry could be traveling down a technological dead end.

The study results show that over the entire life of the bulb — from manufacturing to disposal — the energy used for incandescent bulbs is almost five times that used for compact fluorescents and LED lamps.

The energy used during the manufacturing phase of all lamps is insignificant — less than 2 percent of the total. Given that both compact fluorescents and LEDs use about 20 percent of the electricity needed to create the same amount of light as a standard incandescent, both lighting technologies put incandescents to shame.

“We welcome these kinds of studies,” said Kaj den Daas, chief executive of Philips Lighting North America. The Osram study “provides facts where we often have only emotional evidence.” Philips recently became the first entrant in the Energy Department’s L Prize, a race to develop the first practical 60-watt LED equivalent to a standard light bulb.

To calculate what is know as a Life Cycle Assessment of LED lamps, Osram compared nearly every aspect of the manufacturing process, including the energy used in manufacturing the lamps in Asia and Europe, packaging them, and transporting them to Germany where they would be sold. It also looked at the emissions created in each stage, and calculated the effect of six different global warming indexes.

Those included the amount of greenhouse gas emissions created by each process, the acid rain potential, eutrophication (excessive algae), photochemical ozone creation, the release of harmful chemical compounds, and the resultant scarcity of gas, coal, and oil.

Compact fluorescents also contain harmful mercury, which can pollute the soil when discarded.

In addition to the amount of electricity needed for each process, the energy used and the emissions created as a result, were also calculated. In China and Malaysia, where part of the LED production took place, that meant coal and natural gas respectively. In Germany, where the lamps would be sold, electricity is created from a mix of coal, nuclear and renewable sources.

The methodology followed the procedures set down in ISO 14040/44, an industry standard. The results were certified by three university professors in Denmark and Germany as adhering to the standard.

“The difference in energy use between incandescents, compact fluorescents and LEDs is definitely significant,” said Dr. Matthias Finkbeiner of Berlin’s Technical University and chairman of the study’s review committee. “The results are very stable.”

While 60-watt lamps are more popular light sources, they were not used in the study as Osram does not yet have a commercial version. The amount of energy used to illuminate 60-watt-type lamps would increase, but the increase would effect all types of lamps and therefore not change the relative results, according to Dr. Berit Wessler, head of innovations management at Osram Opto Semiconductors in Regensburg, Germany.

Dr. Wessler expects the results to shift even more in favor of LEDs, as newer generations of that technology become even more efficient, requiring less energy to produce the same amount of light.

“Everything I’ve seen strengthens the assumption that LED efficiency will increase,” she said. “There has not been much improvement in incandescent efficiency in the last 10 years.”

How Many Lightbulbs? November 2, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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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

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Controversial information, incandescent light bulb, light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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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.”

Save the Light Bulb! Wall Street Journal Editorial speaks up for Incandescents! September 28, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in compact fluorescent, Controversial information, incandescent light bulb, LED Lights, light bulb.
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Zoinks! Check out this editorial piece from the Wall Street Journal extolling the virtues of incandescent light.

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

 

 

Dude! Save Incandescent they are a wicked electro clash band...

Dude! Save Incandescent they are a wicked electro clash band...

 


By HOWARD M. BRANDSTON

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 will effectively phase out incandescent light bulbs by 2012-2014 in favor of compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs. Other countries around the world have passed similar legislation to ban most incandescents.

Will some energy be saved? Probably. The problem is this benefit will be more than offset by rampant dissatisfaction with lighting. We are not talking about giving up a small luxury for the greater good. We are talking about compromising light. Light is fundamental. And light is obviously for people, not buildings. The primary objective in the design of any space is to make it comfortable and habitable. This is most critical in homes, where this law will impact our lives the most. And yet while energy conservation, a worthy cause, has strong advocacy in public policy, good lighting has very little.

Even without taking into account people’s preferences, CFLs, which can be an excellent choice for some applications, are simply not an equivalent technology to incandescents in all applications. For example, if you have dimmers used for home theater or general ambience, you must buy a compatible dimmable CFL, which costs more, and even then it may not work as desired on your dimmers. How environmental will it be for frustrated homeowners to remove and dispose of thousands of dimmers? What’s more, CFLs work best in light fixtures designed for CFLs, and may not fit, provide desired service life, or distribute light in the same pleasing pattern as incandescents. How environmental will it be for homeowners to tear out and install new light fixtures?

None of these and other considerations appear to have been included in the technical justification for this law. Instead, the decision appears to have been made entirely based on a perception of efficiency gains. Light-source efficacy, expressed as lumens of light output per watt of electrical input, has been used as a comparative metric justifying encouragement of CFLs. But this metric is flawed for one simple reason: It is a laboratory measurement and a guide, not a truth, in the field; actual energy performance will depend on numerous application characteristics and product quality.

If energy conservation were to be the sole goal of energy policy, and efficacy were to be the sole technical consideration, then why CFLs? If we really want to save energy, we would advocate high-pressure sodium lamps—those large bulbs that produce bright orangish light in many streetlights. Their efficacy is more than double what CFLs can offer. Of course this would not be tolerated by the public. This choice shows that we are willing to advocate bad lighting—but not horrible lighting.

Not yet, at least. Energy regulations pending in Washington set aggressive caps on power allowances for energy-using systems in commercial and residential buildings. These requirements have never been tested.

Here’s my modest proposal to determine whether the legislation actually serves people. Satisfy the proposed power limits in all public buildings, from museums, houses of worship and hospitals to the White House and the homes of all elected officials. Of course, this will include replacing all incandescents with CFLs. At the end of 18 months, we would check to be certain that the former lighting had not been reinstalled, and survey all users to determine satisfaction with the resulting lighting.

Based on the data collected, the Energy Independence and Security Act and energy legislation still in Congress would be amended to conform to the results of the test. Or better yet, scrapped in favor of a thoughtful process that could yield a set of recommendations that better serve our nation’s needs by maximizing both human satisfaction and energy efficiency.

As a lighting designer with more than 50 years of experience, having designed more than 2,500 projects including the relighting of the Statue of Liberty, I encourage people who care about their lighting to contact their elected officials and urge them to re-evaluate our nation’s energy legislation so that it serves people, not an energy-saving agenda.

Mr. Brandston (www.concerninglight.com) is a lighting consultant, professor and artist.

Zoinks! Philips claims a brighter idea for energy-saving light bulbs September 25, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in LED Lights, light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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Is this the light bulb of the future?

Is this the light bulb of the future?

The ubiquitous but highly inefficient 60-watt light bulb badly needs a makeover. And it could be worth millions in government prize money — and more in government contracts — to the first company that figures out how to do it. Right now, that company could be Philips, the Dutch electronics giant. The company announced on Thursday that it had submitted the first entry for the L Prize, a Department of Energy contest that will award up to $10 million to the first person or group to create a new energy-sipping version of the most popular type of light bulb used in America. As the first entrant, Philips will win the prize if its claims hold up. Testing of the Philips lamp will take close to a year as the department evaluates the company’s claims. “Philips is confident that the product submitted meets or exceeds all of the criteria for the L Prize,” said Philips Lighting chief Rudy Provoost. The $10 million is almost beside the point: The contest winner will receive consideration for potentially lucrative federal purchasing agreements, not to mention a head start at cracking a vast consumer marketplace. The L Prize has gained significant attention in the lighting industry because 60-watt incandescent lamps represent 50 percent of all the lighting in the United States, with 425 million sold each year. The Energy Department says that if all those lamps were LED equivalents, enough power would be saved to light 17.4 million American households and cut annual carbon emissions by 5.6 million metric tons annually. For decades, incandescent light bulbs continued to bear a strong resemblance to Thomas Edison’s creations, but new energy standards that go into effect in 2012 — and would outlaw today’s incandescent bulb — have brought about a period of fertile innovation in the lighting industry. One of the first attempts at greater efficiency was the now-maligned compact fluorescent bulb, but there have also been efforts to modify incandescent technology to conform to the new standard. LED bulbs are already available in stores, but those models have limited output and high prices. A faithful reproduction of an incandescent bulb’s light from an inexpensive and efficient source has been the industry’s ultimate goal. Philips has delivered 2,000 prototypes of its bulb to the Energy Department for testing. The company says the bulbs meet all the contest criteria, which specify a bulb that reproduces the same amount and color of light made by a 60-watt incandescent bulb, but uses only 10 watts. The bulb also must last for more than 25,000 hours — about 25 times longer than a standard light bulb. In a nod to economic concerns, at least 75 percent of the bulb must be made or assembled in the United States. At first, the department set no standards for compact fluorescent bulbs, and inferior products flooded the market. Consumers rebelled against the bulbs’ shortcomings: The light output from compact fluorescent bulbs was cold and unpleasant, their life was much shorter than claimed, many were large and undimmable, they would not work in cold environments and they contained polluting mercury. By setting rigorous criteria for the L Prize, the department hopes LED bulbs can avoid a similar fate. That also means rejecting current LED bulbs that can claim some technical similarities, but fall far short of the L Prize’s goals.

The ubiquitous but highly inefficient 60-watt light bulb badly needs a makeover. And it could be worth millions in government prize money — and more in government contracts — to the first company that figures out how to do it.

Right now, that company could be Philips, the Dutch electronics giant. The company announced on Thursday that it had submitted the first entry for the L Prize, a Department of Energy contest that will award up to $10 million to the first person or group to create a new energy-sipping version of the most popular type of light bulb used in America.

As the first entrant, Philips will win the prize if its claims hold up. Testing of the Philips lamp will take close to a year as the department evaluates the company’s claims.

“Philips is confident that the product submitted meets or exceeds all of the criteria for the L Prize,” said Philips Lighting chief Rudy Provoost. The $10 million is almost beside the point: The contest winner will receive consideration for potentially lucrative federal purchasing agreements, not to mention a head start at cracking a vast consumer marketplace.

The L Prize has gained significant attention in the lighting industry because 60-watt incandescent lamps represent 50 percent of all the lighting in the United States, with 425 million sold each year. The Energy Department says that if all those lamps were LED equivalents, enough power would be saved to light 17.4 million American households and cut annual carbon emissions by 5.6 million metric tons annually.

For decades, incandescent light bulbs continued to bear a strong resemblance to Thomas Edison’s creations, but new energy standards that go into effect in 2012 — and would outlaw today’s incandescent bulb — have brought about a period of fertile innovation in the lighting industry. One of the first attempts at greater efficiency was the now-maligned compact fluorescent bulb, but there have also been efforts to modify incandescent technology to conform to the new standard.

LED bulbs are already available in stores, but those models have limited output and high prices. A faithful reproduction of an incandescent bulb’s light from an inexpensive and efficient source has been the industry’s ultimate goal.

Philips has delivered 2,000 prototypes of its bulb to the Energy Department for testing. The company says the bulbs meet all the contest criteria, which specify a bulb that reproduces the same amount and color of light made by a 60-watt incandescent bulb, but uses only 10 watts. The bulb also must last for more than 25,000 hours — about 25 times longer than a standard light bulb. In a nod to economic concerns, at least 75 percent of the bulb must be made or assembled in the United States.

At first, the department set no standards for compact fluorescent bulbs, and inferior products flooded the market. Consumers rebelled against the bulbs’ shortcomings: The light output from compact fluorescent bulbs was cold and unpleasant, their life was much shorter than claimed, many were large and undimmable, they would not work in cold environments and they contained polluting mercury.

By setting rigorous criteria for the L Prize, the department hopes LED bulbs can avoid a similar fate. That also means rejecting current LED bulbs that can claim some technical similarities, but fall far short of the L Prize’s goals.

For decades, incandescent light bulbs continued to bear a strong resemblance to Thomas Edison’s creations, but new energy standards that go into effect in 2012 — and would outlaw today’s incandescent bulb — have brought about a period of fertile innovation in the lighting industry. One of the first attempts at greater efficiency was the now-maligned compact fluorescent bulb, but there have also been efforts to modify incandescent technology to conform to the new standard.

LED bulbs are already available in stores, but those models have limited output and high prices. A faithful reproduction of an incandescent bulb’s light from an inexpensive and efficient source has been the industry’s ultimate goal.

Philips has delivered 2,000 prototypes of its bulb to the Energy Department for testing. The company says the bulbs meet all the contest criteria, which specify a bulb that reproduces the same amount and color of light made by a 60-watt incandescent bulb, but uses only 10 watts. The bulb also must last for more than 25,000 hours — about 25 times longer than a standard light bulb. In a nod to economic concerns, at least 75 percent of the bulb must be made or assembled in the United States.

At first, the department set no standards for compact fluorescent bulbs, and inferior products flooded the market. Consumers rebelled against the bulbs’ shortcomings: The light output from compact fluorescent bulbs was cold and unpleasant, their life was much shorter than claimed, many were large and undimmable, they would not work in cold environments and they contained polluting mercury.

By setting rigorous criteria for the L Prize, the department hopes LED bulbs can avoid a similar fate. That also means rejecting current LED bulbs that can claim some technical similarities, but fall far short of the L Prize’s goals.

http://www.startribune.com/business/61362882.html?page=2&c=y

Some Great Tips For Hanging Christmas Lights September 22, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product., How to about lighting, LED Lights, light bulb.
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This could happen to you

This could happen to you

Gadzooks! Its already the time to start thinking about putting up christmas lights! So I figure it would be good to post a few tips on how to go about creating your own little winter wonderland.  Ann Belvins from Better Homes and Gardens gives 13 tips for setting up a dazzling christmas display!

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

 

1. Start out small. If you’re a Christmas lights novice, light just two or three items, such as trees or bushes, to serve as focal points. Add new displays each year.

2. Stay safe. Only use lights with the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) label and be sure you’re using lights designed specifically for outdoor use.

3.Know your lights. When it comes to holiday lights, there’s a type available for every nook and cranny of your house and yard. Whether you want blinking rope lights outlining windows or net lights blanketing bushes, wising up on your holiday light knowledge will help you get the most bang for your buck.

4.Check for burned-out lights. Test light strings and replace any burned-out lights before decking the halls. Burned-out lights drain power from the entire light string, and the other bulbs will grow dimmer.

5. Out with the old, in with the new. Avoid old-fashioned nails, staples, screws, or hooks when mounting your display. Electrical tape is a quick and easy alternative — it won’t destroy your roof, and it’s a good tool for protecting electrical connections. Clips, such as shingle tab or parapet clips, hold lights to surfaces by applying simple, safe pressure.

6.Use a sturdy ladder. Enlist a helper to keep you steady as you hang lights on very tall tree — you’ll stay safe and you’ll be able to reach the branches easily. Attach lights to branches with tree clips or twist ties.

 7. Work your way up. To string trunks of deciduous trees, start at the base and wrap the lights around in a spiral. If you want to illuminate an evergreen, however, start at the top and zigzag lights through the center of the tree, getting wider with the tree’s shape

8. Consider the location. If your evergreen can only be seen by passersby from the front, save lights and work by decorating the tree front only.

9. Add some dimension. Consider ground and stake lighting for extra holiday oomph. Multicolored lights work well for outlining walks, paths, and driveways.

10.Avoid bright light overload. Holiday lights can be dazzling and fun, but be careful not to overload your circuits. Include no more than 1,400 watts on a circuit. If other lights in the house dim when you turn on the holiday lights, your circuit is overloaded.

11.Look around for added sparkle. Find illuminating inspiration in unexpected places. Perhaps a birdbath or decorative porch columns would look pretty with a little extra light. For hard-to-reach spots, or any place you don’t want to use electricity, try battery-operated mini lights.

12.Call in the pros. If you don’t have roofing experience, limit your lights to eaves, gables, and the edge of the roof. Keep lights and cords away from metal. Beware of overheated wires, aluminum gutters, and ironwork decor. If you want more lights on the roof itself, call a professional lighting company.

13.Hit the switch. Turn off outdoor lights before going to bed, and don’t leave them on when you’re away from home, unless they’re attached to a timer with a photocell.

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

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Controversial information, light bulb.
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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.

Who Invented the Lightbulb? August 24, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in incandescent light bulb, light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture, Weird Bulb News.
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Zoinks! Its me Dr. Z! Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, right? Well not so fast! The article below discusses the history and mystery behind the invention of the light bulb.

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

Zoinks! Was there a conspiracy behind the invention of the light bulb?

Zoinks! Was there a conspiracy behind the invention of the light bulb?

Surprising Science: Who Invented the Lightbulb? Edison’s incandescent lamp lit the world, but did he really invent it? (Copyright Lee Krystek, 2002.) It was Thomas Edison in 1879, wasn’t it? That’s what many people think and were taught in school. Like most stories, however, there is a lot more behind the creation of this important and ubiquitous object than just Mr. Edison.. The story of the lightbulb really starts almost seventy years earlier. In 1806 Humphrey Davy, an Englishman, demonstrated a powerful electric lamp to the Royal Society. Davy’s lamp produced its illumination by creating a blinding electric spark between two charcoal rods. This device, known as an “arc lamp,” was impractical for most uses. The light, similar to that of a welding torch, was simply too bright to be used in residences and most businesses. The device also needed a tremendous source of power and the batteries which powered Davy’s demonstration model were quickly drained. As time went on, electric generators were invented that could feed the arc lamp’s need for power. Iit found its way into applications where a brilliant source of light was needed. Lighthouses and public assembly areas were obvious uses. Later arc lamps were used in war to power huge searchlights used to spot enemy planes. Today you can see such searchlights lighting up the sky near movie theaters or at the opening of a new stores. The Incandescant Light Some 19th century inventors wanted to find a way to “subdivide” the light from Davy’s arc lamp so that it could be used in the home and office. Other scientists thought that a completely new technique for making electric light held more promise. This method of generating light was known as “incandescence.” Scientists knew that if you took some materials and passed enough electricity through them, they would heat up. They also knew that if the material got hot enough, it would start to glow. The problem with this method of making light was that before long either the material would burst into flame or melt into a puddle. If incandescent light was to be made practical, these twin problems would have to be solved. It occurred to inventors that one way to keep their incandescent “burners” from catching fire was to not let them come into contact with oxygen. Oxygen is a necessary ingredient in the combustion process. Since oxygen is in the atmosphere, the only way to keep it away from the burners was to enclose the burner in a glass container, or “bulb,” and pump out the air. In 1841 a British inventor named Frederick DeMoleyns patented a bulb using just this technique in combination with burners made of platinum and carbon. An American named J. W. Starr also received a patent in 1845 for a bulb using vacuum in conjunction with a carbon burner. Many others, including an English chemist named Joseph Swan, improved and patented versions of bulbs using a vacuum with burners of various materials and shapes. None, however, proved practical for everyday use. Swan’s lamp, for example, used carbonized paper that would quickly crumble after being lit a short time. Edison Joins the Fray It was obvious, though, that incandescent lighting would be a huge financial success if it could be perfected, so many inventors continued to work on finding a solution. It was into this environment that the brash, young, inventor Thomas Alva Edison entered the race to make-a-better-bulb in 1878. Edison was already world famous for having created and commercialized several items, including a better stock market ticker and the phonograph. In October of that year, after working on the project for only a few months, he declared to the newspapers “I have just solved the problem of the subdivision of the electric light.” This rash pronouncement was enough to drive the stocks of the gas companies (whose lamps supplied the current form of lighting) down into the ground. As it turned out, Edison’s announcement was premature. He had an idea of how to solve the problems of the electric incandescent light, but had not yey perfected it. His idea was to enclose a platinum burner in a vacuum. When other inventors had done this the platinum melted, but Edison thought he had solved that problem by building a temperature-sensitive switch into the bulb that would cut off the current when the temperature got too high. This was a great idea, but unfortunately it didn’t work. To keep the bulbs cool enough, the switches had to cut the current off very quickly. This resulted in a constant flickering which made the bulbs unusable (this same switching principle is currently used in Christmas tree bulbs to make them blink on and off). It was soon obvious to everyone working on the incandescent light at Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory that another approach was needed. Edison decided to hire a young physicist named The brash, young inventor Thomas Alva Edison. Francis Upton from Princeton University to work on the project. Up to this point Edison’s staff had been trying idea after idea to get the bulb to work. Under Upton’s guidance, they started looking at existing patents and research to try and avoid repeating other people’s mistakes. The staff also started doing basic research on the properties of the materials they had been working with. One of the results of testing the properties of the materials was the realization that any burner chosen would have to have a high electrical resistance. All materials have an amount of electrical “friction” that resists electricity moving through it. This is known as the material’s electrical resistance. Materials with high resistance more easily get hot when electricity passes through them. Edison soon realized that any good burner would have to have a high electrical resistance, otherwise too much electricity would be needed to warm the material to the point where it would give off light. This revelation meant that Edison’s staff need only to test high-resistance materials to find the one they wanted. This information also started Edison thinking about the electric lights not only as an end to themselves, but how they fit as part of a whole electrical system. How big would the generator need to be to light a neighborhood? What voltage should be delivered to a house? By October of 1879 Edison’s workers began to see some results. On the 22nd of that month a thin, cotton “carbonized” thread burned for some 13 hours during an experiment. Longer times were achieved by modifying the vacuum pumps and creating a better vacuum inside the bulb (less oxygen inside the bulb slowed the burning process). More carbonized organic materials were tested and Japanese bamboo proved to be the best. By the end of 1880 Edison’s carbonized bamboo burners, now called filaments because they were fashioned into a long, thin thread, were burning in bulbs as long as 600 hours. The “filament” proved to be the best shape to increase the materials electrical resistance and physical strength. The carbonized bamboo had a high resistance and fit well into Edison’s scheme for building a whole electrical power system to provide lighting. By 1882 he had established the Edison Electrical Light Company which had a generating station located on Perl Street, providing New York City with electrical lighting. In 1883 Macy’s in New York City became the first store to install the new incandescent lamps. Edison Vs. Swan Meanwhile over in England, Joseph Swan had again gotten involved in working on the lightbulb after he saw that new pumps made it possible to produce a better vacuum. Swan made a lamp which worked well for demonstrations, but was impractical in actual use. Swan’s burner was made of a thick carbon rod that gave off gases that soon covered the inside of the bulb in soot. Also, the low resistance of the rod meant that the bulb used up too much power. After seeing the success of a high resistance, thin filament in Edison’s lamps, Swan incorporated this improvement into his own bulbs. After founding his own company in England, Swan found himself sued by Edison for patent infringement. Eventually the two inventors decided to stop fighting and join forces. The company they formed, Edison-Swan United, became one of the world’s largest manufacturer of lightbulbs. An early Edison power generation plant. So did Edison invent the lightbulb? Not really. Others had produced an incandescent light before him. He did, however, create the first practical lightbulb along with an electrical system to support it, certainly a significant achievements in their own right. Of all the inventions Edison was involved in – the stock ticker, the phonograph, the telegraph and the mimeograph – only the incandescent lightbulb remains in general use today. It is a testament to how great a job Edison and his workers at Menlo Park did in taking this invention out of the laboratory and putting it into the home.

http://www.unmuseum.org/lightbulb.htm

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.