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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




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.”


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



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.

The Evolution of Lightbulbs. EU goes CFL. Great NY Times article! April 1, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Controversial information, LED Lights, light bulb, List Article.
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Zoinks! Are incandescent light bulbs going up in smoke?

Zoinks! Are incandescent light bulbs going up in smoke?

Zoinks! Everybody’s got an opinion on light bulbs these days and this NY times article is interesting for the fact that it gives a wonderful overview of the evolution that is taking place in the world of light bulbs. Incandescents are being banned worldwide! Do we have something that can replace them? CFL LED? Glowing wallpaper? ZOinks! My mind boggles at the possiblities! Read on!



Green Inc. Column
Light Bulbs Poised for a Big Change
Getty Images
New regulations in a number of countries mean the standard light bulb’s days are numbered.

Dr. Z




LinkedinDiggFacebookMixxMy SpaceYahoo! BuzzPermalinkBy TOM ZELLER Jr.
Published: March 30, 2009
The European Union formally adopted new regulations on household, commercial and public lighting earlier this month. The directive contains a fair bit of language regarding “nondirectional” and other sorts of lamps, and it makes room for the halogen, a more efficient version of the standard incandescent bulb, which much of the world has used since Thomas Edison perfected it in 1879.

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Times Topics: Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

A blog about energy, the environment and the bottom line.

Go to Blog » But for consumers, who won’t soon find a wide array of halogen bulbs to fit their standard light sockets, the key takeaway points in the new rules are these: The light bulb as you’ve known it is about to become extinct, and you’d better get used to compact fluorescent lamps, which may become the only viable alternative for many homes.

The European regulations, which will phase out the standard incandescent bulb by 2012, are similar to those in varying states of implementation across the globe, from Australia, New Zealand and Japan to Brazil, Cuba and elsewhere.

In the United States, the Energy Act of 2007 established efficiency standards that will, as in Europe, render most incandescent bulbs unmarketable by 2014.

If efficiency is a public imperative, such efforts are targeting a particularly wasteful technology.

Estimates vary, but the U.S. Department of Energy puts the efficiency of a typical incandescent bulb at less than 10 percent.

Put simply, that means a mere 10 percent of the energy consumed by an incandescent light bulb is used to brighten up a room. The rest is cast off as waste heat — enough of it, many will remember, that early iterations of the children’s kitchen toy, the Easy-Bake Oven, used an ordinary incandescent bulb to bake cupcakes.

Replacement technologies, of course, have long been available — including CFLs, which are up to 80 percent more efficient, European officials noted two weeks ago, and can provide savings of up to €60, or $80, over their far longer lifetimes (average: 6 to 10 years).

They won’t burn you, either.

Still, those data have thus far proved ineffective at getting many consumers to switch over, which at least partly explains the growing raft of legislation worldwide. And while it’s possible that researchers will ramp up development of alternative technologies like LEDs or even next-generation, high-efficiency incandescents, it seems more likely that, at least in the near term, consumers will have to get accustomed to CFLs whether they like it or not.

Many don’t.

Compact fluorescent bulbs are among the most hotly debated topics at The New York Times blog bearing the same name as this column, and judging from the commentary of readers there, the bulbs have something of an image problem.

“I object to the noise of these things in a quiet room when I’m reading,” wrote a commenter calling himself Denver Green. “Also, these can’t be used on dimmer switches, and virtually every light in my house is on a dimmer.”

Another reader, identified only as Ed, complained, “CFLs don’t work nearly as well as advertised. The simple fact is that if you turn them on and off a lot, they wear out quickly.”

Ed added: “I think that CFLs are way more hype than substance and legislation requiring their use is extremely misguided.”

And Kevin Sinclair, another Green Inc. commenter, called the light cast by compact fluorescents “hideous,” adding that the bulbs, in his experience, burn out much more quickly than advertised.

“Why not start by implementing the Kyoto Protocol instead?” Mr. Sinclair wrote.

Some critics, including Michael Siminovitch, a self-described CFL advocate and a professor and director of the California Lighting Technology Center at the University of California, Davis, have argued that at least some of the complaints are well placed.

Mr. Siminovitch, who was interviewed recently by one of our contributors at Green Inc., suggested that in the effort to drive down the cost of compact fluorescents, quality has suffered.

There was great pressure by agencies, by retailers, to bring the cost down on this technology so that we can get big market penetration,” Mr. Siminovitch said. “Unfortunately, given the lack of really good, understandable specifications, what happened was when you reduce price you inevitably compromise something. In the case of compact fluorescents, we’ve compromised on quality.”

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Times Topics: Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

A blog about energy, the environment and the bottom line.

Go to Blog » Whether or not that’s still true is a matter of debate. Tests conducted by the Program for Evaluation and Analysis of Residential Lighting — or Pearl — a watchdog effort operating out of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, suggest that compact fluorescents have improved markedly over the last decade.

Levels of mercury, a necessary component in CFLs and one that can affect the nervous system with prolonged exposure, are also being reduced in newer generations of the bulb, the Pearl researchers said.

Indeed, far more of the neurotoxin, most experts say, is released by coal-fired power plants, so using more efficient CFLs may well reduce the overall amount of mercury in the environment, particularly if the bulbs are properly recycled.

All of this doesn’t mean, of course, that CFLs are perfect (making them so would be cost-prohibitive). It also doesn’t mean they are capable of precisely replicating the characteristics of an incandescent bulb — characteristics that many consumers, by dint of habit, consider to be the hallmarks of quality.

Which is why the European Union, in issuing its new regulations, prepared a pre-emptive list of “frequently asked questions” about compact fluorescents. “Are they not bad alternatives to incandescent bulbs?” reads one question. “Is it true,” begins another, “that compact fluorescent lamps should not be switched on/off frequently because it shortens their lifetime?” And simply: “Isn’t the shape of compact fluorescent lamps ugly and do they not produce unpleasant light?”

The answers from European officials can be found at the European Union Web site (http://is.gd/ofqO), but if I were to interpret their responses summarily, it might be: “Relax. You’ll hardly notice the difference.”

Or as Bob Markovitch, a bulb expert with Consumer Reports, a consumer protection publication in the United States, recently put it to me, “CFLs still aren’t perfect. You still have to make a little bit of a sacrifice,” he said. “But they’ve come a long way, and many of the old complaints really don’t hold anymore.”

Would it matter if they did?