I have just realised that Compact Flouro light bulbs are actually worse for the environment (and carbon emissions) than ordinary incandescent globes!
Many years ago, I decided to try a CF at home. It cost me $25, and it was intended to run at least 12 hours per day, so the 5000 hour lifespan was very tempting…
The 8watt CF replaced a 40watt globe
The CF was $25, the equivalent 40 watt globe was $0.50, so I needed to save over $24.50 to make it worthwhile.
I figured I would gain about 4000 hours out of the CF(compared to the incandescent globe) , so 4000 X 32Watt = 128000 watt hours… ie 128 Kwatt hours… at $0.15 per Kwatt hour, I’d save $19.20
Hey! Wheres the saving in that!
And then the CF stopped working after just 2000 hours!
Recently, with all the hype surrounding “green energy”, I’ve started thinking about the “total” carbon footprint of supposedly green items.
With CFs, you cannot just look at how much electricity they save you, you also need to consider how much energy and resources went into making them in the first place.
An incandescent is cheap because manufacturing it has a low environmental impact (and a low carbon footprint)… think about it… whats an incandescent made of? Glass, steel, a tiny tungsten filament, and a bit of “glue”
A CF, however, needs: a carefully manufactured, vacuum sealed glass tube (with a special coating on the inside), a circuit board with various electronic components all soldered together (so you get lead and lots of other toxic stuff)…
And as most engineers will tell you: the more components, the more things that can break down.
So, I reckon any carbon “savings” from a CF, will be lost in the extra carbon costs in making them in the first place.
So is there a way to be truly green with household lighting?
Not yet, but LED lighting is the way to go… it has hardly any disadvantages…
You can switch LEDs on and off thousands of times, and they won’t burn out (CFs and incandescents will burn out in a week if they are constantly switched on and off).
LEDs will eventually start to fade after a few years of use.
LEDs also don’t heat up like CFs and incandescent bulbs.
Its a pity that LED technology is not quite ready for illumination purposes. Hopefully, LEDs will be commercially viable soon!