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Monday, 21 September 2009

Incandescent Lightbulb

I was just done at Hotmail (on my newly installed Opera Mini 5 beta), and searched for frugality related items on MSN Mobile. I was shown a list of search results, from, the first of which is's 168 Tips. My thought was, "Wow! This could be very useful." Thus, I would recommend you to look at the above link. But while looking through the list, I could not help noticing that one of the frugality tips was to use CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) lights.

You see, on September 12th, 2008, slightly more than a year ago, De Spiegel, the German newspaper carried a piece about whether fluorescent lights are really the way to go. At that stage, EU was mooting a ban on the incandescent bulb, effective September 1st, 2009. That ban is already in effect and follows developments in Australia and Canada. (Strange, that the US and Japan isn't mentioned in the same breath when it comes to cutting edge developments.)

The De Spiegel article raises some concerns, which I have heard before. One of these, is that fluorescent lamps contain mercury, and various other harmful elements that are released into the air once the said lamps are destroyed. Disposal of such lamps, then, becomes a concern. In Europe, they may have disposal centers for such dangerous lamps, but in Malaysia it is not common. Perhaps local councils could (and should) take the initiative to prepare more designated disposal bins for environmentally hazardous trash, such as mobile phone batteries, rechargeable batteries, and of course -- who could forget -- compact fluorescent lamps.

Incandescent lightbulbs have been criticized as energy inefficient. Only 5% of energy consumed is converted into light. The rest is lost as heat.


Halogenica said...

I guess in Kuala Lumpur the heat would be a waste, yes.

But using CFLs would not be a good alternative, for the following reasons:

1. The light quality is lower: CFLs have mediocre colour rendering.

2. CFLs lose output with age and become dimmer.

3. CFLs are heat sensitive.

4. CFLs do not perform well as reflector lights.

5. Only extra expensive special CFLs can be dimmed or used with sensors and ceiling fans.

6. CFLs contain mercury and need to be properly recycled, yes, but cannot be tossed in recycling bins where they risk breaking as mercury vaporises at +20 degrees Celsius.

7. If broken at home CFLs can contaminate the room for a long time and pose a health risk to children and pregnant women.

I would instead recommend these mercury-free lamp types:

A. Halogen Energy Savers, where top light quality and colour rendering is of importance. Are not temperature sensitive. Perform well both as reflector lights and as replacement for traditional bulbs. Good for people over 60 who need clear bright light and good colour rendition to see well.

B. LED lamps, where quantity and long life is more important than quantity. Especially suitable as reflector lamps, night lights, coloured decorative lights and as signal lights in cars, traffic signs etc.

Kevin said...

Thank you Halogenica :)