nemesis's Journal

Fluorescent not the answer

Wednesday 7th March, 2007

Environmentalists commonly sell compact fluorescent lightbulbs as the alternative to incandescent bulbs on two grounds: longevity and cost saving. What they don't tell you is that longevity of lightbulbs is measured on continuous usage. When you turn a fluorescent lightbulb on and off, you reduce its lifespan considerably. This wildly contradicts the advice they've been giving you to turn your lights off when you're not using them.

Compact fluorescent lightbulbs contain the toxic heavy metal mercury. Normal incandescent light globes don't contain toxic elements, and can be safely disposed of in the trash. How many people know about the mercury in their new energy saving light globe? Imagine how many of these people will simply toss them in the trash, ending up in our landfill, eventually seeping into underground water reservoirs.

Another problem with compact fluorescent lightbulbs (indeed, with almost all fluorescent light sources) is that they don't work with dimmer switches. Sorry buddy, no more mood lighting in the bedroom for you. Not to mention the fact that the human eye prefers a warm incandescent glow over the harsh tones of fluorescent lighting.

And perhaps the biggest consumer issue that needs to be tackled with banning incandescent light bulbs is that compact fluorescent globes aren't as compact as you'd hope. "Compact" fluorescent globes won't fit into many lamp fixtures and in lamp shades. Sure, this issue will eventually be fixed with additional research and development, but this all comes at a cost. But with R&D, why not just develop efficient incandescent bulbs? Oh, look -- GE already has. All the advantages of compact fluorescent without the drawbacks.

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