24 Jan 2012: Report

Building a Better Bulb:
Lighting Revolution Advances

With the industry’s support and despite political opposition, new U.S. lighting efficiency standards went into effect this month. This move, along with similar actions in Europe and China, is helping spur new technologies that will change the way the world's homes and businesses are illuminated.

by dave levitan

Despite an outcry from U.S. conservatives that new lighting efficiency standards infringe on personal freedom, legislation mandating greater efficiency became law on January 1. Those new standards, along with major progress in lighting research and development, are helping usher in a technological revolution: Lighting companies — both large and small, in the U.S. and abroad — are rapidly building a better light bulb.

The incandescent bulbs that have lit the world since their invention by Thomas Edison are on their way out, to be replaced by newer technologies offering dramatic improvements in efficiency, energy use, and other environmental impacts.

Indeed, the way Americans think about a light bulb will have to change: Instead of a throw-away item worth merely a few cents, buying a light bulb will more closely resemble the purchase of a long-lived appliance. LED and
‘There are 4 billion screw-in sockets out there and only a quarter of them have an energy-saving bulb,’ says one expert.
CFL bulbs, along with other technologies, can offer one or two decades of use, rather than the paltry year of most traditional incandescent lights.

Lighting companies in the U.S. support the new standards, which, beginning this year, will gradually phase out traditional bulbs like the 100-watt in favor of new technologies that use at least 28 percent less power. These changes bring the U.S. in line with many other countries, including those of the European Union, which began a phase-out of inefficient bulbs three years ago. China’s ban on 100-watt bulbs takes effect this year, followed by efficiency improvements for lower wattages through 2016.

The U.S. changes are long overdue. Efficiency standards for other technologies, such as refrigerators and washing machines, have been around since the Reagan Administration. With lighting accounting for around 15 percent of residential electricity use (and 35 percent in commercial buildings), phasing out the inefficient old bulbs represents a huge economic and environmental opportunity.

“There are about four billion screw-in sockets out there [in the U.S.], and today only a quarter of them have an energy-saving bulb in them,” said Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “When the standards are in full effect, we’ll cut our nation’s electric bill by about $12.5 billion a year and eliminate the need for 30 large power plants and all the pollution that comes from them. It’s a big deal.”

The new U.S. lighting standards are part of the Energy Independence Act of 2007, signed into law by President Bush with broad bipartisan support. The lighting provisions remained uncontroversial until last year, when they became a Tea Party rallying cry. “The American people want less government intrusion into their lives, not more, and that includes staying out of their personal light bulb choices,” said U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.

View gallery
Vu1 Corporation ESL Bulb

Vu1 Corporation
Electron-stimulated luminescence bulbs, or ESLs, are efficient bulbs with a quality of light similar to incandescents.
Some members of Congress falsely claimed that the legislation would ban all incandescent bulbs and require the purchase of compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). In fact, the legislation does not ban any class of bulbs, but rather requires that a 100-watt bulb now use a maximum 72 watts to give off the same 1,600 lumens. In December, Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives managed to defund enforcement of the new legislation until October of this year, but despite that, the lighting industry is moving ahead with the new standards.

“The legislation is in effect, it has not been repealed, it has not been changed,” said Terry McGowan, the director of engineering for an industry group, the American Lighting Association. “We made all the decisions for this back in 2007. Once you start investing money and changing production lines, that’s very hard to turn off, and also very expensive.”

The new U.S. standards come as lighting companies — ranging from leaders like GE and Philips to smaller companies such as Venture Lighting, GrafTech, and Vu1 Corporation — are developing a host of new technologies. These include a new generation of incandescent bulbs, called halogen incandescents: 72-watt bulbs are available now, for only a few dollars and with light output close to standard 100-watt incandescents, and can screw into existing sockets.

“It’s a bulb that costs only marginally more,” said Brian Howard, co-author of a book on new lighting technologies, Green Lighting. “You get the same
The controversial compact fluorescent bulb will almost certainly lose ground to newer technologies.
color, temperature, light that we’re used to. So really the only disadvantage is that they don’t last quite as long as fluorescents.” The lifetime of halogen incandescents is about two to three years, compared to six years and more for CFLs.

“I don’t think we would have these new improved incandescents on the market if it wasn’t for the standard,” Horowitz said. “The industry has known how to do this for a long time.”

In the new lighting revolution, the controversial compact fluorescent bulb will almost certainly lose ground to newer technologies. The unfamiliarly shaped CFL bulbs gained infamy due to shortcomings in light color and quality, along with warm-up delays and an irritating hum. But prices have come down and many of the technical problems have been addressed. The efficiency improvement is undeniable: A 100-watt-equivalent bulb that produces 1,600 lumens uses only 23 watts and lasts up to 10 years.

One issue seized on by opponents is the small amounts of mercury inside CFLs. But Horowitz said that CFLs still release far less mercury into the environment than incandescent bulbs. “While incandescents don’t have mercury in them, they cause three times more [mercury] emissions at the power plant than the CFL does,” Horowitz said. “And CFLs are down to two to three milligrams of mercury, which is the size of a pen point, and it stays inside the bulb.” When a CFL burns out, consumers do need to recycle them properly, but Home Depot, Lowes, and others offer such services for free.

Howard and industry experts say that CFLs are likely to be replaced in the coming decade by LEDs, or light-emitting diodes. A solid-state technology, LEDs feature electroluminescence from semi-conductors, rather than
LED lights are completely programmable and will allow for smarter management of home lighting.
thermal radiation coming off an electrical filament as with an incandescent bulb. LEDs provide light nearly equivalent in quality and color to incandescents, while offering both efficiency and lifetime improvements over CFLs. They also are completely programmable and will allow for smarter management of a home’s lighting. Their drawback, for the moment, is sticker shock: Instead of a quarter for an incandescent bulb, a typical LED still costs more than $20.

That is changing fast. Sylvie Casanova, a spokesperson for Philips Lighting, said her company’s standard LED bulb (equivalent in brightness to a 60-watt incandescent bulb, though requiring only 13 watts) was released about a year ago at almost $40, and is already down to $24.99. GE, Sylvania, and others have similar prices for their 60-watt-equivalent LED products. With rebates now available in some states, that can come down to $15.

“Fifteen dollars for a bulb that is going to save you $142 over the life of the bulb, which is 20 to 25 years, and your break-even point is at three years,” Casanova said. “But the consumer doesn’t consider what it is going to cost them to run that light bulb. They just look at the upfront cost.”

Those upfront costs will most likely keep consumers away from some other technologies for the moment, but these may end up playing a role in the market in various ways. Electron-stimulated luminescence bulbs, or ESLs, for example, are efficient bulbs made by the Vu1 Corporation with a quality of light similar to incandescents. They make use of accelerated electrons that stimulate phosphor on the surface of the bulb, which emits light. The company says this results in 70 percent efficiency improvements over incandescents. So far, only a 65-watt-equivalent floodlight bulb is commercially available, but other versions are in the works.

Howard said that plasma lighting is also useful, especially for large commercial or industrial spaces. One company, Stray Light Optical Technologies, produces plasma bulbs with a stunning 23,000-lumen output and a 50,000-hour lifetime. They work by converting electrical power to radio frequency power, which turns a gas inside a tiny bulb to a plasma state that generates light.

Among the technologies that may enhance or reduce the cost of LEDs are organic LEDs, or OLEDs, and quantum dots. The former, already used in television screens and other displays, provides the electroluminescence from a layer of organic compounds that responds to a current flowing through it. Quantum dots, meanwhile, are tiny bits of semi-conducting material that allow for precise tuning of the light’s wavelength. Effectively, that means that a LED bulb could approach even closer the light quality and color of a traditional incandescent bulb.

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Casanova, of Philips, as well as the ALA’s McGowan, acknowledged that the industry generally views LED dominance as inevitable. But not everyone thinks that is a foregone conclusion. Horowitz said that each of the main technologies — CFLs, LEDs, and new incandescents — has its advantages, and which one comes out on top is far from guaranteed.

One thing is certain, experts say: Consumer savings will start to pile up quickly. “Many people have 20 to 40 sockets in their home, so it really adds up,” Horowitz said. “The average consumer... once they switch out their bulbs could save 100 to 200 dollars per year.”

Even small steps have big ripples in this field: According to the U.S. Energy Star efficiency program, if every home replaced just one bulb with a more efficient version, the country would save $600 million a year.

Correction, January 26, 2012: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the wattage of Philips Lighting’s standard LED bulb. The article should have said that Philips’ standard LED bulb is equivalent in brightness to a 60-watt incandescent bulb, though requiring only 13 watts.

POSTED ON 24 Jan 2012 IN Business & Innovation Energy Oceans Policy & Politics Sustainability Asia North America 

COMMENTS


Watch "the health risks" due to the new mandated bulbs will impose! There were numerous studies done before the implement of the "green" bulbs which everyone seems to be ignoring. All of the green bulbs make me ill...hav­e had difficulty for years with the flourescen­t bulbs. I have Systemic Lupus... ve­ry light sensitive to both UVa and UVb rays. The Lupus Foundation of America has attempted to go against this Law, but to no avail. What about those of us that the new bulbs make us sick pretty much wherever we go?! But, I guess they don't concern themselves­. As it doesn't effect them...I suppose this is where the ADA should step in...or I could use my "voice" so it comes out "loud and clear"!”. Please tell me what's more important -saving money or people's health? And, obviously the lightbulb manufacturers will make out like bandits!

Posted by Susie Baumgarten on 24 Jan 2012


Great piece covering a range of technologies including the often-overlooked halogen. Check out

http://lighting.com/shine-through-light-bulb-ban/

Posted by Lois Hutchinson on 24 Jan 2012


Here is the same story (better bulbs) once again but with many new protagonists. The article (Building a Better Bulb: Lighting Revolution Advances) is claiming that the new bulbs are miraculous products but in reality their side effects on our health are totally ignored. I would like to point out some scientific facts on cfl’s that are not included. A major drawback of energy-saving CFLs is that they should not be used near infants, children or pregnant women; so essentially nowhere. This is yet another fact that is ignored or silenced, despite being based on the most systematic scientific research on CFLs. This is what the work of the Environmental Protection Agency in the state of Maine, has to say on the matter “…consumers should consider the possibility to avoid placing CFLs in bedrooms or rooms with rugs frequented by infants, young children or pregnant women…”

The main question is how can we remain healthy using those “green” lights. To achieve this is similar to make a space travel using an old train. Because few consumers on this planet are aware of the (many) dark faces of the “green” lights. The bottom line is the cruel irresponsibility of the governments in any country on the Earth in not informing consumers on the countless dangers in using “green” bulbs.

1. Mercury is a big issue but not the most important.
2. The emission of radiation that probably causes countless sicknesses - maybe cancer - is not the big issue.
3. The fact that several carcinogenic chemicals and toxins were released from their plastic parts when the “environmentally-friendly” compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) were switched on, including phenol, naphthalene and styrene, is not the main problem.
4. Forget the geopolitical game on rare earth metals (money and power). China is the champion on it.
5. Forget the UV radiation. Eye cataracts, skin problems and probably cancers. This is not the main problem.
6. The most important factor, that has NOT been understood, is that the mandatory change of bulbs entails a change in the quality of lighting. And this is OUR REAL LIFE. What is certain is that a drastic change of myriads of active electro-biochemical processes in the bodies of all people will be effected, with unknown consequences.

It is extremely well documented scientific knowledge that ANY kind of artificial light often and profoundly affects all living being adversely. This is the one and the major disadvantage of CFLs due to the radiation 400-500 nm they emit, known as blue light. This is an extremely dangerous radiation, which cause cancer and suppresses melatonin secretion, giving “craze” signals to pineal gland with countless consequent effects on both the ill and the healthy. The frequencies in the range of blue light (and UV radiation) are increasingly a source of concern due to their adverse health effects. Even the SCENIHR, namely the Scientific Committee of the EU, which verified the issue, almost cynically agrees with this, talking about adverse effects on the health of 25,000 people. Nevertheless, citizen unions argue that up to 70,000,000 people will be affected! In reality due to blue light everybody will be negative affected.

Finally there is an unbelievable fact. The European Commission asked - again - for the second time (2008 and 2010) the SCENIHR “to explore and report (30.11.2011…?) scientific evidence on potential health impacts on the general public.”

Posted by Christos Mousouliotis on 24 Jan 2012


Like the commenter above, I am astonished that an article in a green magazine can so ignore the potential light quality consequences of new bulbs. LEDs, for example, emit very strongly in a narrow (and different spectrum) to incandescents. That is why they use less energy. Probably this will have profound consequences for human biology and also wildlife attracted to the new spectrum.

Somebody needs to investigate this before LEDs become ubiquitous.

It reminds me of the campaign to switch to diesel combustion engines. Diesel does not save Co2 (it is more energy dense), and emits far worse pollution.

Posted by Jonathan Latham on 24 Jan 2012


XSCO2 is something to address, thus coal should be phased out. With that, we need to consider our options... Because I, and billions others, are NOT going through the hassle to recycle CFL bulbs... Lying around in the shed, they are a child hazard!

One option is to deploy closed cycle molten salt reactors (which can't melt down) so as to not have to worry about excess energy usage (and no XSCO2 concerns either).

The second option is to conserve till we're blue in the face (and still emit XSCO2).

Meanwhile, the CREE XM-L is the most efficient at this time... just too expensive to turn it into a bulb that screws in. That should all be changing soon. These new leds provide BETTER light quality than florescents too (unless you get the cold white version. Eff up to 160 lumens per watt).

Typical CRI for Warm White (2,600 K – 3,700 K CCT) is 80. These get up to 110 lumens per watt. A drawback is that at 1 watt, they still aren't bright enough, and at ten watts, get slightly less than 100 lumens per watt (due to higher current draw). But, still that's WAY better than the CFL!

Better light quality. MUCH longer lifespan (many don't last for "years" as claimed).

NO toxicity (if so, then like a thousandths which I have not heard about yet).

No buzzing sound (that some of my CFL's create).

Instant on (unlike my CFL's that are only half as bright at first, and sometimes they even flicker).

No breakage (It really sucks when your 3 year old knocks the lamp against the wall and you have to hope that the little bit of mercury didn't cause any poisoning!)

And get this... Each only requires less than 4 volts... Perfect for solar applications and DIY!

To recap, old Edison (tungsten) bulbs only have one thing wrong with them... aside from the fact that civilization still uses coal for their power... They break. It would be alright to be inefficient had we figured out how to demand just 50,000 square miles of robotically mass produced solar arrays and batteries cheap enough for such mega installs (how's THAT for a jobs creation program?). Even easier yet would have been that closed cycle nuclear (which is also load leveling!).

CFL's basically suck, we all now know this...

And the led will become the best unbreakable, most dependable, and MOST efficient for places where power is scare.

Besides, there is nothing "wrong" with super efficiency!

Posted by Robert Bernal on 25 Jan 2012


Lighting is one area where efficiency and conservation will yield quick results. Fist it was Incandescent bulb, then CFL and now LEDs. Especially developing countries can transform their lighting into DIGITAL.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India
E-mail: anumakonda.jagadeesh@gmail.com

Posted by Dr.A.Jagadeesh on 25 Jan 2012


I agree with most of the comments and can add a few things:

1) extended life time is by no way an argument. It is well known, since documents are available to historian, that all major companies signed an agreement to make incandescent bulb lasting no longer than 1000 hours (still writtent today as a standard on the box). They were able to do much better before ww2 and there is a 100 year old light bulb functionning in a firebrigade in the US. Besides eastern germany designed a bulb that was extremely long lived for similar quality.

You can find all the the details if you understand french on this TV programm aired on arte, called "obsolescence programmee"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iB8DbSE0Y90

2- In Europe 100 W are not available in stores and i think they are really banned by law. This could sound as a positive thing if that was meaningful, but the thing is that electrical consumption is increasing and there, there are no laws to curb the trend. Even concerning lighting, the debauchery of light that we have to endure in public spaces is not even even mentionned. To talk concrete: I have just in front of my window a christmas tree that has been sitting there for two months (and there are one for every block) with next to a hundred light. Who needs that except those who produce this stuff and pollute our sleep ?
Not mentioning flourishing digital advertsement that sucks watt like hell.
However this overlighting is really impairing our life quality and nobody was asked for approval.

So why is that ? This is purely political: A law on changing bulb increase consumption and industrial production (new process engineering, new investment, new production lines). So it fits the economical power and its need for growth. A law on actual energy consumption would severely impair their profit and his unthinkable. Such laws on specific items efficiency are thus purely cosmetical.

3- There is no serious study about the real health impact of switching to this kind of lighting concerning use and production. Concerning use, there is little information on the actual spectral characteristics of those lamps compared to heated filaments. Technology are really different and we are designed to see a kind of smooth white spectrum coming from heated blackbody like material. This could look like a detail if there has not been retrieval of LED emitting too stronlgy in the blue and impairing eye sight. Ok for cycling, may be not for reading, at least we deserve to know more.

Then concerniing the previous type, the mercury lamps, radiation have been mentionned in previous comment. There is a general denial of potential effects of electromagnetic radiations carefully fed by the industry. For those who wants proof of that i recomment this other document of of french tv, where researcher implied in official studies where prevented to air the bad result and were not funded to continue independently. There are at least three independent extremely worrying findings (this is in french and last one hour, sorry). Aired miraculously one evening on the public channel france 3.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOliAhDahEw&feature=related

Posted by Kervennic on 25 Jan 2012


RE "Falsely claiming that incandescents are banned"

Effectively it will be a ban on incandescent technology for ordinary lamps.

Phase 2 of the 2007 EISA legislation kicking in after 2014 has 45 lumen per W as end regulation, which no known incandescent replacement can reach - including touted 2012 halogens (typically 20-22 lumen per W).

Besides, the halogen replacements have different light quality etc. and cost much more for marginal savings, which is why neither consumers or politicians like them (no "Halogen replacement programs" as with CFLs!)

Posted by lighthouse on 25 Jan 2012


Light bulbs don't burn coal or release CO2 gas. Power plants might. If there is a problem - deal with the problem.

Overall US energy savings from a switchover are a fraction of 1 percent, on US Dept of Energy stats and surveys, referenced http://ceolas.net/#li171x also describing more relevant electricity generation, grid and consumption savings.

Besides, energy saving is not the only reason for choosing a light bulb to use. Light quality and appearance (eg the use of clear transparent lights, only possible with incandescents) surely has something to do with it too.

All lighting has advantages, no safe to use lighting should be banned or "phased out" by governments!

Innovation stimulation? That comes from increasing - not reducing! - market competition. Note that CFLs, LEDs etc. were all invented regardless of energy usage standards, in fact standards have to be set to allow for already invented products - or consumers risk literally to be left in the dark!

More correct than banning cheap incandescents, (or other products based on energy usage), is therefore to help new inventions, including energy efficient products, to the market, although without continuing subsidies.

Even if politicians still (wrongly) wanted to target incandescent light bulbs, or refrigerators,
washing machines etc as mentioned in the article, they could be taxed, such that government income could then in turn be used to subsidise and reduce the prices of energy efficient alternatives. The purchase costs are thereby evened out, so people are "not just hit by taxes", and still keep choice.

Light bulb policy comparisons: http://ceolas.net/#li23x

Free market competition, and taxation compared to regulations.

Posted by lighthouse on 25 Jan 2012


Dave,

I am confused. I thought ther was going to be a delay in these new standards....

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2011/12/congress-delays-enforcement-light-bulb-rules-/1?csp=34news

What's the deal?

Posted by bill on 25 Jan 2012


Energy saving is, as said, not the ONLY reason for choosing a light bulb to use,
and overall US energy savings from a switchover are a fraction of 1%, see above.

There are many reasons why consumers may not save much either in switching.

Just 4 of the factors

1 Replacement savings might be great for the main light. But US households have 45 lighting points on average. No "big savings" with upfront expensive lights in rarely used lamps. Add in, any broken or lost or "dud" bulbs...

2. The incandescent heat is proven to save room heating costs http://ceolas.net/#li6x when it's dark its often cold, and use with air conditioning cooling is of course optional

3. The so-called "power factor" (not the same as power rating) of ordinary "energy saving" fluorescent bulbs means that they use twice the energy at the power plant than do ordinary incandescent bulbs, compared to what your meter says.

http://ceolas.net/#li15eux, with references, including Osram/Sylvaniafactsheet admission

Many LEDs, for domestic users, also have power factor issues. Electricity consumers of course eventually have to pay for this "hidden cost" in higher bills.


4. Conversely:
With any electricity saving the electricity companies make less money, and they simply raise the electricity bills, or receive tax payer subsidies (out of citizens pockets) to compensate Already happening in California, Ohio and other US states, the UK etc, as described and referenced http://ceolas.net/#californiacfl

Heads they win...tails we lose

Posted by lighthouse on 25 Jan 2012


I don't care to pay 20$ per bulb but kept my eye open and found some halogen replacemen­t leds for about the same price as the halogens. Most of the rest of the house is CFL just because I HATE changing them.

I do plan to invest in a few screw-in LEDs for some of the more onerous changing spots and in the living room as the CFL that would fit in the socket just is not bright enough for me. Bring down the price and I will buy them.

Posted by Smith on 26 Jan 2012


CFLs and LEDs won't work as oven lights. What's the plan for that application?

Posted by Wingfield on 27 Jan 2012


I live in West Africa, and there are plenty of CFLs available here. People understand the whole pitch about saving energy, and they pay the higher price in order to pay less on their electric bill, but the quality of the CFL products here is terrible. The bulbs often do not last long at all, and it is common to see the distinctive remains of smashed curved glass tubes along the street. There is near zero awareness of the mercury hazard and zero possibility to dispose of properly. From my viewpoint, it's creating a health hazard and environmental pollution that this region isn't prepared for at all.

Posted by Meg on 27 Jan 2012


To answer a couple of questions: Wingfield, appliance light bulbs (oven lights, and so on), are exempted from the legislation and will not be affected.

Bill -- the delay enacted by Congress is a delay in funding of enforcement, not in the standards themselves. This may stall the phaseout of 100-watt incandescents for a few months, but does not change the end result.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Dave Levitan

Posted by Dave Levitan (article author) on 27 Jan 2012


I am a big fan of greening lighting, and have installed several kinds in most of my lamps. Two other points I don't hear being discussed however are that (1) these bulbs do not always last anywhere near as long as advertised, yet last long enough that you've long lost any proof of purchase or warranty information about them, so wind up with a far more expensive bulb than you thought for the amount of value you get from it; and (2) similarly, a fraction of these bulbs are going to break -- they're fragile commodities in table and standing lamps -- which is not a big deal for cheap incandescent replacements but is a much bigger expense for more costly bulbs whose favorable economics depend on it actually lasting many years. We need to be candid about acknowledging and addressing these drawbacks if we are to really win the market.

Posted by Pete on 28 Jan 2012


There's a hell of a lot of ignorance displayed in these comments, and some worthy practical notes. As to health effects of the radiation, are people against sunlight?

As to the efficiency of these sources of light, the incandescent is not inefficcient because of its frequency spectrum, but because it uses conducting filaments, hence produces a lot of wasted heat to produce the light. Etc.

Posted by MKB on 30 Jan 2012


Not to be argumentative, but....if one Congress can eliminate funding, then why can't future Congresses? Or perhaps repeal the standards entirely? The phaseout hardly seems a fait accompli. Yea or nay?

Posted by bill on 31 Jan 2012


LEDs = No Nukes! They have to be stopped at all cost, or they will put the nuclear industry out of business as an unecessary risk! We need nuclear power to poison the planet and reduce the global population to 500 million, because that's what the Bilderberg Group wants! Why else would we be using depleted uranium shells in the Middle East other than to destroy the genome? People purchasing LEDs to save electricity, save money, produce better lighting environments, are a threat to National Security. They must be exterminated.

Posted by Rock The Reactors on 31 Jan 2012


Even some Europeans are having second thoughts about CFLs. The following is a copy and paste from SPIEGEL ONLINE article titled Are Fluorescents Really the Way to Go Potentially even more concerning, an environmentally oriented German consumer protection magazine in October came to the conclusion that some of the energy-efficient bulbs on the market are hardly better than their incandescent counterparts. According to the controversial study by d6ko Test, many of the bulbs tested take at least a minute before they reach their optimal brightness and many of their lifespans are much shorter than indicated by the manufacturers. Furthermore, they are prone to high-frequency flickering, leading to headaches and other complaints, though no concrete proof was offered for this claim. The test was blasted by environmental groups and by bulb manufacturers. Still, many are asking that CFLs be more closely examined and that issues related to their disposal be addressed. Furthermore, consumers will have to become much savvier about the energy-efficient lamps now on the market. According to the d6ko Test result, one of the most expensive bulbs on the market, the Swiss Lights Classic 68, not only burns out quicker than promised, but it also uses more energy than it is supposed to. Indeed, compared to a traditional 60 Watt bulb, the energy-saving lamp uses 14 percent more energy.

Posted by Kristy on 02 Mar 2012


Odd that there is no mention here of the danger to animals and people of full spectrum (bright blue white) light. Insects are attracted to these white LED and metal halide bulbs and die by the hundreds every night on each bulb--far less food for birds and fish. Amphibians don't venture out under bright white light, and don't eat or reproduce as much.

Humans suffer from low melatonin, sleep difficulties, and cancer when they are exposed to bright white light at night. Yes, sun has its advantages, IN THE DAY TIME. Not at night. We waste far too much fossil fuel, contaminate the environment with disposal, increase skin and eye problems, reduce bird and animal populations, and give ourselves more cancer and depression with all this unnecessary light. PLUS we can't see the stars and astronomy becomes impossible. People are NOT safer outside with bright white light. Glare reduces vision, bright light increases car speeds at night, allows criminals to see better, etc. Cities cutting back on light DON'T experience more crime sometimes significantly less. Win win. At the very least, substitute low or high pressure sodium bulbs for halide bulbs for street lighting, and minimize the number of lights outdoors--especially the purely ornamental ones. And NEVER have white lights pointing up at the sky. Horrible for migrating birds.

Posted by Mildred Sanders on 21 Sep 2012


Comments have been closed on this feature.
dave levitanABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dave Levitan is a freelance journalist based in Philadelphia who writes about energy, the environment, and health. His articles have been published by Reuters, SolveClimate, IEEE Spectrum, and Psychology Today. In previous articles for Yale Environment 360, he wrote about the potential of vehicle-to-grid technology and how brownfields are being used for renewable energy projects.
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Big Challenges for Reclamation

by ed struzik
The mining of Canada’s tar sands has destroyed large areas of sensitive wetlands in Alberta. Oil sands companies have vowed to reclaim this land, but little restoration has occurred so far and many scientists say it is virtually impossible to rebuild these complex ecosystems.
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A New Leaf in the Rainforest:
Longtime Villain Vows Reform

by rhett butler
Few companies have done as much damage to the world’s tropical forests as Asia Pulp & Paper. But under intense pressure from its customers and conservation groups, APP has embarked on a series of changes that could significantly reduce deforestation in Indonesia and serve as a model for forestry reform.
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In a Host of Small Sources,
Scientists See Energy Windfall

by cheryl katz
The emerging field of “energy scavenging” is drawing on a wide array of untapped energy sources­ — including radio waves, vibrations created by moving objects, and waste heat from computers or car exhaust systems — to generate electricity and boost efficiency.
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Life on Mekong Faces Threats
As Major Dams Begin to Rise

by joshua zaffos
With a massive dam under construction in Laos and other dams on the way, the Mekong River is facing a wave of hydroelectric projects that could profoundly alter the river’s ecology and disrupt the food supplies of millions of people in Southeast Asia.
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As Fracking Booms, Growing
Concerns About Wastewater

by roger real drouin
With hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas continuing to proliferate across the U.S., scientists and environmental activists are raising questions about whether millions of gallons of contaminated drilling fluids could be threatening water supplies and human health.
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In Developing World, A Push to
Bring E-Waste Out of Shadows

by mike ives
For decades, hazardous electronic waste from around the world has been processed in unsafe backyard recycling operations in Asia and Africa. Now, a small but growing movement is seeking to provide these informal collectors with incentives to sell e-waste to advanced recycling facilities.
READ MORE

Growing Insects: Farmers Can
Help to Bring Back Pollinators

by richard conniff
With a sharp decline in pollinating insects, farmers are being encouraged to grow flowering plants that can support these important insects. It’s a fledgling movement that could help restore the pollinators that are essential for world food production.
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