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GE Closes Last US Light Bulb Factory

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the bright-idea dept.

Power 797

pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the US is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison's innovations in the 1870s. What made the plant vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014 but rather than setting off a boom in the US manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas. GE developed a plan to see what it would take to retrofit a plant that makes traditional incandescents into one that makes CFLs but even with a $40 million investment the new plant's CFLs would have cost about 50 percent more than those from China. 'Everybody's jumping on the green bandwagon,' says Pat Doyle, 54, who has worked at the plant for 26 years. But 'we've been sold out. First sold out by the government. Then sold out by GE.'"

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The easy way out (5, Interesting)

w00tsauce (1482311) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546440)

GE needs to team up with Cree and retrofit their factory for making the next generation LED bulbs.

Re:The easy way out (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546526)

Agreed! It's only a matter of time before they phase out CFL bulbs because of their mercury content. That leaves LEDs as the next big thing.

Re:The easy way out (2, Interesting)

Ark42 (522144) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546548)

GE needs to team up with Cree and retrofit their factory for making the next generation LED bulbs.

Yes! They need to think of the future, past CFLs, and start working on cheap LEDs asap.

Anybody know where I can get good 800-1000 lumen LED bulbs, that fit in regular A19 socket with 4" clearance (too many are 5" or more tall, and don't fit in many fixtures), and don't have a fan and heatsink?
I'd love to start buying them, even for $20-$30 each, but everything I find is like 300 lumens, 5" tall, or has a fan that gets noisy after a year of use.

This works well with a previous story (4, Funny)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546456)

This is a great solution to the 'too many patents' problem in a story earlier today. No lightbulbs means no ideas right?

You gotta compete on the global marketplace! (3, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546462)

Yes, it sucks that the market for candles disappeared but you have to adapt and compete. If you can't make CFLs competitively, then you lose your job. It's that simple.

Re:You gotta compete on the global marketplace! (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546488)

This isn't that the market for candles disappeared but rather the government banned candles. This is not the free market at work but rather the government screwing us (again)

Re:You gotta compete on the global marketplace! (2, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546606)

Yep, good old government, breaking windows to stimulate jobs for window replacers. Oops. I'm sure it'll work out better next time.

Re:You gotta compete on the global marketplace! (5, Insightful)

epiphani (254981) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546636)

Please explain how the government mandating energy efficiency is equivalent to the government screwing us.

The government keeps your energy prices artificially low. I think that gives them the right to make sure you're not pissing away energy. Or would you rather electricity was five times the current price?

I actually might prefer that. But I also make significantly more than the average person.

Re:You gotta compete on the global marketplace! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546800)

does it matter? oh were out of coal and natural gas, time to rape the poor people after they just bought 14$ lightbulbs

Re:You gotta compete on the global marketplace! (0, Troll)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546892)

Please explain how the government mandating energy efficiency is equivalent to the government screwing us.

Uh, most people I know hate CFLs, but they're forced to use them because assholes in government have mandated their use; in Britain they've failed to even give the damn things away. How is that _NOT_ government screwing the people?

And, of course, in two or three years once everyone has replaced their old bulbs with CFLs, the government will suddenly discover that CFLs contain mercury and therefore we must all replace them with LEDs instead.

If CFLs are really so wonderful then there's no need for the government to get involved because people will buy them instead of ordinary bulbs. But they're not, so they're being forced on people who don't want them.

Re:You gotta compete on the global marketplace! (0, Troll)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546902)

Because the government isn't really mandating energy efficiency. When you get right down to it, CFLs are less efficient than incandescent bulbs. I sat down and did the math a couple of years ago and concluded that I would never break even.

First, you have the problem of power factor, which means that with fluorescent bulbs, you're often drawing a lot more power than you think, it just isn't getting metered that way. Second, you have the spectrum of light, which because it is balanced towards the blue end and because it isn't a continuous spectrum, isn't perceived as being of equal brightness. To get the same perceptual brightness, IIRC, you are drawing slightly more power with fluorescent bulbs than with modern incandescent (e.g. halogen) designs, and approaching that of plain jane incandescent bulbs.

LEDs are similarly useless. The amount of light output from the brightest ones I can buy are inadequate even for a small room.. Not to mention that they are LOUD if you use them in a dimmer circuit like the one in my bedside table lamp. I've just about concluded that all non-incandescent bulbs are unusable, and at best are a serious step down from incandescent bulbs.

And that's before you add in things like the increase in depression [fullspectr...utions.com] , suicides, and cancer [reason.com] linked with fluorescent lighting.

We're getting massively screwed.

BTW, the government isn't subsidizing energy significantly. Maybe a little, but certainly not a favor of two, much less five. All but my lowest tier of power costs more than it would cost me to use solar, without any subsidies or tax incentives factored in, assuming a grid-tie system (no storage costs). And that's buying PV cells at low-quantity prices. Nearly every other form of power production costs less than that. You're right that technically the government is holding down the cost of energy, but only by limiting the power of the monopolies that would otherwise gouge us for all we're worth. Energy is inherently not a free market and can never be a free market, making that argument moot.

Re:You gotta compete on the global marketplace! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546766)

This isn't that the market for candles disappeared but rather the government banned candles. This is not the free market at work but rather the government screwing us (again)

Citation Please? The only Google reference I find is banning candles with lead in their wicks. I can still buy candles in my convenience store, but really electric light is much better, plus I don't even remember the last time I bought light bulbs, or candles except for the occasional romantic dinner.

Really this is just the continued evolution of technology, and globalization having a preference for buying from countries that can make things cheaply due to lack of labor laws.

I was sort of hoping that the government might help get some obsolete US manufacturers to start working on the next big thing, such as refitting some auto plants to make windmills or something. Of course all this new tech requires people to be retrained too. It sucks and it will be expensive but it is the only way to remain competitive. If we don't start on the next generation of tech and the education needed to work with it, we'll really be screwed long term, and I don't think most companies really have the long term thinking to get with it.

LED will be next. They're already bright enough for theatrical purposes (though they do have to overdrive the crap out of them to get good output)

Of course if we go LED we really should start considering having a DC service (or more likely a rectifier) installed into new houses. I love LED's but I don't know if ever single light should need its own power supply, plus all our portable electronics are already DC.

Re:You gotta compete on the global marketplace! (2, Insightful)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546788)

Yeah! And if the EPA hadn't screwed us in 1970, the free market would still be happily pumping out cars that are a thousand dollars cheaper and run on wonderful TEL-enhanced gasoline because there are government-mandated catalytic converters to ruin.

Oh, and New York would still be in a choking black cloud of poisonous smog. But who cares about that.

Re:You gotta compete on the global marketplace! (1)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546796)

*there are no government mandated catalyric converters to ruin

Re:You gotta compete on the global marketplace! (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546852)

This isn't that the market for candles disappeared but rather the government banned candles.

The candle you buy today isn't the candle you could buy ten years ago.

Lead wicks in candles were banned in 2001:

Granting a petition filed by Public Citizen, the National Apartment Association, and the National Multi Housing Council, the Consumer Product Safety Commission noted that some candles containing lead-core wicks can release more than 2,200 micrograms of lead per hour. This amount is about five times the amount of lead required to cause elevated lead blood levels in children, and a hazard to children exists when they are exposed to more than 440 micrograms per hour. Lead Wicks in Candles Banned [suite101.com]

In response to increased reports of candle fires, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) [in 1997] asked the National Candle Association to spearhead an ASTM subcommittee to develop consensus standards for improving candle fire safety.
The result was the ASTM Subcommittee on Candle Products, which includes members of the NCA, the CPSC, fire officials, safety organizations and other interested parties.
To date, six ASTM candle standards have been published, two of which are reference standards.
http://www.candles.org/industry.html" a>ASTM Standards For Candles [candles.org]

 

Good old statism (0, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546468)

Ah, the good old US government, not only reducing US jobs but also reducing consumer choice in something as simple as choosing what type of light bulb you want.

they don't specify bulb type (4, Insightful)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546582)

Just efficiency levels. You can choose any technology that meets that efficiency standard.

When energy costs and availability affect our way of life and security so much, using a statism to attack a move as logical as this just doesn't make sense.

Re:they don't specify bulb type (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546628)

they have no constitutional authority to do any such thing. they should be executed for treason.

Re:they don't specify bulb type (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546798)

Not executed. Just jailed in a dark hole. "Sorry, the budget doesn't cover light bulbs that meet your efficiency standards."

Re:they don't specify bulb type (1, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546632)

Considering how miniscule a percentage of total energy usage residential light bulbs account for, it doesn't seem like a very sensible thing to regulate. (Commercial lighting is a bigger deal, and already separately regulated.) It's also using electricity, the least problematic of the energy sources from a security point of view, because it's mainly generated using U.S. sources (there's even currently a natural-gas glut).

If they really cared about energy security, they'd be going after oil usage, e.g. by raising the gas tax or mandating better fuel standards. Replacing every incandescent bulb in the U.S. won't have an effect even close to what a 5mpg increase in average fuel efficiency would have.

lighting is 20% of a home energy bill (4, Insightful)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546706)

So that's 1/5th of all the energy used in residences.

That's not minuscule.

Your last argument is ridiculous. Every bit counts, just because one thing isn't done doesn't mean another thing done isn't useful.

And by they way they ARE mandating better fuel standards. The CAFE (required fuel economy average of cars sold) goes up 2.5mpg next year (first raise in a decade) and will go up another 4.8mpg over the next 8 years.

Re:lighting is 20% of a home energy bill (2, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546792)

Of the bill, maybe, but of energy usage, it's about 12%, of a residential pie that is itself about 20% of U.S. energy usage. So residential lighting is about 2 1/2% of U.S. energy usage, and from the best category of energy usage (electricity).

Re:lighting is 20% of a home energy bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546874)

People like you are why we get soaring national debts. "We can't reduce spending on these 12 items summing $1B: they aren't significant enough! We need 1 item worth $1B savings!" Can I join you over in magical fairy land?

Re:lighting is 20% of a home energy bill (1)

blai (1380673) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546898)

And that the US is a huge energy and oil consumer.

You US people really need to see the world instead of yourselves.

and we can save about 2/3rds of that (4, Insightful)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546900)

So this can cut energy usage in the US by about 1.75%.

And you say it doesn't count? That's a lot of energy.

Passenger cars use about 14% of the energy in the US. You would like to increase fuel economy average in cars 5mpg. This would reduce that energy use about 15% (5mpg out of 32mpg). That's an energy reduction of 2.2%.

So you ridicule one mandate as trivially small and suggest one that is only 25% larger as the real answer? Especially when the lighting one can be much more easily implemented as it is much easier and cheaper to replace light bulbs than to replace your car.

Study economic supply elasticity (1)

Smeagel (682550) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546780)

Energy supply is very inelastic, which means small changes in demand can be reflected by LARGE changes in price.

It should never be underestimated what a small change in energy demand can do to raise/lower prices (for all of us). Remember when the recession hit, and energy demand went down a few percent, and oil prices shot down 40%?

Also - thinking of each consumer making their own choice only affecting themselves is not accurate when you're in a market where your neighbors poor choices make it significantly more expensive for everyone.

Re:Study economic supply elasticity (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546816)

Sure, I buy the last part, I just don't get why light bulbs are unique. My neighbor choosing to ridiculously heat his house to 80 degrees also affects everyone. So do absurdly large televisions. But nobody that I know of is proposing to mandate thermostats that won't heat/cool above/below certain government-prescribed threshholds, or force people to buy more reasonably sized TVs.

I'd be okay putting a total energy budget cap on a home, with rapidly increasing prices if you use more than X kWh/month. Then let everyone choose what to spend it on. My neighbor can run his giant TV, I can run my incandescent bulbs, someone else can run their 800W gaming machine, and whatever, but if you try to run all of those, you get hammered with fees.

Re:they don't specify bulb type (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546668)

Seconded. I don't think the issue of retrofitting is the governments fault, as it was a necessary step. I think they made the right choice to force folks to move to a more efficient light. I DO think they need to address the real point of concern. Why can China produce a CFL for 50% less than the same bulb in the US. The trade discrepancy in value between the US and China is the real problem here. If our local economy can't compete with artificial limits on chinese goods, then they need to be taxed appropriately to make their cost comparable without our own. I realize we are in a recession, but failure to do so causes a much larger concern like this one where our manufacturing jobs all disappear due to trade imbalances. Although the initial costs may be higher here, the jobs we save may be our own.

Just efficiency levels. You can choose any technology that meets that efficiency standard.

When energy costs and availability affect our way of life and security so much, using a statism to attack a move as logical as this just doesn't make sense.

Good old selfishness (2, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546650)

Ah, the good old US government, not only reducing US jobs but also reducing consumer choice in something as simple as choosing what type of light bulb you want.

Because god damn it I should have a RIGHT to burn as much energy unnecessarily as I want. I have a RIGHT to be an irresponsible, planet destroying, jackass who clings to obsolete and inefficient technologies. How DARE the government force me to utilize a less polluting, longer lasting technology. [/sarcasm]

Choice has costs that go much beyond your consumption preferences. I like old cars but there are reasons modern cars have modern pollution controls. If you can't behave responsibly, eventually others are going to get annoyed at your selfish behavior and you might not like their solution. Incandescent bulbs consume more power than available substitutes and that has national energy policy implications that are much more serious than your annoyance that you have to use a different type of light bulb.

Re:Good old selfishness (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546734)

I already do have the right to burn as much energy unnecessarily as I want, though. The government didn't even ban most of the bigger ones; they banned a really tiny one that seems to be mostly out of image and spite.

To use your example, driving old cars is not banned, and they're even grandfathered in from just about all newer regulations. Running an unnecessarily ridiculous 500 Watt home computer is not banned. Keeping your home air-conditioned to 72 degrees (which many peopl actually do) is not banned either. Buying a Hummer 2 to go grocery shopping isn't banned. Installing single-paned windows isn't banned. Etc., etc.

Plus in my particular case, incandescent bulbs are around 100% efficient. I live in an area with a climate that's around 50-60 most of the year, which is cool enough to need some heating, but not cold enough to be worth the expense of getting a gas furnace installed. So I use a moderate amount of electrical heating to keep it up around the mid-60s (I don't really mind it being somewhat cool). Any "waste heat" from bulbs, the stove, or the computer substitutes 1-for-1 for the electrical heater.

Of course, you could ban electrical heaters, too. ;-)

Re:Good old selfishness (2, Insightful)

guabah (968691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546826)

Except that old cars will keep lowering in numbers just by the fact that parts become more scarce as well as rust eating away the car, so unless you are very dedicated to keep your old car running you'll eventually want to have a newer car and save the hassle.

Re:Good old statism (1)

Singri (984887) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546894)

If GE were smarter they would have invested more in other types of lighting before the ban. Why didn't they innovate earlier? Innovate or die.

What some cheese with that whine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546470)

Like all other companies, you move with the demand, not bitch at moan about the state of life. CFL's being made over seas? So what, make them here, get govt grants, stop fucking moaning. And no I don't want a horse buggy whip.

Re:What some cheese with that whine? (2, Insightful)

Koby77 (992785) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546622)

As mentioned in the article it costs 50% more to make them locally. Personally I don't think that 1st world economies should have to compete against 3rd world labor laws, non existent environmental standards, and be forced to collude with the government to get subsidies and manipulate the currency exchange just to be competitive. So until things change for the better, no we shouldn't encourage more jobs to go overseas by legislating light bulb usage.

Sold out by GE? (4, Insightful)

Desert Raven (52125) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546474)

OK, how exactly were they "sold out by GE"?

The plant wasn't profitable currently, was going to be made obsolete by law in a couple of years, and was not even remotely profitable to refit to producing the CFLs.

So they should just pay people to work for the heck of it?

Re:Sold out by GE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546558)

Re: pay people to work for the heck of it?

sing it with me . .. . look for . . .the union label

  make work

  I just feel so unorganized . . .

    if only we had an organizer to take away my pay.

Re:Sold out by GE? (2, Interesting)

alfredos (1694270) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546576)

I agree with what you wrote except:

was going to be made obsolete by law

Law in this case simply accelerated a proccess which was almost guaranteed to happen anyway due to the higher efficiencies of CFLs and LEDs.

I am usually no fan of governments regulating too much, but in this case I'm happy with it (we have similar laws on this side of the pond, too).

Re:Sold out by GE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546680)

That's like saying any number of extinct organisms could survive if not for the "accelerated" speed at which we make them adapt or die.

Re:Sold out by GE? (2, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546686)

The plant wasn't profitable currently, was going to be made obsolete by law in a couple of years, and was not even remotely profitable to refit to producing the CFLs.

Calculated by whom?

I find it interesting that according to GE accounting, it's cheaper to to just move everything overseas than to retrofit. It amazes me that someone just has to say that their numbers show whatever it is and people think it's an indisputable fact based on physical laws. And of course, most people hear "numbers" and think some scientific analysis was done and there's "proof" that it's the case. Accounting is NOT a science. Accounting is not based on physical laws. Even if you follow GAAP and FASB rules, there are still quite a few different ways of calculating things - AND those rules are just for reporting only. Management can calculate things ANY WAY THEY WANT TO.

Maybe it is cheaper to go overseas and honestly in this economic climate, it probably is. After all, GE isn't going to throw money away. BUT my point is, just because it doesn't make sense for GE with all their corporate overhead, doesn't mean it wouldn't be unprofitable for another company - the Japanese have proven that they can make things here in the US and still make a very nice return - even with US lazy expensive Americans.

Also, just because it may be cheaper now, doesn't mean it will be in the future because: the Yaun wiil increase in value, transportation costs will increase as fuel prices go up and the surplus of shipping declines.

In a nutshell, GE is being very shortsighted.

Re:Sold out by GE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546776)

BUT my point is, just because it doesn't make sense for GE with all their corporate overhead, doesn't mean it wouldn't be unprofitable for another company - the Japanese have proven that they can make things here in the US and still make a very nice return - even with US lazy expensive Americans.

Nobody is stopping other companies from making stuff here. GE just doesn't want to. I'm sure if the building is worth anything it will be sold to someone to use for some purpose like this. If not, there are tons of vacant buildings around that could be bought, or a new one can be built.

Re:Sold out by GE? (4, Interesting)

Eharley (214725) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546882)

Seriously.

I remember this article [nytimes.com] last year

"When Congress passed a new energy law two years ago, obituaries were written for the incandescent light bulb. The law set tough efficiency standards, due to take effect in 2012(?), that no traditional incandescent bulb on the market could meet, and a century-old technology that helped create the modern world seemed to be doomed."

"But as it turns out, the obituaries were premature." ...
"The incandescent bulb is turning into a case study of the way government mandates can spur innovation."

"There's a massive misperception that incandescents are going away quickly," said Chris Calwell, a researcher with Ecos Consulting who studies the bulb market. "There have been more incandescent innovations in the last three years than in the last two decades."

-----

So it would seem that GE just doesn't want to invest in the US and instead make the same crap it's already making more cheaply in China.

It's easy for stuff to be 50% less in a factory to (4, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546478)

It's easy for stuff to be 50% less in a factory town where works are just meat and they work super overtime with no overtime pay. Also over seas it costs less to pay off / bribe gov into looking the other way over them breaking over time and worker rights laws.

Re:It's easy for stuff to be 50% less in a factory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546530)

It's easy for stuff to be 50% less in a factory town where works are just meat and they work super overtime with no overtime pay. Also over seas it costs less to pay off / bribe gov into looking the other way over them breaking over time and worker rights laws.

Yet you buy those products without hesitation from that factory town -and thousands of others like it- every time you shop. But it sure is nice to be self-righteous on the Internet isn't it?

Re:It's easy for stuff to be 50% less in a factory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546584)

So where is this boutique light-bulb shop that you purchase from? You know, the one where you pay a premium to ensure your product is made locally. Oh, you don't buy from these shops because they don't exist? So you make your own light bulbs? No? I have to agree with you that it's nice to be self-righteous on the Internet.

Re:It's easy for stuff to be 50% less in a factory (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546738)

It's easy for stuff to be 50% less in a factory town where works are just meat and they work super overtime with no overtime pay. Also over seas it costs less to pay off / bribe gov into looking the other way over them breaking over time and worker rights laws.

Yet you buy those products without hesitation from that factory town -and thousands of others like it- every time you shop. But it sure is nice to be self-righteous on the Internet isn't it?

You, sir, are an idiot, and are expressing more self-righteousness than the GP. At least he is acknowledging the problem, which is a major step in the right direction. You just want to feel a degree of moral superiority which, from your comment, I don't think you deserve.

Now, you might have had a point before all those factories went overseas, before the transfer of technology and manufacturing to third-world countries was largely complete. Yes, if we'd voted with our dollars back then, back when it might have made a difference, things might have turned out differently. Hell, if we'd stuck to our guns and insisted that the Feds do what they could to protect domestic industries from predatory practices by foreign manufacturers (and I do not mean the way they "protected" our electronics industries from Japan) we might have stood a chance. Unfortunately for your high horse, the "Buy American" mantra doesn't mean squat when you don't have any way to actually buy American. So get off the soapbox ... you're decades too late.

The GP is right, and unless we make efforts to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. (even if that means a degree of protectionism that many proponents of the "Global Economy" might find objectionable, as if competing with third-world industrial economies on their own terms was ever a good idea) the problem is going to get worse. Eventually, of course, America will have no significant industrial capacity of any kind, At that point, just to maintain what little we have left, we will be reduced to the likes of Nigeria and certain Middle Eastern countries who are selling off their natural resources, selling them to nations who understand what it means to create wealth. That used to be us, we used to be the nation that made everything for everyone, but now we've put legal shackles on anyone who is still trying to accomplish anything, and call it "progress". I don't think most of you understand what "service economy" really means. I know some ex-third-worlders who would be happy to explain the difference between that and "manufacturing economy." Doesn't matter ... you'll understand soon enough when we can't even afford to keep the lights on anymore.

You want to get worked up about how our industrial leaders sold us out with the collusion of U.S. government officials who made backroom deals with China, I might back you up. But the American consumer no longer has much choice in the matter: it's buy Chinese or go without. So blaming the consumer at this point serves no purpose.

Re:It's easy for stuff to be 50% less in a factory (3, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546552)

"It's easy for stuff to be 50% less in a factory town where works are just meat and they work super overtime with no overtime pay. "

The reality of competing with cheap workers will require a reset so our workers become cheap. Productivity is high with few workers, but if more workers are to have jobs, they will have to work for less, live less well, and be like the rest of the world.

The main reason the US did so well for so long was it was the "last country standing" after WWII, which was the best thing ever to happen to the US economy.

Re:It's easy for stuff to be 50% less in a factory (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546688)

So, what we need is for everyone else to be at war again, and we can sell them second-rate weapons and supplies?

That really sheds new light on our current foreign policy....

Tariffs are not evil (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546876)

The reality of competing with cheap workers will require a reset so our workers become cheap.

You mean live like the 3rd world? I think not. Tariff the lopsided traders until their trade balances ours. Most of the "evils" of tariffs that right-wing economists state are false or exaggerated. Lopsided trade creates tons of its own problems.

30%, not 50% (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546654)

33% less.

The GE bulbs would be 50% more than the Chinese bulbs or 1+1/2, or 3/2. But that means that the chinese bulbs would be 2/3 the cost of the GE bulbs. 33% less.

But.. that's the manufacturing cost, and doesn't necessarily reflect the retail price - even with the same per-unit profit, that would not require the product to sell in *stores* for 50% more than the chinese bulbs.

Further, CFL's are pretty cheap. I'd pay 50% more for one made in the US. I'd like to have had the option.

Heck, I pay 100% more to get stuff from the local Farmer's Market instead of who-knows where. I don't do that because it's got an "organic" sticker on it, either. I do it because I like the idea of locally supplied foods and products.

There's a limit, of course, but I weight my buying decisions such that I'm willing to pay a bit more for things depending on who made it. I think a lot of people do that.

GE...is looking out for themselves (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546482)

GE is looking out for themselves. Making light bulbs overseas is cheaper, so they do it without one bit of shame. Which is fine, they're a corporation, their duty is to their shareholders. If their shareholders want profits, they have to do it cheaper.

The US government has duties to the citizens. Unfortunately this can put some citizens out of sorts, because the needs of the whole may be different. Sorry, but it happened with the buggy whip makers, it'll happen with the light bulb ones.

Hopefully these employees are getting retraining, education, and whatever other resources they need to find jobs. You can certainly differ over whether or not the restrictions of light bulbs are appropriate, but we can't just throw our hands up and do nothing. If you have better ideas, please give them instead of just offering criticism.

I would rather hear dumb ideas than just hearing that you think all ideas are dumb.

Re:GE...is looking out for themselves (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546618)

Anonymous Public is looking out ofr themselves.....

And I am sure you'd go out of your way to pay twice as much for the CFLs that would have been manufactured in the US.

sold out by GE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546510)

Sold out by anyone who buys whatever $x is cheapest, regardless of where it's made. I would prefer to pay 2-3 times as much for American made products but often times, I don't have that choice. You can blame GE or Walmart, but I blame you.

Sometimes free markets are a real bitch (4, Insightful)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546516)

In the manufacture of physical things it's very hard to compete with companies operating in other countries that have less worker protections, less environmental protections, and non-existent employee benefits.

Either we stop buying from manufacturers located in these countries or we push our legislators to prohibit the import of items manufactured under these conditions.

OR

We lower our standard of living to a 3rd world standard to "compete". Is throwing away your standard of living worth cheap light bulbs?

-ted

Re:Sometimes free markets are a real bitch (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546570)

"Either we stop buying from manufacturers located in these countries or we push our legislators to prohibit the import of items manufactured under these conditions."

Um, nice thought. So much for our EXPORTS.

Re:Sometimes free markets are a real bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546574)

This wasn't free market economics. Incandescents were driven out by a law, and not by consumers choosing one bulb over the other.

Re:Sometimes free markets are a real bitch (1)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546614)

If this was a "free market" example, it would not involve the government dictating the way they make light bulbs.

Re:Sometimes free markets are a real bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546634)

Yep...the middle road is for the citizens of this country to boycott the purchase of products from countries without adequate worker rights. And we can push our government to require the labeling of products (including component parts) so that purchasers can make an informed decision. The government can also be helpful by creating a list of working conditions in each country authorized to import products into the U.S.

I don't want the government creating trade barriers. I want the government enforcing the flow of information so that I can make an informed decision for myself. Governments should help individuals make choices by providing information, not making the choice for them.

The GE lightbulb plant story sucks for the workers there but such is life. They should adapt and find other employment. I've seen numerous examples of this type of change occurring and it's always hard but almost all of the workers will end up finding something else as well...perhaps working as lobbyists to try to shut down global trade.

Re:Sometimes free markets are a real bitch (2, Insightful)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546644)

In the manufacture of physical things it's very hard to compete with companies operating in other countries that have less worker protections, less environmental protections, and non-existent employee benefits.

Either we stop buying from manufacturers located in these countries or we push our legislators to prohibit the import of items manufactured under these conditions.

That would be great, and one probably could do that through import taxes. Free trade allows for Co2 trading, why not humanitarian production taxes? As long as the generated taxes match the humanitarian help that goes back into the exporting countries, it would not be a blocking import tax.

This would get rid of sleeze-balls constantly relocating to the worst countries and help businesses (and countries) that want to act responsibly. But as long as WTF agreements are done in a completely non-democratic way, it's not gonna happen.

Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (4, Informative)

SirGeek (120712) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546518)

I loath CFL lights. They don't last ANYWHERE near the reports say they will. Yet the power LED on one of my computers is still happily running (after 24 hours a day for 10 years).

And LEDs don't require you to use a hazmat suit to pick up pieces if you break one (since they contain Mercury).

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546568)

I find that CFLs last exactly as long as they state on the package which is pretty damn good. I am surprised by how much I like them and how much cooler they run.

The biggest downside is I just throw the burnt out ones in the trash (with batteries) like many others do. So I do wonder if all that mercury will actually make the "green" aspect just another bunch of bullshit.

I suspect for this reason alone, the future will not be in CFLs.

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (4, Interesting)

nickersonm (1646933) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546578)

I've not needed to replace a single CFL since I changed out all the lightbulbs with them when moving in to my current apartment 4 years ago. Perhaps your power supply is dirty? I hear bad things about CFLs, but the cheap ones I purchased were the best lighting investment I've ever made.

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (1)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546596)

I despise CFL lights. I figured that it was fluctuations in the power that were frying the inverter circuit. People didn't believe me until I started writing the dates I installed the bulbs on the bulbs.

I also hate that 99.9% of the population simply tosses bulbs out in the garbage and now that mercury is in my food.

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546662)

Actually, the mercury in your food comes mostly from the generation of electricity by burning coal. After combustion, it gets vented into the atmosphere and then rains down into the food chain. Landfills don't leak a lot of mercury into the food chain comparatively.

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (5, Informative)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546602)

And LEDs don't require you to use a hazmat suit to pick up pieces if you break one (since they contain Mercury).

LED light bulbs are available [homedepot.com] .... pricey, but perhaps worth it?

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546712)

but perhaps worth it?

Not a chance. "Fading White LEDs" [discovercircuits.com]

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546608)

I heard they contained less than a pinheads worth of mercury. So not like breaking a thermometer in school!

"...CFLs contain relatively small amounts of mercury -- EPA estimates this amount to be 4-5 milligrams (mg)..."

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/05/ask_treehugger_14.php

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (3, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546624)

If they were dangerous, the government would never allow them to be sold to households for such common use, since lightbulbs are used in food handling areas.

We pick up and vacuum up the pieces of broken CFLs without hazmat suits all the time, and no ill effects to report... They get broken about 10% of the time when a bulb is being changed, a bit more often than incandescents, which adds to the cost and annoyance of using these bulbs -- the CFLs seem to be more fragile for some reason and break too easily, not sure why that might be.

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (2, Insightful)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546784)

They get broken about 10% of the time when a bulb is being changed

Do you have Parkinson's disease or something?

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546888)

probably from all the mercury poisoning

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (4, Informative)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546862)

we pick up and vacuum up the pieces of broken CFLs without hazmat suits all the time,

Actually vacuuming is the one thing you are not suppose to do!

http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup.html [epa.gov]

And sure the ill effects of one or two might not be noticeable but if you have young'ns in house it may long term

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (2, Informative)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546672)

Yes, but your the LED on your computer is precisely not a "power LED": it doesn't light up a thing. For LEDs, life expectancy is directely correlated to output power.

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (1)

arifyn (711614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546678)

If by 'they', you mean congress, the 2007 measure set efficiency standards that effectively ban standard incandescents. It doesn't force you to use CFLs over LED or any other technology. For most people, LED bulbs are simply not an affordable replacement for standard home lighting. Yet.

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546704)

And LEDs don't require you to use a hazmat suit to pick up pieces if you break one (since they contain Mercury).

Urban legend. Light fingered [snopes.com]

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546708)

They don't last very long if you cycle them often, which some of us are in the habit of doing to save electricity.

You've gotta recondition yourself not to turn off lights every time you leave the room, if you'll be back in 10-15 minutes. Otherwise they'll burn out much faster than they would otherwise.

At least I assume that's the problem--I've had them in three houses in three different towns in three different states, including one house that was only 3 years old, and they've burnt out inside a year in all of them, so I don't think it's wiring issues, which is what everyone blames it on if you complain about them not lasting very long.

I've just stuck with incandescent bulbs; it was too much of a pain trying to re-train my electricity-saving habits, and when you're leaving them on that much longer the energy savings isn't that great.

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546854)

So, if the CFL uses 1/3 the energy of the incandescent and you leave it on 4x as often to save on cycling, you have actually used more energy.

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546752)

Well at the top of the list is cost. That LED on your computers isn't putting out much, it's just a little blip. Enough to actually illuminate a room is very costly. Here's a quote from and article about LED bulbs from GE in April this year:

The bad news the bulbs are expected to retail for between US$40-50, but that initial cost is more than offset by their long life. (source) [gizmag.com]

As much as that might be true, it's a hard sell to pay $50 now to save money in 10-20 years. Most people do the exact opposite, they have credit cards and will pay a damn lot later to avoid paying now.

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546762)

I don't want to argue which are better or whatnot, however just want to chime in on your post. Although I do want to say I want to see LED Lights come down in price.

They don't last ANYWHERE near the reports say they will.

All of the light bulbs I have are CFL bulbs (with the exception of one outdoor light. I live in Sask., Canada - CFL's don't like -40C Winters). I've moved them between 3 apartments in the last 7 years and they are still working strong. Some are Noma brand and some are Sylvania. Although I have noticed the Noma ones have dimmed slightly.

They certainly can last quite a while.. Only time will tell how long, exactly.

Re:Why didn't they push LEDs instead of CFL ? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546770)

I loath CFL lights. They don't last ANYWHERE near the reports say they will.

Yeah, me too. Oh, you can buy more expensive, longer-lived bulbs but then where's the savings?

Yet the power LED on one of my computers is still happily running (after 24 hours a day for 10 years).

Yes, can't fault them for longevity. Don't much care for the spectrum though ... kinda harsh, not enough red

And LEDs don't require you to use a hazmat suit to pick up pieces if you break one (since they contain Mercury)

Yes and no. The reality is that you have to consider the entire cycle, from the materials in the product, to hazardous substances used in the manufacturing process, to final disposal. I don't know enough about the comparative risks of CFLs vs LEDs in that regard. Anyone else care to pick up the thread?

I love CFLs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546772)

The good ones last 10000 hours even if switched on and off regularly - compare to 1000 hours per incandescent. They are 3-5 times more efficient. A 20W CFL is MUCH brighter than a 60W incandescent for example. The best of all, they are available in daylight white instead of urine yellow which is the only available color for incandescents.

Regular fluorescents are even better - the tubes last over 20000 hours (there are tubes that last 100000 hours) and you don't need to replace the driving electronics when the tube runs out. You can pick the most suitable driving electronics too - dimmable, instant start or pre-heat start, etc. Furthermore, they are up to 7 times more efficient than incandescents. LEDs have potential but they still have horrible color rendition.

Misplaced sentimentality (3, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546560)

marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison's innovations in the 1870s.

In other news GE has sold their buggy whip division...

This is not sad news except maybe for the employees who work there. Incandescent bulbs are a technology which has seen its day but it's day is pretty much at an end. They'll continue to be manufactured for some time but not by GE. Anyone who would expect GE to continue to manufacture an obsolete product with rapidly dwindling market share is a moron. The growth opportunities in lighting are with newer technology such as CFL and LED lighting. This is not something to shed a single tear over. Sentimentality in a situation like this is just bizarre.

Tesla was here (0, Troll)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546588)

Edison is a dick.

Re:Tesla was here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546638)

Obvious troll is obvious.

Re:Tesla was here (2, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546744)

George Westinghouse was the one that really fucked Tesla over. It didn't help that Tesla was pretty naive in business.

I wish some Westinghouse award winner would say "In the name of Nicolai Tesla, I say shove it up your ass! I don't accept awards from a company started by a thief."

CFLs won't last (1, Interesting)

Dracos (107777) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546610)

In 3 to 5 years when all the CFLs start dying, there will be a huge furor over the mercury they contain leeching into landfills.

Coincidentally, at the same time LED bulbs will become cheap enough to replace them. The pitch will be "Sure they're $5 to $10 each now, but they'll only get cheaper, and they last for 20 years!" Sound suspiciously like the CFL pitch.

Re:CFLs won't last (1)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546822)

I'd say "but there isn't a furor over the mercury that coal puts into the environment" but there will be, because the right loves symbols, and the CFL is a symbol of the left wing greeniacs and everything about which they are wrong, and therefore the CFL will be held to a higher standard than opposing interests that are harder to distill into a single image or concept.

Re:CFLs won't last (4, Insightful)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546848)

You are not supposed to be throwing them into landfills. The labels on the back of the packaging say that. Its easy to recycle them. When I buy new CFLs from Lowes, I bring the old ones in and drop them off at the front desk. End of story.

In 3 to 5 years when all the CFLs start dying, there will be a huge furor over the mercury they contain leeching into landfills.

Writer of history. (2, Informative)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546630)

"The Washington Post reports that last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the US is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison's innovations in the 1870s.

Debatable about the innovation (read some of the comments) [arstechnica.com]

another victim of gov't law (0, Flamebait)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546640)

if the plant is unprofitable, it is supposed to die off in a market that provides alternatives (competition) that are more cost effective or are much better quality, something somewhere must give.

it's the same thing as with copyrights [slashdot.org] , patents [slashdot.org] and other gov't dictated regulations [slashdot.org] , gov't messes with economy by laws, by taxes, by subsidies, by bailouts, by stimulus, by copyrights, by patents, by creating monopolies, by setting interest rates, by passing wage laws, by creating moral hazards with FDIC, Freddie, Fannie, medicare, CHIP, fixing food prices and subsidizing food producers, etc. etc. etc., everything gov't does is against economy in specifics and in general. No surprise economy is shit.

GE is no longer interested in the consumer space. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546690)

This is just a symptom of the operating focus for GE. They no longer have a consumer interest. There are several companies working on high efficiency Halogen bulbs using IR reflective coatings to reflect heat back against the filament. In addition there is a significant amount of work updating the tungsten filament itself, basically sputtering the wire to texture it. GE has put little effort into updating their manufacturing technology, just milking it for profit. I recently swapped my 75 Watt PAR 30 lamps for 48 Watt lamps with the same Lumen output. Philips brand, though I have no idea who manufactures the coated capsules for their bulbs. The light output is excellent quality. Most of my general purpose lighting is CFL, modern CFL is very good, but I find that direct tungsten is more comfortable for reading, and these high efficiency Tungsten bulbs are very nice. Certainly less efficient than 18 Watt CFL, but much better than the 75 Watt Halogens they replace.

I am not going to fault GE for their shift in focus to commercial, that is just the way it is.

CFL "Green?" (1, Troll)

stuartjames (1458383) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546710)

'Everybody's jumping on the green bandwagon,' says Pat Doyle, 54, These bulbs are far from environmentally friendly or “so called green” and is another example of how foolish laws attempting to “manage” people’s behavior create more long term problems. Each bulb contains about 5 milligrams (mg) of mercury, a toxic heavy metal that can interfere with the development of children and unborn fetuses and may cause a wide range of health issues in adults, including brain, kidney and liver damage. Large commercial users of fluorescent lights are required to recycle, proper disposal of CFLs, but not home owners. Huh?????? Let’s just assume that 7 million people in NYC dispose of one bulb a month, that is 35 Kilos of Mercury introduced into the environment each month in NYC alone. If I have my numbers wrong I am sorry, it has been awhile since I have done those types of calculations, regardless the amount of Mercury is not insignificant. I personally would rather live with the consequences of the incandescent lamp for a while longer.

Re:CFL "Green?" (2, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546754)

unborn fetuses

Thank goodness the born fetuses are safe.

Re:CFL "Green?" (3, Informative)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546860)

Even with the most conservative estimates for mercury output and the proportion of power generated by coal and the most unforgiving ones for CFL mercury content and power savings, the power saved by CFLs results in less mercury being released into the environment than they could themselves release.

http://www.energy.gs/2007/05/cfl-mercury-myths.html [energy.gs]
http://www.energyrace.com/commentary/more_on_mercury_coal_and_cfls_updated/ [energyrace.com]
http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/news/4217864 [popularmechanics.com]

Why a ban? (1, Insightful)

JMZero (449047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546720)

I think a ban is a horrible choice. Why not just add a tax on them?

That way, anyone who had some reason for wanting one could still get one - and who knows why you might want one (art/aesthetics? heat (especially in odd/cold installation environments)? plain old preference (I mean, it's not like there isn't much worse environmental choices that aren't banned)?).

Use the tax on some environmental endeavor, and set it high enough that the net outcome is environmentally positive.

There wouldn't need to be as many produced, but production could slow over time rather than stopping immediately.

Everybody wins.

What this really means (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546728)

I happened to be in New Zealand when they closed their last light bulb factory. At the time I honestly didn't think it'd ever happen here. This should send a chill down everyone's spine. Picture this scenario, 5 or 10 years from now China is likely to demand we stay out of their conflict with Taiwan just as they invade Taiwan. If we try to get involved China threatens an embargo. So what? Have any idea how mush of our essentially already come exclusively from China? Already most clothing and electronics come from there and now you can add light bulbs to the list. If they cut us off we go back to candles and they probably make most of the candles.It would take 5 to 10 years of hard work right now to start making most of our essentials again and it'll be far worse in 5 or 10 years. Can you go 5 years without buying new clothes? Other countries make them? Not enough to offset China. Cheap blue jeans could go for $500 a pair. People have no idea how dire our situation is and that's not even considering the debt we owe them. The majority of that debt has to be refinanced in the next two years. What if they refuse? The future of this country is already in the hands of China and it will get much worse before it has any hope of getting any better.

huh (3, Interesting)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546794)

What I don't get is this: if China can produce CFLs at half the price (which doesn't surprise me), then why couldn't they also produce incandescents at half the price? In other words, why hadn't the plant closed long before the advent of CFLs?

What I'd like to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546802)

What I'd like to know is why GE clams USA made CFAs would cost "twice as much" as those made in China, while the China CFC king wants to open a factory in the USA because US customers WANT USA made CFCs and says USA made CFCs "will only cost about 50 cents more then Chinese ones". Why the huge price disparity between his and GE's?

GE rules OK (0, Troll)

GerryHattrick (1037764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546806)

Now the Euro-Eco-Nazis are forcing incandescents off our shelves here, the best alternative that still meets Greenie-Gestapo rules is halogen-encased filaments in a secondary (traditionally sized) glass envelope. I've bought plenty, similar colour temperature, no fluoro-nonsense. Guess what, they all have 'GE' stamped on them. Made somewhere else, of course.

Why didn't GE switch to LED? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546864)

I don't understand, what makes CFLs so popular? They're more expensive to produce than LED based lights and are much more harmful to the environment, as well as being a lot less efficient. Why didn't GE look into converting production to LED? Instead they just decided to give up? If I were employed by GE or were one of their investors I would definitely be upset.

Blame it on minimum wage laws. (0, Flamebait)

bobv-pillars-net (97943) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546880)

Any country which makes and enforces a minimum wage law will effectively cause all exportable labor-intensive jobs to move elsewhere. Simple economics, people.

CFL (2, Informative)

thewolfe (1325995) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546890)

We've all been duped on the CFL lights. I think they are dead-even with incandescent lights as far as "carbon footprint"; here is why: I switched all of my bulbs to CFL about 2 years ago. I have had 4 of them "burn" up. They get really, really hot, emitting that burnt electronics smell and go out.
Regular filament bulbs:

Glass and metal
CFL bulbs:
A little mercury vapor
glass
phosphors
printed circuit board
resistors
capacitors
metal
solder
transformer
Ok, the CFL save some energy, but they sure add more pollutants (the circuit boards and mercury) to the system WITHOUT the long-life promised.
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