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Activists Seek Repeal of Ban On Incandescent Bulbs

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the wouldn't-want-to-accidentally-get-something-done dept.

Earth 1049

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Daniel Sayani reports in New American that Senator Mike Enzi plans to introduce legislation to reverse the ban on incandescent light bulbs which is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2014. 'CFLs are more expensive, many contain mercury which can be harmful even in the smallest amounts, and most are manufactured overseas in places like China,' says Enzi. 'If left alone, the best bulb will win its rightful standing in the marketplace. Government doesn't need to be in the business of telling people what light bulb they have to use.' Faced with a phaseout, some consumers are stockpiling incandescent bulbs, although a poll by USA Today indicates most Americans support the US law that begins phasing out traditional light bulbs next year. Despite some consumer grumbling, they're satisfied with more efficient alternatives. 71% of US adults say they have replaced standard light bulbs in their home over the past few years with compact fluorescent lamps or LEDs and 84% say they are 'very satisfied' or 'satisfied' with CFLs and LEDs."

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Good! (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317412)

Good, those CFLS suck in cold weather (10+minute warmup) and at drying out slightly moistened electronic bits without damaging them as a heat gun/oven would.

Re:Good! (3, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317530)

While I'm getting used to them...

...I do most certainly agree that the Federal Govt. should not be the ones dictating which type bulb I fucking purchase!! I'm thinking that is a huge stretch even with the bastardization of the Interstate Commerce clause...geez, they need to fix that shit.

Re:Good! (5, Informative)

SiChemist (575005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317602)

Except the Fed does NOT dictate the type of bulb you use. Congress passed a bipartisan law to require that bulbs be more efficient. Any incandescent bulbs that meet the new efficiency guidelines are fine. G.E. promised a more efficient incandescent bulb but decided against it.

Re:Good! (0)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317770)

You're saying the same thing basically.

Let me object in a slightly different way - Congress has no fucking business setting standards for the efficiency of light bulbs. Nope, it's not there in the good ole Constitution. Can't find it anywhere. They should butt out of such things!

Hope your chandelier looks good with those horrible CFLs!!! It's going to be a while before LEDs get bright enough and cheap enough to use.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317574)

Not to mention the fact that it is pretty much impossible to smoke meth out of a CFL bulb.

Incandescents are useful for more than just keeping a room lit. They also keep me lit!

Special situations (1, Insightful)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317414)

This is another example of whackos in government run amok. Why not let consumers decide what to buy and for what purpose? During the winter I leave a small 40 watt bulb on in my well house to prevent the pipes from gives out enough heat and it's perfect for that application. Now I will have to get a space heater causing me to burn even more electricity even when turned on the lowest setting.

This is absolutely idiotic...for government to ban a specific appliance. Almost as idiotic as banning people from owning and smoking a plant!

Because consumers are stupid (2, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317474)

Because consumers are stupid - that's why.

Re:Because consumers are stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317620)

It's not your, or my, place to force stupid people to act one way or the other.

Re:Because consumers are stupid (2)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317690)

Why ban lead paint or require seat belts then? I don't disagree with you, but this isn't a black/white issue.

Re:Because consumers are stupid (5, Insightful)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317640)

And politicians are smart?

Re:Because consumers are stupid (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317672)

Agreed, but it's the manufacturer's fault too. Most people complain about CFLs giving out too little light, and it's true. A 20W CFL DOES NOT replace a 100W lightbulb. It can, given ideal conditions, but usually it doesn't.

So people are frustrated and go and get a 100W lightbulb for their front porch... which stays on all night.

That's why they're trying to ban incandescents.

I, for one, wouldn't ban them. I'd just tax them real high and make CFLs more attractive. That way you can have your incandescents for when you REALLY need an incandescent (think: fridge, bathroom, some closet. Those places where an incandescent lasts forever)

Re:Because consumers are stupid (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317778)

You shouldn't ever be deciding what bulb to buy based upon wattage. Wattage and base type will tell you if the bulb is safe to use in a given fixture, but watts aren't a unit of light, they're a unit of energy consumption. Lumens is what you should be using for that. You should be choosing the light bulb with the amount of lumens you want and then ideally choosing the one which consumes the least amount of electricity.

Re:Because consumers are stupid (1, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317756)

Because consumers are stupid - that's why.

No, consumers are not stupid. They are acting intelligently in utilizing technology that is well proven, works 100% is known safe and reliable. Over unproven technologies that represent an inferior option, in many cases don't work as well, are not as safe, and are no more efficient; by having no other redeeming qualities.

And sometimes aesthetics and comfort matter, especially in regards to the color and nature of light in your home. LEDs and CFLs being particularly hard on the eyes, have many undesirable qualities in that regard, that would cause a rational person to avoid them in many situations for highly intelligent reasons.

LEDs are expensive; when materials and energy required to produce them are considered they are no more efficient than incandescents.

CFLs are expensive and dangerous, due to containing mercury, and not well studied UV emissions.

LEDs also have the disadvantage of not emitting heat; which means, in many cases, additional space heaters have to be setup where incandescents would be used instead, and installation of space header creates energy waste and fire hazard.

It may be rational to experiment with CFL and LED technologies, but there are good solid reasons to avoid them in many situations.

Re:Because consumers are stupid (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317794)

Yes, and the government is a reflection of that.

Re:Because consumers are stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317804)

Americans, gather around. Let's all take a moment and let's consider that Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt have to deal with the fall of their governments. And Iraq and Afghanistan have to deal with on-going occupation and near civil war. And Greece and Ireland have to deal with nearly financially bankrupt governments. And France can't pay it's pension obligations.

Now, let's all be grateful that the worst thing that a lot of us have to deal with is lightbulbs that are curly.

Re:Special situations (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317496)

This is another example of whackos in government run amok. Why not let consumers decide what to buy and for what purpose?

The government ban of CFCs two decades ago seems, in retrospect, to have been a good thing. Did you complain then?

Re:Special situations (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317512)

I have previously made this exact comment, for the exact reasons, and others tried to explain to me how to compensate for I needed that. The point is, if we really believe that the market place should decide, then let it.

There ARE (and always will be) applications were an old fashioned light bulb works best. Easy Bake® ovens come to mind. Now, they are being forced to redesign them, which will make them more expensive of course. For once, they need to think of the children ;)

Re:Special situations (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317644)

I have a couple sockets where I *cannot* use CFLs (they're not supposed to be used on sockets with dimmers). I use 40W incandescents with them. Everywhere else it's 15W fluorescents.


Re:Special situations (2)

SiChemist (575005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317656)

The Easy Bake® oven depended on the fact that old incandescent bulbs are SO inefficient that the waste heat they generate can cook a small cake. I have no sympathy for those who whine about being forced to quit wasting so much energy when the fix is simply a minor inconvenience.

Re:Special situations (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317738)

Incandescent bulbs are still legal as heating devices, so you will need to provide some evidence that the law is forcing the easybake oven to be redisigned.

Actually incandescent bulbs are not being banned at all, only bulbs that do not produce a certain amount of light per watt.

Re:Special situations (1)

SputnikPanic (927985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317518)

Totally agree. Most of the lights I have at home are CFLs, but there are a few places in the house where I want the lights to be at full brightness when I flip the switch or where I *want* the combination of heat and light of the edisons.

Re:Special situations (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317558)

sounds like you probably have a 40 watt grow light you could press into service.

Re:Special situations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317566)

Oh, You'll still be able to buy the equivalent of that 40 watt bulb... But it will now be called a "low-power heat emitter" and sell for $19.99 per bulb (lasts for YEARS!!!)

Re:Special situations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317702)

Sorry, my pricing was wrong... it's $14.40 for a 60-watt version [] . I regret the error.

Re:Special situations (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317582)

For this application, just install 8 CFLs. The heat output will be the same and your well house will be better illuminated.

Re:Special situations (1)

Clsid (564627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317588)

Actually, you are the perfect example why this kind of things need to be enforced sometimes. Has it ocurred to you that the reason pipes freeze in the first place is because of water in it. If you are going to be away from that place just close the main water valve and then open all your faucets connected to that pipe. Also insulating the pipe will work wonders instead of wasting electricity like you are doing at the moment.

Re:Special situations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317670)

Are you fucking retarded? It's a wellhead, it's outside, where it's cold... all year, to provide to the house.

I think you need to get out more.

Re:Special situations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317692)

Is he supposed to drain the entire system every night when he goes to bed and every morning when he goes to work?

Re:Special situations (2)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317712)

Have you actually lived in a cold weather climate? What you propose is nonsense, because there are low spots in the piping. You would have to actually blow the lines clear.

This is exactly why the government _shouldn't_ be involved. People/politicians seem to think they know much more than they do.
For reference, 40W for a month is on the order of a gallon of gas a month. Insignificant? No. Significant compared to a typical 1st world country lifestyle? Not if you do any sort of air travel.

Re:Special situations (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317718)

He might be an idiot when it comes to light usage, but many farmers are not. In northern Florida, where there is still a risk of frost, farmers often use incandescent lamps to keep their oranges from freezing. At least those that grow on such a small scale that flash freezing the oranges is impractical.

Re:Special situations (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317760)

If you are going to be away from that place

He didn't claim that. Besides, it's not necessary for him to be "away" - pipes can freeze while he is at work or asleep.

just close the main water valve and then open all your faucets connected to that pipe.

And don't forget to turn off all water heaters that you have in the house.

insulating the pipe will work wonders

It is important to know that the water is not self-heating (unless it is radioactive.) So the insulation will only slow the freezing process down, but in the end, if there is no flow, it will freeze anyway. In a cold climate pipes are insulated and buried in the ground. If a piece of pipe is exposed it will freeze unless there is a good flow of warm water in it. Also it's coldest at night, and very few people need water at that time.

Re:Special situations (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317624)

Why not let consumers decide what to buy and for what purpose?

This would work iff companies were responsible for negating the environmental impact of their product - the cost would percolate down to the consumer and the market would decide. As it stands, a lot of tax money goes into environmental compliance, and thus the government feels justified in stepping in. Personally I think banning products is a ridiculous way to go about it - in an ideal world, the price of power would include the cost of rendering the plant as close to environmentally neutral as is feasible, and thus the the extra power used by the incandescent would be a non-issue - the market would be making a more accurate and 'informed' decision. In a less ideal but more realistic world, the government would place a surcharge on incandescent bulbs based on their extra lifetime energy usage, and invest the money raised directly into environmental initiatives. Unfortunately, in the world we live in, the government just decided to ban the things instead.

Re:Special situations (0)

revscat (35618) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317694)

You're right. The net benefit of energy usage will be completely negated by you using an incandescent bulb to keep your pipes from freezing.

Fuck the free market. It doesn't work for shit, and deserves no more religious or moral dedication than any other system of economics. Banning CFLs is a net positive. Banning weed is a net negative. Those two things can both be true at the same time without the need to make idiotic claims of government running amok.

Re:Special situations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317708)

they sell heating cord that will have the same effect without wasting any energy creating light

5 or 6 feet of it is about 40 watts

I use it on an insulated but otherwise exposed outside pipe I have when it gets below 15F outside, keeps the pipe from freezing

Re:Special situations (1)

gilbert644 (1515625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317734)

Looking forward to chemtrail legislation.

Re:Special situations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317808)

As someone who currently does digital retouching and printing, I totally agree. You see, in order to be able to observe and adjust the colors on a print correctly, it must be observed under full spectrum light. Without going outside every time I print something, the only way to do this is with a full spectrum color-corrected incandescent light bulb. The narrow spectrum bands produced by CFLs and LEDs would cause the colors on a print to appear incorrectly. Moreover, how are professional photographers supposed to take realistic-looking photos with the equivalent of florescent lamps?

IMHO, public policies should focus more on producing clean sources of energy than nitpicking about every product which uses "too much" power by necessity of its means of operation.

huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317416)

>CFLs are more expensive, many contain mercury which can be harmful even in the smallest amounts

Don't suck your CFL's, then.

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317674)

The problem is when Joe Public tosses them into the garbage instead of recycles them.
Not to mention handling them if they fall to the floor and shatter.

Re:huh? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317802)

They still release less mercury than the coal plant would have when powering the old style light.

If you eat tuna you have no room complaining about a CFLs worth of it spilled in your home.

Joe public needs to be encouraged to recycle them, preferably with a fine of a few thousand dollars for tossing them out.

What about heatballs? (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317424)

Will they forbid those, too?

Re:What about heatballs? (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317504)

I seem to recall a story about someone in the UK trying exactly that, but I forget what the outcome was.

Pointless fight (3, Interesting)

mozumder (178398) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317432)

Because LED lighting will own the market in a few years.

Light output is terrible for CFLs and LEDs (1, Informative)

nemesisrocks (1464705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317526)

Don't get me wrong, I love LEDs. I think all equipment should be littered carelessly with LED indicators.

But I just can't stand either LED or CFL lighting. The light that either of these globes give off just isn't as nice and comforting as a good ol' incandescent globe. It's cold, harsh, and monochromatic.

I for one will be stockpiling incandescent globes if Australia ever legislates against them.

Re:Light output is terrible for CFLs and LEDs (1)

radl33t (900691) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317662)

So you aren't buying warm full spectrum bulbs then? Oh ok.

Re:Light output is terrible for CFLs and LEDs (2)

hnangelo (1098127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317740)

Looks like you last tried CFLs more than 10 years ago

Re:Light output is terrible for CFLs and LEDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317784)

You should buy better LED bulbs then, not the cheap ones. LED bulbs come in warm varieties now. I have one which cannot be distinguished from an incandescent lightbulb in terms of color, power and speed. It's a Philips but I forgot the model.

I hate all CFL that I currently have though. Even the expensive "quick start" ones take several seconds to reach full brightness. Seems like a step back to me. LED are the future, not CFL.

Re:Pointless fight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317686)

They'd better get a heck of a lot more efficient, then.

They're already very efficient at outputting light, mind you. A CREE XM-L is a beautiful thing indeed. Only a small portion of the energy input is converted to heat output, leaving lots and lots of light when driven at its maximum (~10W).

The problem is that the bit of heat they do output tends to be concentrated at the emitter die and builds up very quickly as it's got nowhere to go. If there's one thing LEDs don't like, it's heat - they end up going in thermal runaway (draw more current, get even hotter, draw even more current, etc.)
Incandescents, halogen, etc. on the other hand.. they don't much care about heat as long as it's not hot enough to melt the glass.

So now you need control electronics and a heatsink. In fact, unless you can fit a fairly beefy heatsink, you'll need an active cooling solution. Yes, fans. Fans in your lightbulb.
( though at least people complaining about lack of heat from LED lights can warm themselves by the heatsink, I suppose. )

So now you've gone from a lighting solution that is certainly relatively inefficient at outputting light, but ridiculously cheap, to one that is very efficient in outputting light, but needs expensive bells and whistles attached to not self-destruct after running for more than 10 minutes.

Mind you, I'm typing this in a study room lit by two GU-10 halogen LED replacements that are passively cooled by a heatsink (3x1W emitter) and near's I can tell nothing at all (144 3mm white LEDs.. nice soft shadows), so they certainly have their place. But I wouldn't want to light a living room - let alone an office or commercial development area (e.g. grocery store) - with LED just yet.

I'm not sure what the plans are in the U.S., but in the EU, you can still use halogen instead of standard incandescent - which is still on the cheap side while being more efficient than incandescent, so that tends to be a better replacement option for such areas.

Other areas I'd say CFL tends to be the better option, supported by LED for instantaneous lighting needs (with automatic switch to CFL once it's reached proper output levels). Yeah, it's got mercury.. so try not to smash it and snort the fumes - dispose appropriately.. just like batteries and electronics.

When the government makes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317436)

incandescent light bulbs illegal, only criminals will have incandescent light bulbs.

Gives a new meaning to "keep your government out of my bedroom".

Clean Power (3, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317454)

I've found that unless you have nice clean power, CFLs don't last any longer than regular bulbs. Not everyone gets 60 Hz pure sine, 120V+-1% to their house. Older wiring, older part of town, etc. I rented an apartment that had me replacing CFLs once a month (until I realized it was the apartment and not a fluke and switched back). You still can't beat 4 bulbs for $.99.

Re:Clean Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317538)

You still can't beat 4 bulbs for $.99.

You're getting screwed. Here in the UK CFLs are 10p a pop, which is about 16 cents. Perhaps ironically, this is what they cost in a Walmart-owned supermarket chain...

Re:Clean Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317746)

You still can't beat 4 bulbs for $.99.

You're getting screwed. Here in the UK CFLs are 10p a pop, which is about 16 cents..

No, that's for (usually cheap Chinese) incandescents in the USA. CFLs usually run $1-$3 apiece. If you're getting them for 10p, they must be subsidized, because CFLs certainly cost significantly more to make than do incandescents.

(posting AC because I've moderated)

Re:Clean Power (0)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317564)

Moved into our place almost 4 years ago and started replacing incandescents with CFLs as they went out and haven't replaced a single CFL so far, including ones that I replaced the week we moved in and others that are in the unheated and uncooled garage (in the upper midwest). But of course, we can go anecdote to anecdote all day and not get anywhere, it's the bigger picture that matters. I suspect for the average consumer they are a net win cost wise, otherwise why would 71% of households be buying them?

Re:Clean Power (4, Insightful)

seanvaandering (604658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317614)

Exactly.... I live in an older apartment, and we seem to go through bulbs once every 2-3 months - not much I can do about it, except keep buying more bulbs - so it boils down to whatever is the cheapest option, wins.

On another note, CFLs annoy me to no end - we replaced one light with a CFL bulb, and when we turn it on, it actually takes time to "warm up". After 5 minutes, it's nice and bright, but when we first turn it on, it's dim... like a streetlight that's just turning on. Annoying as hell.

Re:Clean Power (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317800)

That's because you bought a cheap CFL from a big-box outlet. I have some of those in my house and they're annoying. But I also have modern CFLs which are (apparently) instantly on. Those cost me more, but they actually work.

Bye bye lightbulb... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317456)

...hello globe shaped lighted Edison screw socket heaters!

Too costly, contains mercury, not too reliable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317458)

CFLs have way too many problems, especially reliability in colder climates. Yes we're talking about indoor use, but in the winter I keep it around 21 celsius, not 30. I've had nearly half the CFLs I bought die within the first six months.

I'm looking for places to get LED bulbs insteads, CFL just isn't worth the trouble.

Is there any good LED bulbs brands/models that anyone recommends? Or recommends not buying?

Re:Too costly, contains mercury, not too reliable (1)

Daffy Duck (17350) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317576)

There are a handful of manufacturers out there (among them Philips), and the bulbs are way more efficient than incandescents in terms of lumens per watt. But a big problem with them is that they're just not that bright yet, The brightest ones you can buy are not quite as bright as a 60W incandescent.

Re:Too costly, contains mercury, not too reliable (1)

radl33t (900691) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317710)

I challenge your anecdote with my own. My winter time temps are 14C - 19C. Sometimes 22C for company. These are max temps located at the center of my home. I haven't replaced a CFL bulb yet. Most are the super, cheap harsh 9W ikea type. They are 4yr old.

CFLs are much good for heating (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317464)

Incandescent bulbs are widely used for heating. For example in bread proofing boxs, small animal tanks and lava lamps.

What exactly are we supposed to use now?

Re:CFLs are much good for heating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317618)

Incandescent bulbs are widely used for heating. For example in bread proofing boxs, small animal tanks and lava lamps.

What exactly are we supposed to use now?

Use the same bulbs you have now, as ones of those types are actually exempted.

Re:CFLs are much good for heating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317632)

Heat lamps, which are designed for the purpose and produce more infrared and less wasted visible light?

Re:CFLs are much good for heating (1)

Clsid (564627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317766)

You seriously believe that there won't be alternatives for specialized applications? Every single day somebody wakes up trying to make money by building something, so I'm pretty sure your needs will be covered in no time.

Re:CFLs are much good for heating (2)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317772)

A resistor? It is not a new technology, I have had a water warmer for 5 years, so resistors might have been in the market at least 10 years ago...

In fact, an incandescent bulb is just a resistor designed to give light, if you need warming better use the original thing (TM) and not waste any energy in unused photons...

Re:CFLs are much good for heating (3, Insightful)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317798)

Incandescent bulbs are widely used for heating. For example in bread proofing boxs, small animal tanks and lava lamps.

Yeah, because they are fuggin inefficient at lighting.

What exactly are we supposed to use now?

Use something that is more efficient at heating. If your only tool is a light bulb...

I agree with them (2)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317468)

Most energy efficient technologies are actually an economic net win. After an initial push the government doesn't need to be involved. I see the government involvement in this sort of thing as more a swift kick to the economy to push it out of a local minima, and that's how it should stay.

Re:I agree with them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317810)

Once the energy efficient bulbs are as good as the less efficient bulbs, I'll gladly buy them. Make a better product, and people won't care. The reason the government feels they have to force CFLs on people is because they suck. The light quality is horrible, they take forever to turn on, most don't work with dimmers and you need more lights to give equivalent brightness. If I have to use four bulbs to give the same light as one, the extra efficiency is lost. Not to mention I get headaches from CFLs. The flickering drives me nuts.

what's his gain? Lots (5, Insightful)

cratermoon (765155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317476)

Sen. Enzi has interests in utilities and natural gas and coal mining. Can't imagine why he'd care if people used less energy-efficient lightbulbs.

Re:what's his gain? Lots (2)

Mateorabi (108522) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317744)

Not only that, but over the lifetime of the CFL bulb doesn't the (extra) coal burnt to power the (hour equivalent) 3-4 incandecents release more mercury than was in the same CFL? And the CFL mercury only gets released if not disposed of properly.

Slippery (1, Insightful)

mdphdscddlitt (1990796) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317480)

Slippery slope. Today it's light bulbs, tomorrow it's thoughts.
I'd like the freedom to make bad decisions, please. Let me use inefficient light bulbs, drive around without a seat belt, and smoke cigarettes outside the office.

Re:Slippery (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317572)

"Slippery slope. Today it's light bulbs, tomorrow it's thoughts. "

That's their angle!!!

No more lightbulbs going on over your head when you get an idea!!!

Re:Slippery (2)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317642)

Only if you pay for all the unpriced externalities in your examples.

Re:Slippery (2)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317750)

I'd like the freedom to make bad decisions, please.

Your right to make bad decisions ends where you start screwing up my climate.

Don't disagree (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317482)

There's no reason to force people off of incandescents. If we can find more value in fluorescents we will. It does no good to save pennies a year on energy if we're paying dollars in quality of life. We'll all be using LED bulbs soon, anyway. Much easier to get the colors right there.

CFLs aren't 100% coverage yet (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317500)

By that, I mean there are still places they don't cheaply fill in for incadescents. Like dimming or being able to come to full brightness quickly (for closets, bathrooms, etc). At least, those're the problems I've had with the bulbs I put in about 4 years ago when I bought my house.

CFLs aren't that great (1)

sid crimson (46823) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317502)

I don't think I have had a CFL replace an incandescent bulb and last as long as the claim. Thankfully I get them at Costco who lets me trade them in for replacements.

Also, the light quality isn't that great.

Sure, they save some eletricity... but I'm not sure I am saving money.

Re:CFLs aren't that great (1)

Clsid (564627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317736)

You are saving money because they use less electricity. Get a Kill-a-watt device to see for yourself and multiply the number the device gives (after you convert it to kWH) with whatever they charge you for kWH.

The heat, I need it in the winter (3, Insightful)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317524)

here in the north the heat from the bulb is more than welcome.

bans are excessive and unnecessary. (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317536)

There are far better ways to promote specific technologies than to ban others. I know that many people will prefer the older tech, and forcing consumers is not a constitutional or even sensible way to achieve energy use goals. My mother is a water color artist, and is concerned with the ban because cfl and led lighting does not provide a natural reference for color like incandescents do. While she does penny pinch and has every light in her house as a cfl, she would like to use an incandescent while painting. She could plug in an electric heater and leave it on all day if she wants, so what's the point of banning the bulbs again???

Efficiency not technology (5, Insightful)

trainman (6872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317542)

And as this 2007 Slashdot story points out:

Governments should mandate efficiency standards, not technology. I'm a bit on the free-market side myself, let the best bulb win, but not with absolutely no ground rules for that fight. If government were to truly stand back and let the market decide everything, cost would almost always win out and we'd have a proliferation of coal power plants and inefficient gas cars lacking almost every kind of pollution control system.

Government's role is to set the standard, in this case, so many lumen per watt, or however they want to word it, and then let the industry innovate the best technology to meet that goal.

Re:Efficiency not technology (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317658)

Governments should mandate efficiency standards, not technology.

That is in fact what the US government did; it's just that the standards are set to the point that incandescents can't meet it. So we're stuck with shitty fluorescents and shitty LEDs (they're shitty for the same reason, the phosphors). I know Phillips was working on HIR capsules within a regular bulb envelope, but I haven't seen one for sale which meets the requirements (some are which do not).

The GE "advancement" was abandoned [] , though likely not before they got enough patents to prevent anyone else from following up on that path.

I despise agreeing with Enzi (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317544)

Enzi's an idiot, and his reasoning specious. ("Oh, no, Chinee right burbs!") But I agree with his goal.

Banning incandescents is unhelpful and unnecessary. There are places where they're the only solution. Not many, but a few.

As people install CFLs, demand for incandescents will fall, because they last for a years. (Except in those situations I mentioned in the past paragraph.) It would be nice to push people to do that just once, and finally get them over the "the color wash is slightly different from the one I grew up with so I hate it" excuse. I know I haven't bought a light bulb in years, and probably won't for some time.

Still, I don't like forcing people. While light bulbs are a contributor to climate change, they're not the biggest part. It was just an easy, visible one, leading to an easy, ham-handed attempt to force people rather than persuade them.

Mind you, if I'm right, we should already be seeing demand for incandescents fall, at least if not for the confounding factor of hoarders. (Many of whom are doing so because anything a liberal tells them is good must, by definition, be bad. Which is precisely what Mike Enzi has been telling them for years.)

Re:I despise agreeing with Enzi (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317678)

I think there is an argument for phasing out standard incandescents. For places where CFL won't be a good choice, small halogen bulbs in a glass envelope that fit into a standard fitting are a much better choice, with longer life and better light output. They also work with dimmers. My concern is that legislation in several countries will throw out the baby with the bathwater and ban the more efficient incandescents along with the outdated 40W / 60W non-halogen bulb.

Dim Bulbs (0)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317554)

You know what's awesome? The omnipresent, lurking dread that we're all going to die, or at least collapse as a civilization, because collectively we are too stupid to change. And not only are we too stupid to change, we're too stupid even to let people make us change for our own good. It might be global warming, it might be peak oil, it might be running out of fucking lithium for all I know. All I know is, we're clearly too stupid to change, and no matter what eventually dooms us, that'll be the root cause. ... []

Banned in the UK already (3, Interesting)

ranulf (182665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317584)

Well, they've already banned them here in the UK, starting with the 150W, 100W and now 60W are gone too. I think you can still buy 40W until next year, but I haven't seen them in the shops any more.

I stockpiled a load of 100W ones. The new bulbs have lots of advantages - cheaper to run, so ideal to leave on as a security light, last longer, etc, but although I've replaced about 75% of the lights in my house with CFLs, I absolutely had to stockpile the old ones. The reason? It's simple. CFLs give me a headache. I can't sit underneath one for more than about 10 minutes without getting a headache, so it's fine to have one in the bedroom or bathroom, and it's not too bad in the kitchen, but I'm in the lounge or my office I need a regular incandescent light. It's not a problem for everybody, but sufficient numbers of people are similarly affected that I think it's outrageous the government can legislate such stupid big brother dictats.

Then there's the fact that they're sold massively below cost to get them adopted. Here, you can often find them for less than 10p per bulb at retail, and nobody is yet really worrying about the environmental costs of disposal because people aren't really throwing them away in any numbers yet. This will be a major problem in a few years though.

Finally, the usual arguments that the old bulbs are less energy efficient is pretty much redundant. As I mostly use light bulbs during the winter evenings and for a short period on winter mornings, I'll have my heating on anyway. Who cares if 90W of the 100W bulb is emitted as heat - it's making my house warmer. There's even a company in Germany trying to get round the ban by selling "heating globes" that happen to emit light and happen to look exactly like an old lightbulb.

Re:Banned in the UK already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317786) still seems to be selling 60W and below. Better stockpile some.

Just reclassify it as a heating device (1)

BigFire (13822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317590)

Afterall, it's quit energy efficient to do that particular job.

Someone actually start importing it as heat ball.

if left alone (1)

lapsed (1610061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317596)

Even if people made rational economic decisions, the market price of electricity doesn't reflect its cost to society. The difference between the social cost of consuming power and the price individuals pay for electricity is huge. Utilities are (for the most part) regulated monopolies. Governments can't raise electricity prices because such a move would be economically unpopular. Instead governments have to keep prices artificially low and then find different ways of reducing consumption. There's no real market for power. But people don't make rational economic decisions. They subordinate long-term rewards for short-term savings.

Statalism and environment (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317608)

In the winter the old incandescent lamp has an efficiency nearing 100% because you use its heat too.
Why should anybody tell me to use CFL, harder to manufacture and dispose of and in this case less efficient?

A state wants to preserve environment? Then just factor in the environmental impact of stuff, and add it as tax or whatever. If using something hurts the environment make us pay in advance for the damage. It's a big paradigm shift, but the alternative of half assed measures or fake measures like carbon credits will just continue the current trend which isn't looking very good.
And if you care for people factor in the social impact of low wages. Then, with high prices for transport and country exploiting their people having their stuff taxed, we will have finally fair competition, and may the best win.

Expensive? (1)

heypete (60671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317628)

From the summary:

CFLs are more expensive

Really? Around here (Tucson, AZ USA) CFLs at Home Depot are less than a dollar each in four-packs (It was something like $3.60/4 bulbs.). I'm not sure if they're more expensive than incandescents (as I've not priced incandescents in years), but they're certainly inexpensive enough that any price difference is trivial.

All of mine have lasted for years, give off less heat (less AC needed in the summer), and produce satisfactory light for reading and everyday indoor tasks. I don't do indoor photography or anything that requires super-accurate color rendering, but I'm not noticing any deficiencies in the light with just my eyes. With modern ballasts, they don't flicker and reach full brightness within about 5 seconds.

Short of extreme environments (outdoor lighting in Montana, oven lamps, etc.) and specific purposes (e.g. photography lamps, completely sealed enclosures, garage door openers, security lighting), I don't really see a purpose for incandescent bulbs.

'Efficiency' is seasonally dependent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317630)

If you are using an electric heater in your house, then it doesn't matter if your light bulbs are radiating a lot of non-visible energy. Power is power, right? The light bulb is only less efficient than the heater if the heater is a pump that actually dumps cold air outside. And of course if you have a gas heater, that's more efficient than using gas to centrally generate then distribute electricity.

It seems to me that turning light's off when leaving a room doesn't make much sense in the winter either, except for extending the life of the bulbs.

Light Spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317638)

The thing I hate most about CFLs is how bad they make colours appear. They are especially bad for photography. Their spectrum is not continuous and has several spikes. This makes colours appear very unnatural and is practically impossible to fix a photo taken under CFLs. Incandescent bulbs have a continuous spectrum that makes colours more natural and is relatively easy to compensate for the yellow cast with white balance in photography.

Flicker & 'bad light' from CFL (1)

illumnatLA (820383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317646)

I'm a TV & Film editor by trade, so I easily notice sub-second motion and flicker. The flicker and the "bad color" of CFLs bugs the hell out of me. I can immediately notice when a room is lit by CFLs vs. good old incandescents.

I'm all for doing what we can to reduce power consumption, but for me CFLs are not a viable option. I have a hard time working around them. I haven't tried LED light bulbs yet due to them being relatively new on the market... maybe that will be a way to go, but I don't think the incandescent light should be banned wholesale.

Government is getting carried away with banning things. *reaches over for a ma huang herbal supplement and a clove cigarette* Oh... wait...

Maybe a added power consumption tax would be appropriate, but not an outright ban.

Very happy with LED but not so much with CFLs (2)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317682)

My first CFLs lasted about three years before giving up. Before then they progressively lose their strength and take time to get whatever brightness level they max out at. They are hard to find light that looks "right" as coated bulbs can do little to compensate. They also are horrid in out door situations (low life mainly) and any where vibration can get to them, think garages either in or near the openers.

So far my three LED lights are just awesome. Good light dispersion and instant on. I have not tried any where the bulb is mounted horizontal, I have a few fixtures in the ceiling like that, but they do work well in my ceiling fan light fixtures and in bathrooms where the lights are pointed down. Haven't found a replacement for the globe lights that frequent bathrooms, I might end up ditching the fixtures.

Incandescent bulbs still have better variety in spectrum but outside of that I can think of only a few specialized uses their secondary effect; heat; warrants keeping them. OK, cost is their major benefit - at least up front cost.

I am all for keeping them on the death list as I hope it kicks LEDs makers into high gear. We can hope that Wal Mart decides to get behind LED lights like they did for CFLs, they seemed almost responsible for their overnight abundance and price drop. Having made such a big push on those bulbs I hope to see the repeat.


Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317684)

Not even opinion.
LED lighting is an absolute joy, significantly less energy hungry, many MANY times smaller, last longer, and probably cheaper in some cases.
And more so now than previous times since we have much better diodes for producing more uniform light spectrums.

The only problem though is "heatballs", lightbulbs that are also used legitimately for:
Keeping some food warm in eateries.
Used in some artificial fireplaces for producing heat as well as light.
Keeping some types of animal areas lit and heated.
Decorative. (lava lamps)
Will there be replacements for these uses? Or are we going to get a mess of separate heating elements and LED lights?
I guess some research should be done to see if these heating elements+LED is more efficient than plain old incs.
If anything, they should change the light bulb socket standard and new bulbs to prevent incs being used for lighting. Then just sell them as heatballs.
Wrong? Yes, but incandescents are very wasteful for lighting, too much is lost as heat.

As for the future, improvements in quantum dots could lead to even better lighting, flexible lighting at that.

CFLs in Venezuela (2)

Clsid (564627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317700)

The issue with CFLs is not about choice but environmental and electricity generation issues. You are free to spend your money in whatever you like, but here in Venezuela the government created a replacement program where you would trade in your incandescent light bulbs and also get new CFL as long as you brought the damaged CFL, and it has been wildly successful. They replaced around 50 million light bulbs and saved 1750 MW of electricity. Fighting against a law like that is not about fighting for freedom of choice, it's just fighting for irresponsible behaviour.

What's the big deal? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317706)

Really, I'm not sure why people are so passionate about the matter. I've been gradually switching my fixtures over to CFLs anyways, I'm fine with going that route - especially now that dimmable CFLs are more readily available. And the "made in China" bit is a red herring; even the slashdot article that is linked to by that admits that virtually nobody makes any light bulbs of any sort in the US either way, hence you'll be lighting with Chinese-made bulbs no matter what route you select.

I can see the side of the argument that wants to see less government intervention, but at this point fighting legislation with more legislation seems like a waste of time and money.

The best product doesn't always win. (2)

kuzb (724081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317724)

He's assuming that the best product will win through market acceptance - but it's fairly common for sub-par products to beat out the "best" products due to various factors such as cost, and amount of advertising. Think about it - how else can you explain American domestic beer? People buy it by the boatload even though it's swill.

Bulbs for heating (1)

tylersoze (789256) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317728)

Well it can't be that difficult to get around the ban for devices that use the technology for heating by just making the devices emit in the infrared instead of visible light. Like say painting the bulb black for instance?

What about my Lava Lamp? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317782)

How the Hell will that work with a CFL? Thomas Edison had it right . . . he invented the light bulb, with Lava Lamps in mind. One smart inventor, he was .. ..

Lighting is about 2% of our energy consumption (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317806)

CFL vs LED vs incandescent is completely irrelevant on an energy conservation or greenhouse gas argument.

HEAT is the problem. We spend 60% of our energy creating or moving heat. Which is ironic because around 70% of the output of our power stations is "waste" heat which is normally dumped.

Space heating.
Water heating.
Air conditioning.

Cheap, high quality, high performance, easy to use insulators would make the single largest difference to world energy consumption after District Heating and Cooling are installed.

Think aerogels, but cheap and easy.

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