PAULWHEATON.COM 

Incandescent vs LED vs CFL Lightbulbs 

In this article on richsoil, Paul discusses  the reasons why CFLs are not worth their costs:

  • CFL bulb longevity
  • CFL manufacturers exaggerate brightness
  • CFL decrease in lumens over time
  • net CFL light per watt correction
  • CFL performs poorly for first two minutes
  • CFL performs poorly in the cold
  • CFL bulbs are toxic
  • CFL bulbs are toxic even when unbroken
  • CFL subsidy
  • there are far better ways to save electricity

The adventures of Mr. Stinkypants! Starting off with a career in light bulb engineering, Mr. Stinkypants finds out that he is not the only person trying to make a better light bulb. His career starts out with incandescent lights and later he moves to the world of fluorescent lights - or CFLs.

The story starts out with a re-creation of "the light bulb conspiracy" covered in about 60 seconds. But this topic is far better covered in the documentary "planned obsolescence" http://www.permies.com/t/8560/

Then the story pops into talking about the new fangled fluorescent light - CFL.

 This true story is about a thousand times richer than what I present here. This story skips past the CFL claims for lifespan, toxicicity and price. It does tell a story that I think most people don't know - the CFL is subsidized before you buy it so it appears to be much cheaper than it really is. Then it talks about the ban on the traditional incandescent light bulb. My article and my other videos convey my position that our energy problems are not going to be solved with light bulb choice. Frankly, focusing on heating will make a far bigger difference. In fact, in households where people might think that lightbulb choice could save energy, I think that household could save far more by learning to turn off the lights and far more still by developing a better heating strategy. My article does a much better job of exploring incandescent vs. fluorescent.

 Maybe someday my drawing skills will evolve to something resembling actual animation or a cartoon.

This video covers:

  • how the power company charges more to pay for "free" light bulbs 
  • the goal is fewer power plants 
  • a five dollar clothes line would save more
  • energy audits are lame 
  •  the longevity of light bulbs - tested  
  • situations of using a light for 30 seconds or less
  • the luminosity for the first 30 seconds
  • the amount of electricity to construct a light bulb
  • CFL subsidies in australia and the incandescent ban​
  • total energy cost of a CFL
  • CFL toxicity during construction, during use and after disposal
  • the 2008 data sheet from the EPA comparing mercury pollution
  • IQ Drop - impact on concentration
  • UV burns - catching on fire
  • epipleptic siezures
  • cataracts
  • cancer 

In this thread on permies, Paul compares CFL, LED, incandescent, and natural daylight with four metrics:

  • longevity
  • toxicity
  • energy savings
  • environmental impact

He concluded that while he still liked incandescent lightbulbs better:

I like the idea of off grid living where I am warm in a wofati.   Maybe there could be some passive solar heat and/or a rocket mass heater.  

I think that where I will work during winter nights would have an incandescent bulb powered by off-grid power.   And if I am going to read a book, I am going to have a reading lamp near the book that is incandescent.  But it is possible that I might use a 12v high quality LED - provided that I can look to the innards a bit and confirm that it has much less going on in there than most LED light bulbs.  I have some great LED flashlights and a couple of LED nightlights.  

I think LED has come a LONG ways in the last five years, and things are looking promising.  I am excited about what the future might bring.  I hope that we eliminate all light bulb subsidies so our future discussions can be a bit more direct.


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