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mike3
23rd January 2011, 04:44 PM
Hi.

That's the question. I saw this comment here:

http://comments.americanthinker.com/read/42323/750776.html


It occurred to me as I read this article that the curly-q bulbs are a bigger threat to the environment than just the mercury that they contain. Whereas a plain old incandescent is comprised of glass, brass, steel, tungsten and a little solder...and it is manufactured in one step, the CFL is comprised of more than forty components, including plastics, aluminum, glass, silicon, phosphorus, antimony, copper, lead, tin, solder, FR-4 PCB, and a host of other pre-manufactured materials. remember, the chubby base on each CFL conceals an electronic circuit that establishes the ionization inside the bulb. So, not only are there fabrication/energy costs associated with the entire CFL assembly, there are fabrication/energy costs associated with the up to thirty or so electronic components (depending upon the design) in the base: capacitors, transformers, semiconductors, resistors, wire, printed wiring boards, plastic housings, etc. I wager that there is significant additional energy costs in producing a CFL over the simple incandescent bulb. As such, is the CFL really saving anything beyond it's lower energy consumption? If a genuine, honest accounting is done, I doubt it.

Another feel-good boondoggle brought to you by Congress and the US government.


Is this true: CFLs are less green than "regular" bulbs? Even when the greater running fossil fuel consumption is factored in for the latter? Hmm. That is, is an environmental equivalent to the 6x greater running consumption for the latter also present in the former, once the "hidden" costs of materials, mining, etc. is factored in, or does it turn out that the reverse is true, or both are essentially equal, and the "up front" energy cost doesn't really mean much with regards to this? This looks to be a complicated problem involving a whole lot of bookkeeping. That is, is the TOTAL environmental cost (fossil fuel consumed over operating life + mining and refining materials + manufacturing process + transportation of everything) greater, less, or equal for CFLs as compared to incandescents?

ben m
23rd January 2011, 05:05 PM
Look at it this way. The energy cost of making a light bulb is included in the sticker price.

Suppose that the entire $2 cost of a (cheap) CFL is paying for electricity to manufacture the parts. No profit, no labor, etc.. At, say, $0.15/kWh, that's about 13 kWh. If it took more than 13 kWh of power to make a CFL, no one would sell them at the lowest end of the market.

Let's say this is a 15W bulb that replaces a 100W incandescent. That means it's saving the user 85W whenever it's on. After it's been on for 150 hours, it has saved the user 13 kWh and paid off its manufacturing-energy.

No contest---even if my numbers are wrong by a factor of a few. (What does power cost in China these days?) Yeah, a CFL base has lots of different parts, but they're tiny tiny things (resistors, diodes, etc) with tiny embodied energies.

Ziggurat
23rd January 2011, 05:28 PM
Look at it this way. The energy cost of making a light bulb is included in the sticker price.

Indeed. Total cost is a pretty good way to estimate the environmental impact of commodity products.

mike3
23rd January 2011, 06:41 PM
Indeed. Total cost is a pretty good way to estimate the environmental impact of commodity products.

Isn't it interesting to notice how these kinds of posts don't seem to have any citations and numbers at all?

Furcifer
23rd January 2011, 06:52 PM
Indeed. Total cost is a pretty good way to estimate the environmental impact of commodity products.

Is it? Plastic bags are pretty cheap. A kilogram of mercury is about $10.

I'm not sure is it's a good measure or not. Plastic in particular is widely used, cheap and can have relatively little impact when it's recycled, but huge impacts when it isn't.

Ziggurat
23rd January 2011, 06:53 PM
Isn't it interesting to notice how these kinds of posts don't seem to have any citations and numbers at all?

Yes, it's interesting to notice how your original post has no numbers at all.

Seriously, what's controversial about my claim? The logic is pretty self-evident. If you still don't get it, I can explain it to you. Is that what you need? If you disagree with it, would you care to inform us of the basis of this disagreement?

Ziggurat
23rd January 2011, 06:57 PM
Is it? Plastic bags are pretty cheap. A kilogram of mercury is about $10.

And legal disposal of that kilogram of mercury? How much does that cost? And what's the environmental impact with proper disposal?

I'm not sure is it's a good measure or not. Plastic in particular is widely used, cheap and can have relatively little impact when it's recycled, but huge impacts when it isn't.

You mean not only when it isn't recycled, but when it's not even put in a landfill. Well, yes. But then the environmental impact isn't from the manufacture and use of the product, it's from its improper disposal. Which is, generally speaking, not legal. At least here in the US.

Furcifer
23rd January 2011, 07:03 PM
Yeah, a CFL base has lots of different parts, but they're tiny tiny things (resistors, diodes, etc) with tiny embodied energies.

But don't they use a lot of cheap industrial chemicals making capacitors and diodes and other electronic components? Like acids and heavy metals, even poisons.

Furcifer
23rd January 2011, 07:10 PM
And legal disposal of that kilogram of mercury? How much does that cost? And what's the environmental impact with proper disposal?

I think this is why they say there are hidden dangers. The manufacturing process reduces the concentration but also spreads it around. I'm not sure if it always breaks down in the environment.


You mean not only when it isn't recycled, but when it's not even put in a landfill. Well, yes. But then the environmental impact isn't from the manufacture and use of the product, it's from its improper disposal. Which is, generally speaking, not legal. At least here in the US.

True, and in an ideal world it would all be recycled. It reality though it isn't.

I'm always hesitant of claims that something does or doesn't have environmental impact. They tend to limit themselves to things like percentage content of x and known effects of y. They never seem to fully include the manufacture, transport, use and disposal of a product.

BenBurch
23rd January 2011, 07:10 PM
A Kg of Mercury is actually about $20, just to set that straight.

mike3
23rd January 2011, 07:16 PM
Yes, it's interesting to notice how your original post has no numbers at all.

Seriously, what's controversial about my claim? The logic is pretty self-evident. If you still don't get it, I can explain it to you. Is that what you need? If you disagree with it, would you care to inform us of the basis of this disagreement?

Um, I was not talking about your claim, I was talking about the thing I quoted in my original post, which itself was a post on a website. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

mike3
23rd January 2011, 07:17 PM
I think this is why they say there are hidden dangers. The manufacturing process reduces the concentration but also spreads it around. I'm not sure if it always breaks down in the environment.



True, and in an ideal world it would all be recycled. It reality though it isn't.

I'm always hesitant of claims that something does or doesn't have environmental impact. They tend to limit themselves to things like percentage content of x and known effects of y. They never seem to fully include the manufacture, transport, use and disposal of a product.

So what would such a total impact analysis say about this? Would the total impact (everything: manufacture, transport, use, disposal, and energy consumed during all these phases) for CFL be greater or less than incandescent, or equal?

BenBurch
23rd January 2011, 07:27 PM
Short answer; yes, they are green;

http://www.rmi.org/cms/Download.aspx?id=1364&file=C08-02s_CFLLCA_FinalShort_080401.pdf&title=Digging+Deep%3A+Are+CFLs+Really+Green%3F

Furcifer
23rd January 2011, 07:28 PM
So what would such a total impact analysis say about this? Would the total impact (everything: manufacture, transport, use, disposal, and energy consumed during all these phases) for CFL be greater or less than incandescent, or equal?

I've looked before for other products and never seen a fully impact study. They usually limit themselves to things like major components and lifetime energy usage.

I'd be surprised if CFL's had significantly less environmental impact over their lifetimes given the number of components and the complexity of their manufacture. Factories in general cause environmental impact, and more parts mean more factories.

LTC8K6
23rd January 2011, 08:31 PM
I hate CFLs, but if you are going to buy them and want to be "greener" look for the RoHS label.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restriction_of_Hazardous_Substances_Directive

ben m
23rd January 2011, 08:53 PM
But don't they use a lot of cheap industrial chemicals making capacitors and diodes and other electronic components? Like acids and heavy metals, even poisons.

No; cheap capacitors contain acids and whatnot which are only harmful in the sense of "you can't spill the concentrated stuff in your eyes"---boric acid, acetic acid, ethylene glycol---but that break down harmlessly in soil. Diodes are basically silicon. The interconnects are aluminum.

There's a good chance that the solder is made of lead---it's banned in Europe, so obviously one can get along without it, but it's cheaper than the alternatives so my guess is that US CFLs have it---but that and the mercury in the tube are basically the only toxins found in CFLs.

But seriously, switching a 100W bulb to a 15W bulb is a huge energy savings. Huge, huge, huge. How huge? Running a 100W incandescent bulb for a year (in the US) requires some power plant somewhere to burn almost 1000 lbs of coal. 1000lbs of coal contains:


a gram of mercury
about 100 grams of arsenic
1-100 grams of lead


http://energy.er.usgs.gov/health_environment/mercury/mercury_coal.html

Using a CFL cuts that by 85%. If CFL electronics were made out of solid arsenic, wired together with pure lead, they'd still be less toxic than incandescents.

Plastic? We're talking about 100 grams of plastic. 100 grams of plastic maybe requires 200-300 grams of fossil fuels to manufacture. Running an incandescent bulb for a year requires 500,000 grams of fossil fuels. It's not even close.

(If you feel guilty about the plastic, buy your CFLs and make up for it somewhere else---switch to reusable shopping and lunch bags, avoid single-serving packaged snacks, etc.)

technoextreme
23rd January 2011, 08:54 PM
No; cheap capacitors contain acids and whatnot which are only harmful in the sense of "you can't spill the concentrated stuff in your eyes"---boric acid, acetic acid, ethylene glycol---but that break down harmlessly in soil.

Ooo god a sign of someone who isn't an electrical engineer and the hasty generalization fallacy. Not every single cheap capacitor is like this. And if it is you *********** bought a piece of crap.
EDIT:
Also, I don't think those capacitors would actually work in this case. Its hard for me to say because I'd need to look at the schematic for an electrical ballast.

ben m
23rd January 2011, 09:06 PM
I'd be surprised if CFL's had significantly less environmental impact over their lifetimes given the number of components and the complexity of their manufacture. Factories in general cause environmental impact, and more parts mean more factories.

Your surprise is misplaced. "Small components" means that one factory makes a lot of them. A discrete-semiconductor-component factory can spit out literally trillions of diodes a year, and the whole world's CFL industry only buys up billions. In a case like this, "lots of parts" means "a handful of extra UPS truckloads", and "a couple of extra purchase orders at Vishay"---it does NOT mean "a wasteland of new factories making little parts".

Power plants and coal mines cause much, much worse environmental impact than any factory I can think of. More incandescents means more coal mines and more power plants, on a very large scale. More CFLs means a handful of extra truckloads of components shuffling around Asia. Take your pick.

ben m
23rd January 2011, 09:19 PM
Is it? Plastic bags are pretty cheap. A kilogram of mercury is about $10.

I'm not sure is it's a good measure or not. Plastic in particular is widely used, cheap and can have relatively little impact when it's recycled, but huge impacts when it isn't.

It's a great measure of the energy cost. My little box of 100 sandwich bags costs about the same as one gallon of gasoline; therefore we conclude that this box did not eat up two gallons of gas in manufacturing. See?

On the mercury side, we can conclude that it requires less than ~3.3 gallons of gas to mine, smelt, and purify 1 kg of mercury. Yeah, we can't use that to balance whether 1kg mercury is on the whole safer, or more dangerous, than 3.3 gallons of gas. You know why not? Because that's apples and oranges---it's incomparable. 1kg of mercury sulfate dropped into a salt mine is "better" than 3 gallons of gas spilled into Devil's Hole, Death Valley. 1kg of methyl mercury dumped in Georgian Bay is worse than 3 gallons of gas burned cleanly.

Furcifer
23rd January 2011, 10:20 PM
Power plants and coal mines cause much, much worse environmental impact than any factory I can think of.

You're just not thinking very critically.

You probably aren't aware of all the chemicals that go into producing goods. I worked at a factory that made hydrofluoric acid. Most of it went to making florescent light bulbs coincidentally.

I cleaned up the contaminated grease under the drier. Full chemical suit, the whole 9 yards. Every couple of days I filled a blue plastic barrel, the 55 gallon ones, that had to be sealed then put into a containment area for disposal.

Each day around the world there are hundreds of plants like this producing chemicals that go into just about everything we use in our daily lives.

I've also worked at power plants and they don't come close to producing the same toxic chemicals, although the amounts of unseen CO2 are astounding. None the less they don't have anywhere near the same environmental programs for obvious reasons. I'm not saying CO2 doesn't have environmental impact, it does, it's just that it's relatively benign.

Waste water treatment, pulp mills, steel mills, refineries, manufacturing facilities all have much more stringent environmental regulation because they a much greater impact on the environment.

Here's a list of industrial disasters:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_industrial_disasters

The Bhopal disaster is still listed as the World's worst industrial disaster, and it wasn't a power plant.

Furcifer
23rd January 2011, 10:27 PM
It's a great measure of the energy cost. My little box of 100 sandwich bags costs about the same as one gallon of gasoline; therefore we conclude that this box did not eat up two gallons of gas in manufacturing. See?

Energy cost is a small component of environmental impact.

So what if it only costs the equivalent of a gallon of gas to make an ounce of chlorine gas. That doesn't reduce the environmental impact of the chlorine gas. You'll find most toxic chemicals cost less than gasoline.

Earthborn
23rd January 2011, 11:06 PM
Indeed. Total cost is a pretty good way to estimate the environmental impact of commodity products.No, it isn't. There is no reason to assume all environmental impact is included in the price. If the manufacture of a product produces a some toxic waste, a version of it may be cheaper if it is produced in a country with little environmental protection and where the waste is simply dumped. A version for which the waste is properly disposed of may be more expensive, but also more environmentally friendly.

Ziggurat
23rd January 2011, 11:45 PM
No, it isn't. There is no reason to assume all environmental impact is included in the price. If the manufacture of a product produces a some toxic waste, a version of it may be cheaper if it is produced in a country with little environmental protection and where the waste is simply dumped. A version for which the waste is properly disposed of may be more expensive, but also more environmentally friendly.

It's not a perfect proxy, and I never claimed it was. But most commodities don't face the sort of environmental discrepancy between brands that you describe. In fact, if you're paying more for "cleaner" but otherwise equivalent production, then I wouldn't even describe it as a commodity product but as a niche product. For commodities, their environmental impact is generally determined largely by how much resources are consumed in their production and use. And that is very much included in the price.

DC
24th January 2011, 12:34 AM
nm

Furcifer
24th January 2011, 12:53 AM
For commodities, their environmental impact is generally determined largely by how much resources are consumed in their production and use. And that is very much included in the price.

I know what you're saying but I'm not sure how well it translates to light bulbs. As Earthborn mentioned, in this growing global economy cheap labour is falling into second place with poor environmental practices as the main reason to do business overseas. The "nastiness" usually comes in making the components, not necessarily assembling them, so the "made in the USA" logo doesn't ensure environmental practices were adhered to in making the product.

Ivor the Engineer
24th January 2011, 01:22 AM
What people are talking about are called negative externalities (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality#Negative), which as 3BP has just said, are one of the reasons companies in the rich developed countries have stuff manufactured in China. We can pretend the environmental and human costs don't exist when it's the environment of a country thousands of miles away and other poor people who are paying with their health.

Is it better for Chinese people to die early from diseases associated with heavy metal poisoning or malnourishment?

Furcifer
24th January 2011, 02:00 AM
Is it better for Chinese people to die early from diseases associated with heavy metal poisoning or malnourishment?

Environmentally? The latter.

Thanks for the link, I never knew there was a specific definition for these impacts.

mike3
24th January 2011, 03:07 AM
You're just not thinking very critically.

You probably aren't aware of all the chemicals that go into producing goods. I worked at a factory that made hydrofluoric acid. Most of it went to making florescent light bulbs coincidentally.

I cleaned up the contaminated grease under the drier. Full chemical suit, the whole 9 yards. Every couple of days I filled a blue plastic barrel, the 55 gallon ones, that had to be sealed then put into a containment area for disposal.

Each day around the world there are hundreds of plants like this producing chemicals that go into just about everything we use in our daily lives.

I've also worked at power plants and they don't come close to producing the same toxic chemicals, although the amounts of unseen CO2 are astounding. None the less they don't have anywhere near the same environmental programs for obvious reasons. I'm not saying CO2 doesn't have environmental impact, it does, it's just that it's relatively benign.

Waste water treatment, pulp mills, steel mills, refineries, manufacturing facilities all have much more stringent environmental regulation because they a much greater impact on the environment.

So, would _you_ say that the fossil fuel use difference over the running lifetime does not appreciably alter the overall ecological impact, due to the much worse effects of that stuff impacting?

However, if these chemicals are disposed of in a controlled manner (though in China, things might differ), wouldn't this then considerably blunt the impact due to them, and so the running fossil fuel use thing then becomes important, as that does discharge into the atmosphere on a continuous basis?

Here's a list of industrial disasters:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_industrial_disasters

The Bhopal disaster is still listed as the World's worst industrial disaster, and it wasn't a power plant.

However, disasters are a sporadic event. I'm talking about continuous effects from production, use, and disposal of product.

Furcifer
24th January 2011, 04:16 AM
So, would _you_ say that the fossil fuel use difference over the running lifetime does not appreciably alter the overall ecological impact, due to the much worse effects of that stuff impacting?

I know they save money. I think however the environmental impacts are a lot less clear than they claim. The studies I've seen all take coal and convert it to electricity to9 make claims they are "greener". Not all electricity comes from coal, so I suspect some bias as soon as I see that. Then they overlook the things like the chemicals that go into making the plastics, and gases, the paints and the ceramics. A lot of these chemicals have known lasting effects from their toxicity. And producing these chemicals also creates CO2. CO2 is a pollutant, but the effects to the environment aren't as clear as mercury or lead. At least not presently.

Given all of this I'm skeptical of the claim they are "greener". Why not just stick the facts: they cost less.


However, if these chemicals are disposed of in a controlled manner (though in China, things might differ), wouldn't this then considerably blunt the impact due to them, and so the running fossil fuel use thing then becomes important, as that does discharge into the atmosphere on a continuous basis?

Yes, but that seems to ignore toxicity and toxicity creates serious environmental hazard.


However, disasters are a sporadic event. I'm talking about continuous effects from production, use, and disposal of product.

The production of light bulbs and all the parts and chemicals associated with making them is continuous as well.

BenBurch
24th January 2011, 05:07 AM
...

Is it better for Chinese people to die early from diseases associated with heavy metal poisoning or malnourishment?

Of course not, but their government will find some other creative way to kill them all if we stop buying their cheap junk.

Ziggurat
24th January 2011, 05:47 AM
The studies I've seen all take coal and convert it to electricity to9 make claims they are "greener".

It's either coal or natural gas. That's where our marginal electricity generation comes from, and that's what counts when you're talking about making a difference.

Steve001
24th January 2011, 06:27 AM
What people are talking about are called negative externalities (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality#Negative), which as 3BP has just said, are one of the reasons companies in the rich developed countries have stuff manufactured in China. We can pretend the environmental and human costs don't exist when it's the environment of a country thousands of miles away and other poor people who are paying with their health.

Is it better for Chinese people to die early from diseases associated with heavy metal poisoning or malnourishment?

It's more then that. China purposely devalues their currency making it attractively cheaper to the US too have products made there.
China all by itself does a very good job of self polluting its own environment do to very lax governmental controls. That's what I hear knowledgeable people say about China

Steve001
24th January 2011, 06:48 AM
I wonder how much environmental impact LED lighting has during the manufacturing process ?

ben m
24th January 2011, 07:53 AM
Energy cost is a small component of environmental impact.

So what if it only costs the equivalent of a gallon of gas to make an ounce of chlorine gas. That doesn't reduce the environmental impact of the chlorine gas. You'll find most toxic chemicals cost less than gasoline.

(Can you think of an actual chemical, other than water and water-with-tiny-amount-of-stuff-dissolved-in-it, that's cheaper than gasoline? I can't.)

But: sure, the environmental impact of a product is both its net-energy-cost and its net-other-pollution cost. To get the first, you do an energy budget. Retail price is an upper bound. Done.

To get the net-other-pollution cost, you look at the components. CFLs contain a tiny array of analog electronic components; we know ahead of time that they're fairly environmentally benign (a bit of lead for non-ROHS compliant bulbs); plus a glass envelope and a screw base (not too different than an incandescent); plus a few mg of mercury (certainly worth worrying about). Done.

That takes care of the manufacturing, then you think about the operations. The incandescent causes the mining, washing, transport, burning, and fly ash disposal of 1000 lbs of coal per year. (Pro-rate for the fraction of time the average bulb is turned on.) The CFL causes likewise for 150 lbs.

Again: it's no contest. The worst things you can imagine about an unregulated, lead- and PCB-dumping CFL manufacturer ... well, they're still better than the known facts about those coal mines.

ben m
24th January 2011, 08:10 AM
Ooo god a sign of someone who isn't an electrical engineer and the hasty generalization fallacy. Not every single cheap capacitor is like this. And if it is you *********** bought a piece of crap.
EDIT:
Also, I don't think those capacitors would actually work in this case. Its hard for me to say because I'd need to look at the schematic for an electrical ballast.

Found a photo.

http://www.eetimes.com/design/power-management-design/4010360/How-compact-fluorescent-lamps-work-and-how-to-dim-them

I see two big electrolytics---I presume they're filtering the mains. Then there's a blue package I associate with ceramic and a dark red one I associate with film. Could be wrong.

technoextreme
24th January 2011, 10:26 AM
Found a photo.

http://www.eetimes.com/design/power-management-design/4010360/How-compact-fluorescent-lamps-work-and-how-to-dim-them

I see two big electrolytics---I presume they're filtering the mains. Then there's a blue package I associate with ceramic and a dark red one I associate with film. Could be wrong.
Wait what??? Thats an incredibly stupid design.

I've also worked at power plants and they don't come close to producing the same toxic chemicals, although the amounts of unseen CO2 are astounding. None the less they don't have anywhere near the same environmental programs for obvious reasons. I'm not saying CO2 doesn't have environmental impact, it does, it's just that it's relatively benign.

Uhhh... Power plants produce plenty of toxic chemicals. They just unleash them into the air which means the laws that you nothing about don't actually apply.

ben m
24th January 2011, 10:34 AM
I wonder how much environmental impact LED lighting has during the manufacturing process ?

http://www.ledsmagazine.com/news/7/3/12

Basically the same answer. Yes, there's an upfront cost to make high-tech components; which is worth the huge energy savings over the device's lifetimes.

technoextreme
24th January 2011, 10:36 AM
Each day around the world there are hundreds of plants like this producing chemicals that go into just about everything we use in our daily lives.

No there aren't. You just picked the most ridiculously stupid example that your mind could think of to try and prove a point.

Ivor the Engineer
24th January 2011, 10:44 AM
Wait what??? Thats an incredibly stupid design.

<snip>

What is "incredibly stupid" about the design?

Earthborn
24th January 2011, 11:09 AM
It's not a perfect proxy, and I never claimed it was.I think there is a subtle difference between "imperfect" and "utterly wrong". It would only work if manufacturers pay for the full environmental damage that they do. That's not the case, and may even be impossible as a lot of environmental resources have no monetary value.

For commodities, their environmental impact is generally determined largely by how much resources are consumed in their production and use. And that is very much included in the price.I don't think that is the major part of their environmental impact. A large part of the environmental impact -- that I already mentioned but which you seem to ignore -- is what sort of waste is produced during manufacture, and more importantly what happens to that waste. Disposing of it in an environmentally friendly way is often a lot more expensive than dumping it, which may make products with a high impact cheaper.

drkitten
24th January 2011, 11:11 AM
I think there is a subtle difference between "imperfect" and "utterly wrong". It would only work if manufacturers pay for the full environmental damage that they do.

So it wouldn't work if manufacturers paid for 99% of the environmental damage that they do?

There is indeed a subtle difference between "imperfect" and "utterly wrong." Retail price is an "imperfect" measure of environmental impact; any claim that it's "utterly wrong" is, itself, "utterly wrong."

Earthborn
24th January 2011, 11:20 AM
So it wouldn't work if manufacturers paid for 99% of the environmental damage that they do?I guess it would work if it was possible to assign a monetary value on the environmental resources, but doesn't seem to be the case. That remaining 1% might be extremely important.

Retail price is an "imperfect" measure of environmental impact; any claim that it's "utterly wrong" is, itself, "utterly wrong."No, it isn't. There is no reason to assume retail price and environmental impact are in any way related.

Ziggurat
24th January 2011, 11:43 AM
No, it isn't. There is no reason to assume retail price and environmental impact are in any way related.

Except for the fact that retail price for commodities is directly correlated to the amount of resources consumed in its production, and the consumption of resources (and their price) is ultimately a reflection of the energy required.

Is the correlation perfect? No. Is it zero? Hell no.

blutoski
24th January 2011, 11:45 AM
Again: it's no contest. The worst things you can imagine about an unregulated, lead- and PCB-dumping CFL manufacturer ... well, they're still better than the known facts about those coal mines.

This suggests that the specific benefits of CFL over incandescent may depend on the consumer's power source.

For example, here in Vancouver, power comes from an undercapacity hydroelectric dam. The environmental impact is a sunken externality, so the comparison is largely dependent on features of the manufacturing process.

BenBurch
24th January 2011, 11:53 AM
Still, given what coal does to the environment, we have a winner...

Ziggurat
24th January 2011, 11:56 AM
This suggests that the specific benefits of CFL over incandescent may depend on the consumer's power source.

For example, here in Vancouver, power comes from an undercapacity hydroelectric dam.

That is a rather exceptional condition. Very few places on earth use hydroelectric energy as a marginal source of electricity.

Soapy Sam
24th January 2011, 12:06 PM
(Snip)There is no reason to assume retail price and environmental impact are in any way related.(/snip)


Especially where a cartel (manufacturing or political) is not only pushing one product but actually banning the manufacture and sale of a rival.
It is now extremely difficult to buy 100W tungsten bulbs in Britain and 60W will go. This is the most egregious example of business and government in cahoots to sell the public a product it doesn't want that I ever saw.

I've commented elsewhere on my dislike of CFLs and won't ride that hobbyhorse further,save to point out that the principal use of domestic electricity in northern Europe is for heating and that if I don't run bright tungsten or halogen lights which also put out a lot of heat, then I'm very likely to turn up my heating to compensate.
If this is a common response, then the entire energy efficiency argument for CFLs falls apart.

ben m
24th January 2011, 12:13 PM
This suggests that the specific benefits of CFL over incandescent may depend on the consumer's power source.

For example, here in Vancouver, power comes from an undercapacity hydroelectric dam. The environmental impact is a sunken externality, so the comparison is largely dependent on features of the manufacturing process.

Partially true. (This is one of the things that makes environmental advice hard.) First off, BC Hydro has fossil-fuel generators for peak demand, just like practically everyone else.

The other thing is that you should treat electricity as fungible. To the extent that grids are interconnected, it's fungible in the normal sense of the word---if a user in Vancouver turns off the lights, there's more power available to transmit down to San Francisco. (Of course, grids are not yet that interconnected ... )

Secondly, there's the more subtle point that large electricity users can move around. Imagine Vancouver's residential lighting switches to all-CFL; since the hydro capacity is already there, Vancouver will have a power surplus. Google, or Akamai, or Alcoa, or another heavy electricity user, will pick up their coal-powered West Virginia operation and relocate it to Vancouver. That's the same fossil fuel savings as you would get in the "ideal" fungible case where there was just a cable running from Vancouver to WV.

(And of course there's a complication. Don't Vancouverites have to heat their homes most of the year? Using hydropower to run an incandescent light bulb is, believe it or not, a really green way to do that. :) And it also saves the milligram of mercury in the CFLs. At least until we have continent-wide transmission lines. Nothing is simple!)

patrick767
24th January 2011, 12:20 PM
Is this true: CFLs are less green than "regular" bulbs? Even when the greater running fossil fuel consumption is factored in for the latter? Hmm. That is, is an environmental equivalent to the 6x greater running consumption for the latter also present in the former, once the "hidden" costs of materials, mining, etc. is factored in, or does it turn out that the reverse is true, or both are essentially equal, and the "up front" energy cost doesn't really mean much with regards to this? This looks to be a complicated problem involving a whole lot of bookkeeping. That is, is the TOTAL environmental cost (fossil fuel consumed over operating life + mining and refining materials + manufacturing process + transportation of everything) greater, less, or equal for CFLs as compared to incandescents?

Some random guy posted on a message forum that "As such, is the CFL really saving anything beyond it's lower energy consumption? If a genuine, honest accounting is done, I doubt it." He then declares CFLs a gov't boondoggle. He offers absolutely no data to back up his assertions. No citations. Nothing. So why are his claims worth discussing?

On a related note, as I know that american thinker is a very right wing website, I'll never understand why some on the right are vehemently opposed to anything and everything remotely related to environmentalism. This guy strikes me as a prime example of someone who immediately concludes that if something is said to be good for the environment, it must be a load of bull courtesy of the government, money grubbing "environmentalists", or (insert other boogieman here). He offers no facts and for him, none are needed.

patrick767
24th January 2011, 12:22 PM
I've commented elsewhere on my dislike of CFLs and won't ride that hobbyhorse further,save to point out that the principal use of domestic electricity in northern Europe is for heating and that if I don't run bright tungsten or halogen lights which also put out a lot of heat, then I'm very likely to turn up my heating to compensate.
If this is a common response, then the entire energy efficiency argument for CFLs falls apart.

I'm skeptical that tungsten/halogen lights can compare to the efficiency of a decent furnace in heating a house. Do you have any evidence for that?

Ziggurat
24th January 2011, 12:22 PM
I've commented elsewhere on my dislike of CFLs and won't ride that hobbyhorse further,save to point out that the principal use of domestic electricity in northern Europe is for heating and that if I don't run bright tungsten or halogen lights which also put out a lot of heat, then I'm very likely to turn up my heating to compensate.

There's a solution: heatballs. They're small heating devices which use a current passing through a resistive element to produce heat. They can be conveniently placed throughout your house, because they fit into ordinary light sockets. They're quite efficient heaters too, since they convert about 95% of the electric energy they consume into heat. As a side effect, they also give off waste light.

Oh, and they look just like light bulbs too. But they aren't light bulbs, they are heaters.
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE69E4EM20101015

Ziggurat
24th January 2011, 12:24 PM
I'm skeptical that tungsten/halogen lights can compare to the efficiency of a decent furnace in heating a house. Do you have any evidence for that?

A gas furnace is going to be more efficient than electric lights. But if your furnace is electric, and not a heat pump, then the efficiencies will be quite similar.

Ivor the Engineer
24th January 2011, 12:25 PM
<snip>

...save to point out that the principal use of domestic electricity in northern Europe is for heating and that if I don't run bright tungsten or halogen lights which also put out a lot of heat, then I'm very likely to turn up my heating to compensate.

All year round? Why would you turn up your heating? Don't you mean the heating will be on for slightly longer to bring the room to the same temperature without the extra heating from incandescent bulbs?

If this is a common response, then the entire energy efficiency argument for CFLs falls apart.

I'm not so sure. Burning coal or gas to produce heat to generate steam to turn a generator to feed a step-up transformer to transmit accross miles of power cables to feed a step-down transformer to feed your house and to finally power a bulb to heat (and light!) your home sounds potentially less efficient than supplying gas to feed your boiler to heat water to pump round radiators and heat your home.

Mikemcc
24th January 2011, 01:16 PM
Tungsten filament bulbs also use noxious chemicals in their manufacture. For instance, the filament is wound around a former that is then dissolved with hydrofluoric acid.

Ziggurat
24th January 2011, 01:32 PM
I'm not so sure. Burning coal or gas to produce heat to generate steam to turn a generator to feed a step-up transformer to transmit accross miles of power cables to feed a step-down transformer to feed your house and to finally power a bulb to heat (and light!) your home sounds potentially less efficient than supplying gas to feed your boiler to heat water to pump round radiators and heat your home.

That's assuming he's got a gas furnace. Plenty of residences don't, but have to rely on electric heating. In which case, a bulb is as good as a furnace.

Soapy Sam
24th January 2011, 01:44 PM
I'm skeptical that tungsten/halogen lights can compare to the efficiency of a decent furnace in heating a house. Do you have any evidence for that?

I'm not claiming anything of that sort, just that if your primary power use is for heating your heat and light cost should be considered together when assessing efficiency.

Claiming efficiency savings on lighting in isolation is worthless if using cold lights simply means people turn up the heating.
ETA - My flat is entirely electric. No gas, oil, windmills. I live at 56 deg north. It's dark a lot, cold a lot.
I don't claim my comments apply to different circumstances.

BenBurch
24th January 2011, 02:00 PM
Tungsten filament bulbs also use noxious chemicals in their manufacture. For instance, the filament is wound around a former that is then dissolved with hydrofluoric acid.

And having worked with it, HF is fun stuff!

In my youth I used to try to figure out how to make a hydrogen - fluorine rocket motor that would not dissolve itself during it's operating cycle. It's not really possible.

Soapy Sam
24th January 2011, 02:07 PM
And having worked with it, HF is fun stuff!

In my youth I used to try to figure out how to make a hydrogen - fluorine rocket motor that would not dissolve itself during it's operating cycle. It's not really possible.

I certainly wouldn't want to be anywhere near one at launch!

Furcifer
24th January 2011, 03:51 PM
Uhhh... Power plants produce plenty of toxic chemicals. They just unleash them into the air which means the laws that you nothing about don't actually apply.

Just in your mind.

Natural gas burns very clean. Your car leaks and emits more toxic chemicals than "power plants" emit. The real toxic chemicals are actually in the cooling towers not the stacks. The other environmental issue would be thermal pollution.
Hydro-electric, solar, wind turbines and nuclear, which make up a bulk of the other 56%. They emit very few toxic chemicals as well.

If you want to prove something is "green" you compare it with coal. Coal is extremely dirty.

Furcifer
24th January 2011, 04:29 PM
(Can you think of an actual chemical, other than water and water-with-tiny-amount-of-stuff-dissolved-in-it, that's cheaper than gasoline? I can't.)


Acetone, naptha, calcium hydroxide, calcium oxide, chlorine, formaldehyde, methanol, potassium hydroxide, sodium carbonate, sodium chloride (hehe), sodium hydroxide, sodium sulphate, sulphur, 98% sulphuric acid, 96% sulphuric acid.

I don't know about other chemical compounds. These are just some examples of raw chemicals that are cheaper. Not all of them are toxic obviously, but what happens when they are mixed or processed?

I think there are quite a few industrial chemicals that are cheaper than gasoline and potential harmful to the environment.

excaza
24th January 2011, 04:52 PM
There's a solution: heatballs. They're small heating devices which use a current passing through a resistive element to produce heat. They can be conveniently placed throughout your house, because they fit into ordinary light sockets. They're quite efficient heaters too, since they convert about 95% of the electric energy they consume into heat. As a side effect, they also give off waste light.

Oh, and they look just like light bulbs too. But they aren't light bulbs, they are heaters.
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE69E4EM20101015

Wonder how many heads this will fly over.

ben m
24th January 2011, 05:03 PM
If you want to prove something is "green" you compare it with coal. Coal is extremely dirty.

Unfortunately coal is about 50% of US power, and 70% of China's, and 70% of India's. It's the right thing to compare it to. Except for specific locations with weird energy supplies (Vancouver, Iceland, France) or specific times (on peak on Manhattan in summertime) the majority of the energy you save by unplugging an incandescent bulb is coal energy. Why the heck would you compare it to anything else?

And I do not consider the CO2 to be "clean". It's the single pollutant I'm most worried about. A factory that cheats on its heavy metal disposal, or an improperly capped dump---well, except in edge cases (Minimata Bay, Onondaga Lake) what you have is a localized Superfund site---someday you spend a small fortune remediating the soil. A factory's worth of incandescent bulbs spewing CO2 into the atmosphere---well, it's there, it contributes proportionally to global warming everywhere, and there's utterly nothing anyone can do about it.

So: if you insist that it's unfair to compare things to coal---the factor of 2 is important, we should compare things to 50-50 coal and gas---then I likewise insist that you stop comparing things to Bhopal, a perfectly preventable disaster at a low-tech pesticide factory. If you want to concoct a fair comparison (as fair as "50% coal 50% gas") for the dangers of CFLs, maybe this would be a fair comparison:


The National Semiconductor Corporation (National Semiconductor) manufactures electronic equipment at this 50-acre site. Underground storage tanks, sumps, and pipes are the suspected sources for contaminated groundwater and soil. Since 1982, National Semiconductor has closed its leaking tanks, instituted a groundwater pump and treat system, and removed contaminated soil from selected areas of the facility. The contaminants of concern are primarily chlorinated organic solvents, which, along with other nearby National Priority List (NPL) sites, have contaminated a common groundwater area. Although these nearby sites are listed separately on the NPL, the cleanup activities at some of the sites are being coordinated as part of an area-wide cleanup approach. Approximately 300,000 people live within 3 miles of the site and depend on groundwater as a source of drinking water.

The 2003 Five-Year Review stated that a vapor intrusion evaluation is needed.

The third Five-Year Review for the site was completed in September 2008.


or maybe this


The CTS Printex Superfund Site comprises a number of properties and is situated in the northwest corner of the Santa Clara Valley between the south end of San Francisco Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains in the City of Mountain View, California. CTS Printex operated a printed circuit board manufacturing facility within a 5-acre portion of the area bounded by Plymouth, Colony, and Sierra Vista Streets from 1970 to early 1985. Metals and degreasing compounds (e.g., organic solvents) were discharged to soil and groundwater during CTS Printexs manufacturing operations. Investigation and remediation, including soil excavation and groundwater extraction, were undertaken by CTS Corporation and Nearon Enterprises between 1985 and 1996.


That's the sort of thing that could happen, sometimes, if electronics manufacturing ramps up in countries with weak environmental laws. Making parts sold to non-ROHS countries. In large quantities. It's bad stuff, and we should prevent it as much as possible, but it's not "OH NOES we're all gonna die unless we throw the polar bears under the bus right now!!!!"

And I dispute that it'll happen much at all. The computer I'm typing this on contains more discrete components than all the CFLs I'll ever buy in my life, put together.

ben m
24th January 2011, 05:10 PM
Acetone, naptha, calcium hydroxide, calcium oxide, chlorine, formaldehyde, methanol, potassium hydroxide, sodium carbonate, sodium chloride (hehe), sodium hydroxide, sodium sulphate, sulphur, 98% sulphuric acid, 96% sulphuric acid.


My numbers put acetone, naptha, chlorine, methanol, and formaldehyde more expensive than gasoline. Sulfuric acid might be close.

The others are all rocks.

Furcifer
24th January 2011, 05:29 PM
Why the heck would you compare it to anything else?

You wouldn't, you would average it out over the industry. Unless you were being dishonest. (it looks like the one study also didn't average out the mercury content. it varies from 0mg to something like 12mg in the US because of the lax environmental law)


And I do not consider the CO2 to be "clean". It's the single pollutant I'm most worried about.

Yes I know, your bias shows. I'm more worried about the pollution other countries subject themselves to in pursuit of the all mighty greenback. Saving the planet from GW is kind of pointless if we pollute the soil and ground water in the process.


So: if you insist that it's unfair to compare things to coal---the factor of 2 is important, we should compare things to 50-50 coal and gas---then I likewise insist that you stop comparing things to Bhopal, a perfectly preventable disaster at a low-tech pesticide factory. If you want to concoct a fair comparison (as fair as "50% coal 50% gas") for the dangers of CFLs, maybe this would be a fair comparison:

No because the electricity is specifically produced in the US (and Canada), these chemicals are produced all around the world.


And I dispute that it'll happen much at all. The computer I'm typing this on contains more discrete components than all the CFLs I'll ever buy in my life, put together.

Actually the disposal of computers is becoming a huge environmental problem. The solution? Put them in a shipping container and ship them to India so they can poison their land and people instead. Nice double whammy there!

Furcifer
24th January 2011, 05:37 PM
My numbers put acetone, naptha, chlorine, methanol, and formaldehyde more expensive than gasoline. Sulfuric acid might be close.

The others are all rocks.

Have your people call my people. :)

Are you using crude prices? I don't see how you think the price of gasoline is relevant given the fact that it's so heavily taxed anyways? While the price of chemicals is somewhat the same around the world, the price of gas varies considerably country to country.

Or are you using diesel because it's the primary fuel used in the transport of goods around the World?

I'm still not convinced the price of fuel has anything to do with environmental impact of a product.

Furcifer
24th January 2011, 05:46 PM
Wonder how many heads this will fly over.

It's a good point though. All of the studies consider it waste heat. I'm not sure what percentage is actually waste heat over the bulbs lifetime. It might be as low as 75%.

ETA: A study done in 1987 found that electricity usage went up 8% when half the town switched to CFL's. Apparently people are less inclined to conserve when it's cheap. I'm sure the mentality towards conservation has changed since then, but it does suggest the benefits of switching to CFL's are as easy as calculating kWh.

I mentioned once before the psychological impacts are under estimated. I have yet to find a CFL that doesn't make you look like a veiny purple/green monster. :D

BenBurch
24th January 2011, 06:26 PM
I certainly wouldn't want to be anywhere near one at launch!

True, but a Saturn V would have been only as large as an Atlas 1 if powered by such an engine.

CapelDodger
24th January 2011, 07:30 PM
Yes I know, your bias shows.

Yor state of denial over AGW is blatant.

I'm more worried about the pollution other countries subject themselves to in pursuit of the all mighty greenback.

You're no more worried about that than you are about da little children who won't live because they're denied electricity by global action on AGW. (Your choice of Bjorn Lomborg as role-model in debate is sorely misguided, in my opinion.)

Saving the planet from GW is kind of pointless if we pollute the soil and ground water in the process.

There is global warming, but there isn't global soil or global groundwater. As long as yours is OK, why worry?

No because the electricity is specifically produced in the US (and Canada), these chemicals are produced all around the world.

Which includes the US and Canada, and Europe. Major chemical producers and exporters.

Actually the disposal of computers is becoming a huge environmental problem. The solution? Put them in a shipping container and ship them to India so they can poison their land and people instead. Nice double whammy there!

Or to East Africa, or Taiwan, or China, or (big favourite in recent decades) the Horn of Africa. Or Texas.

You and I know about it because the practice has been exposed by green activists, who are no doubt intent on destroying industrial society by demonising computers. Worrying thought, isn't it?

CapelDodger
24th January 2011, 07:45 PM
It's a good point though. All of the studies consider it waste heat. I'm not sure what percentage is actually waste heat over the bulbs lifetime. It might be as low as 75%.

Did you read that somewhere?

ETA: A study done in 1987 found that electricity usage went up 8% when half the town switched to CFL's.

Did you read that somewhere in 1987?

Apparently people are less inclined to conserve when it's cheap.

So they turn on more lights because they're cheap? Doesn't make sense now, and certainly didn't in 1987, when half which town turned to CFL's?

I'm sure the mentality towards conservation has changed since then, but it does suggest the benefits of switching to CFL's are[n't] as easy as calculating kWh.

Finding them to be a disbenefit is way less easy.

I mentioned once before the psychological impacts are under estimated. I have yet to find a CFL that doesn't make you look like a veiny purple/green monster. :D

Oh dear ...

Furcifer
24th January 2011, 08:20 PM
Did you read that somewhere?

Didn't have to. My superior intellect was able to determine that none of the studies offset the heat from light bulbs by a reduction in HVAC. Pretty smart eh?


Did you read that somewhere in 1987?

In 1987 I was reading Transworld magazine looking for a new deck and Spin. What a silly question.


So they turn on more lights because they're cheap? Doesn't make sense now, and certainly didn't in 1987, when half which town turned to CFL's?

I think they probably just left them on instead off shutting them off. I don't have many lights, but I've caught myself not worrying about turning them off because they're CFL's.

Furcifer
24th January 2011, 08:25 PM
Yor state of denial over AGW is blatant.

I don't deny AGW. That's just a pathetic lie and a strawman.

Your posts are intellectually dishonest or outright lies. Don't be a hater.

Earthborn
24th January 2011, 10:15 PM
Except for the fact that retail price for commodities is directly correlated to the amount of resources consumed in its production, and the consumption of resources (and their price) is ultimately a reflection of the energy required.Resources consumed and energy required do not equal environmental impact.

Is the correlation perfect? No. Is it zero? Hell no.There is no reason to assume that it measurably higher than zero.

BenBurch
25th January 2011, 06:10 AM
...
Oh dear ...

Yeah, when you cannot make an intellectual argument, try convincing people that something makes you ugly.

He has obviously never seen tungsten color-temperature CFLs. At a trade show I saw a demo with a color test chart (the kodak one) and a CFL and a tungsten bulb with matched outputs. They cycled one on, and then the other, and you could not tell the difference.

Ziggurat
25th January 2011, 08:59 AM
Resources consumed and energy required do not equal environmental impact.

At a minimum they're a rather major component of environmental impact.

There is no reason to assume that it measurably higher than zero.

Yes there is.

Delvo
25th January 2011, 09:11 AM
He has obviously never seen tungsten color-temperature CFLs.Tungsten filaments make a horribly yellow light. CFLs come much closer to the natural, balanced white of sunlight outside. Why would anybody want to take superior technology and make it imitate one of the problems with its more primitive predecessors?

BenBurch
25th January 2011, 09:13 AM
Tungsten filaments make a horribly yellow light. CFLs come much closer to the natural, balanced white of sunlight outside. Why would anybody want to take superior technology and make it imitate one of the problems with its more primitive predecessors?

Because it is what they are habituated to. Some people consider 2700 K soft-white light to be more "flattering."

Ziggurat
25th January 2011, 09:35 AM
Tungsten filaments make a horribly yellow light. CFLs come much closer to the natural, balanced white of sunlight outside.

They can come closer to the "color temperature" of sunlight. But most CFL's have very uneven spectra, which can make color reproduction worse than tungsten filaments. Our eyes can adapt to the overall color temperature shift of incandescents pretty easily by simple decreasing the red sensitivity, but the effect of the unevenness in CFL spectra can't be adapted to. Some people don't mind the difference (I'm among them, my house is almost 100% CFL), but it's definitely real. I remember opening a can of tomato paste once and thinking it had gone bad because it showed up as a noticeably darker red (even compared to the red in the can label) under the recently-installed CFL's. So it's not accurate to claim that CFL's are a completely superior technology when they really aren't superior by every metric, but only by some.

ben m
25th January 2011, 10:28 AM
Resources consumed and energy required do not equal environmental impact.


I see. So CFLs demonstrably save energy---lots and lots of it---for a net benefit in CO2. But you feel entitled to ignore that. When you consider that the power they save is 50% coal, CFLs demonstrably result in lower mercury, lead, cadmium, etc.. emissions. But you feel entitled to ignore that too! Because it's doesn't "equal environmental impact" precisely enough!

When you try to look at point-source pollution, you seem to be asking for a detailed accounting of the actual, individual factories making the CFLs, and all of their suppliers, etc., because you can imagine that their point-source pollution is so bad that it outweighs all the energy- and resource-extraction benefits put together. Never mind that there's no data supporting this---since it's a possibility, it means you can ignore all the actual data!

This is a standard method of environmental policymaking. It is called "flatly ignoring the data with the excuse that you can imagine future data that would negate it" "delaying any decision pending further study"

Earthborn
25th January 2011, 11:31 AM
Yes there is.I like to see your evidence. With "environmental impact" being exceedingly difficult to measure, and depending on many environmental factors, it seem to be highly questionable that it can be represented as a single number, and even more unlikely that manufacturers who often don't bother estimating the environmental impact of their products manage to represent it in the price. If price even marginally reflects environmental impact, then there would be a whole lot of ecologists interested in that fact.

It seems to me though that there is no way the price of something can reflect in any way the damage done during production to freely available commons, the damage the product might do after its sale, or the damage it might do at the end of its working life.

I see. So CFLs demonstrably save energy---lots and lots of it---for a net benefit in CO2. But you feel entitled to ignore that.It would help if you read what I was responding to. I was questioning Ziggurat's claim that environmental impact can be assessed by looking at the price of a product. According to him, the cheaper something is, the lower the environmental impact is likely to be.

You are right though; I don't use any CFLs in my home.

I replaced them all with even more efficient LED lights. Which for some reason, despite Ziggurat's claim that "cheaper=greener" cost quite a bit more than incandescent bulbs.

Earthborn
25th January 2011, 11:42 AM
Why would anybody want to take superior technology and make it imitate one of the problems with its more primitive predecessors?Fun fact: when Edison decided to develop the incandescent light bulb, he specifically wanted it to imitate candle light (except for the flickering). It sometimes seems that for every new invention to be successful, it first has to go through a transition period in which it just imitates what came before it.

ben m
25th January 2011, 12:15 PM
It would help if you read what I was responding to. I was questioning Ziggurat's claim that environmental impact can be assessed by looking at the price of a product. According to him, the cheaper something is, the lower the environmental impact is likely to be.


Read what he (and I) said, again, more carefully.

The embodied energy cost is a floor under which the retail price cannot fall. Therefore, the lowest retail prices are a ceiling above which the energy cost cannot rise.

Let's repeat the calculation again. A (new) refrigerator costs between $500 and $2000. We're looking at the price floor, so it's $500---not $2000. Using gasoline as a common currency, manufacturing a fridge cannot require more than ~ $500/$3 = 150 gallons of gas equivalent in power. Or 5000 kWh of electricity at $0.1/kWh. Or whatever.

Therefore, manufacturing a refrigerator costs between 0 and 5000 kWh. And I (IIRC) the true number is in the middle of that range.

Let's do it with the LED and CFL. The floor on their prices is $10 and $1 respectively. Therefore the ceiling on their embodied cost is 100 kWh and 10 kWh respectively. Therefore LEDs embody somewhere between 0 and 100 kWh, and CFLs embody somewhere between 0 and 10 kWh.

For CFLs, that ceiling is enough to tell you (crude though it is) that the operating energy savings outweigh the manufacturing energy costs. Which is why I brought it up to begin with.

For LEDs, it looks like this ceiling is insufficient information to learn whether the operating savings outweigh the manufacturing costs. (In fact they do.)

Good for you on the LED lighting. At the moment, the savings difference between LED and CFL does not seem to justify my throwing out working CFL bulbs to install LEDs. But I'll be thinking about it the next time one burns out.

Soapy Sam
25th January 2011, 12:18 PM
They can come closer to the "color temperature" of sunlight. But most CFL's have very uneven spectra, which can make color reproduction worse than tungsten filaments. Our eyes can adapt to the overall color temperature shift of incandescents pretty easily by simple decreasing the red sensitivity, but the effect of the unevenness in CFL spectra can't be adapted to. Some people don't mind the difference (I'm among them, my house is almost 100% CFL), but it's definitely real. I remember opening a can of tomato paste once and thinking it had gone bad because it showed up as a noticeably darker red (even compared to the red in the can label) under the recently-installed CFL's. So it's not accurate to claim that CFL's are a completely superior technology when they really aren't superior by every metric, but only by some.

Indeed.
CFLs not only vary (for the same model) between manufacturers and between batches (though QA has improved in the last 2-3 years) , but each bulb also varies over time.
A tungsten bulb either worked or it blew. CFLs degrade over a far shorter time that the quoted lifetimes, which are themselves often vague in meaning.
I use CFLs on a shared apartment stair. These lights have no switches. They are never off. They burn 24/7.
Not only do they consistently fail well within the theoretical burn times on the packaging, they will drop to as little as one quarter of their original illumination levels within about 4 months. (Checked using light meters).

I'm not saying they have no useful application, but I do say the claims on the cartons are unrealistic, both for the equivalent illumination level with filament bulbs and in the claimed lifetimes. I'd also advise anyone who uses electric heating to look very carefully at their total power consumption, not just lighting.

Another aspect of that is that it may be you can cut power use far more by cutting back on heat loss through insulation or by reducing the amount of power used to heat water.

Ziggurat
25th January 2011, 12:26 PM
I like to see your evidence. With "environmental impact" being exceedingly difficult to measure, and depending on many environmental factors, it seem to be highly questionable that it can be represented as a single number, and even more unlikely that manufacturers who often don't bother estimating the environmental impact of their products manage to represent it in the price. If price even marginally reflects environmental impact, then there would be a whole lot of ecologists interested in that fact.

What, you think this is actually news? It isn't, not to anyone paying any attention. Not that it even matters to ecologists, since they study ecology, not consumer preferences.

But let me make it as simple as possible for you as I can. The cost of the production of commodity products comes largely from the energy required to make them. That includes the energy required to extract and process the raw materials, not just final assembly. Energy usage has an environmental impact, both in terms of CO2 output and even pollution. Quite a bit of pollution comes directly from the energy usage in the various stages of production. Cost is therefore a VERY GOOD proxy for the environmental impact from the energy usage of production.

Now, are there other environmental impacts from production? Sure. And those may not be reflected in the cost. But here's the thing: when I look at two different commodity products sitting on a shelf, and they have different prices, I don't know what those other environmental costs are. But I DO know that the one which costs more almost definitely had a larger energy requirement to manufacture, and so produced more pollution from that energy consumption. So my calculation goes like this. The total environmental cost of product 1 is A, and the total environmental cost of product 2 is B. We have A = X + Y, where X is the energy cost and Y is any other costs. We have B = W + Z, where W is the energy cost and Z is any other cost. I don't know Y and Z, but I know that X > W.

You're claiming that I know nothing about the relationship between A and B. But that's simply not true. It's precisely because I do NOT know anything about Y and Z that I can treat them as essentially random variables, and conclude that A > B is more likely. Will there be exceptions? Of course. I never claimed otherwise. But is there a correlation between environmental impact and price?

Hell yes.

It seems to me though that there is no way the price of something can reflect in any way the damage done during production to freely available commons

Sure it can. Energy consumption produces pollution. Energy consumption is directly related to price, because it's the ultimate limiting factor on the price of commodity goods. A more costly commodity product probably required more energy to produce, and so it created more pollution through the consumption of energy. The connection is blindly obvious.

the damage the product might do after its sale

In the case of something like a lightbulb, what damage is it going to do during its use?

Oh, that's right: it will consume energy. Which we can measure, rather conveniently, in terms of the cost of use.

or the damage it might do at the end of its working life.

If you dispose of it properly, that's pretty much zero. Except for the energy required to do this proper disposal. Which is reflected in... the cost of disposal!

Which is why the lifetime cost of the product, and not simply the purchase price, is the relevant metric. Which I have already stated explicitly, but which you seem to be ignoring for some inexplicable reason.

I replaced them all with even more efficient LED lights. Which for some reason, despite Ziggurat's claim that "cheaper=greener" cost quite a bit more than incandescent bulbs.

The purchase price is higher. But that's not the relevant price, unless you're just going to throw it away, in which case LED bulbs are indeed inferior to incandescents on an environmental impact metric. How does the lifetime cost compare?

Do you even know?

blutoski
25th January 2011, 12:35 PM
ETA: A study done in 1987 found that electricity usage went up 8% when half the town switched to CFL's. Apparently people are less inclined to conserve when it's cheap. I'm sure the mentality towards conservation has changed since then, but it does suggest the benefits of switching to CFL's are as easy as calculating kWh.

I really need to see a citation before I accept the conclusions you describe.

I suspect there's only post hoc connection between conversion to CFLs and power use. What were the controls? What is the typical fluctuation from year to year? &c.

I'm old enough to remember CFLs circa 1987. I find it hard to believe 'half the town' could have switched their lighting for trying in 1987.

(or was this a municipal project - street lighting and public buildings were converted and the citizens became more wasteful in their homes?)





I mentioned once before the psychological impacts are under estimated. I have yet to find a CFL that doesn't make you look like a veiny purple/green monster. :D

I've found plenty of excellent products.

I get cool white for utility rooms and warmer colours for living spaces. The last holdout was stairwells, but I've been able to obtain some of those new instant-on models. I think all my lights are either CFLs or LEDs at this point, with the one exception being the oven interior light.

Related: my wife does research with illumination as a treatment for mood disorders, and the superior products all use CFLs as light source.

Ziggurat
25th January 2011, 12:45 PM
I suspect there's only post hoc connection between conversion to CFLs and power use.

Although the details matter quite a bit and it's entirely possible that the increase was unrelated, it wouldn't be shocked if it was. Increases in efficiency very often lead to increase in consumption. If cookies cost $100 each, how many would you buy? I wouldn't buy any. But at $0.05 each, I might buy quite a few. So I would spend a lot more money on 5 cent cookies than I would on $100 cookies. If the cost of lighting drops significantly, then the places and times people decide to use it might expand quite a lot too, maybe even enough to increase total consumption. Obviously I don't know if that happened in this case, but it's possible.

Soapy Sam
25th January 2011, 12:47 PM
I've found plenty of excellent products.

I get cool white for utility rooms and warmer colours for living spaces. The last holdout was stairwells, but I've been able to obtain some of those new instant-on models. I think all my lights are either CFLs or LEDs at this point, with the one exception being the oven interior light.

Related: my wife does research with illumination as a treatment for mood disorders, and the superior products all use CFLs as light source.

That last really surprises me. I find the low initial light they give rather depressing and I've heard many people complain about the same issue.

I did for a time replace a 60W filament with an 11W CFL in my hallway, but it annoyed me so much I threw it out and replaced it with a 75W halogen.
This despite the fact the CFL was free. Truth is, there are areas where I'll economise and areas I won't. Decent quality lighting is in the non negotiable area.

Soapy Sam
25th January 2011, 12:59 PM
Although the details matter quite a bit and it's entirely possible that the increase was unrelated, it wouldn't be shocked if it was. Increases in efficiency very often lead to increase in consumption. If cookies cost $100 each, how many would you buy? I wouldn't buy any. But at $0.05 each, I might buy quite a few. So I would spend a lot more money on 5 cent cookies than I would on $100 cookies. If the cost of lighting drops significantly, then the places and times people decide to use it might expand quite a lot too, maybe even enough to increase total consumption. Obviously I don't know if that happened in this case, but it's possible.


This makes a lot of sense.

I spoke recently with an electrician who replaced a mix of tungstens and older fluorescents with CFLs in a number of public buildings over the last two years. He observed that in every case the number of fitments increased, often by over 100%. This was always justified by the purchasers on the grounds of power consumption savings alone. (eg 2 x 15W is less than half of 1 x 100W, so that's a saving).
In theory, the equivalent saved in power costs should have paid for the job in 2-3 years (as with my stair lights, these will mostly be permanently on)- but because the number of fittings was doubled, increasing labour costs as well as materials, he doubted they would see any saving within 5-6 years, by which time many of the fittings will need replaced. His view was that it was worth doing in new build, but not justifiable in replacing older fittings.
On the other hand, PM programs in large buildings - hospitals and the like- usually mandate replacement intervals for light bulbs. (It's not worth sending two guys out with a ladder to replace bulbs as they blow. They change the lot, good or bad). If CFLs increase the interval, it's a win. If they don't, the establishment risks throwing away much of their investment.



ETA Ziggurat- Does anyone really know the lifetime cost of either CFLs or LEDs?
Has either been around long enough to know?
And given the way commodity prices are bouncing...can we be sure any figures we do have will stay relevant?

Ziggurat
25th January 2011, 01:25 PM
ETA Ziggurat- Does anyone really know the lifetime cost of either CFLs or LEDs?

You can estimate the usage costs easily enough based on an expected lifetime and an expected electricity cost. Just multiply the lifetime by the power rating to get a total energy consumption of usage, then multiply by the cost/unit energy for electricity (preferred units are usually cents/kilowatt hour). Electricity rates are usually stable enough that that part of the equation isn't a problem, but the expected lifetime numbers that manufacturers provide may not be too reliable, particularly for early CFL's. Disposal of CFL's is usually free to consumers at places like Lowes (meaning the cost is probably included in the purchase price), so then just add this usage cost to the purchase price to get the lifetime cost.

Ziggurat
25th January 2011, 01:30 PM
That last really surprises me. I find the low initial light they give rather depressing and I've heard many people complain about the same issue.

With genuine seasonal affective disorder, whether or not things LOOK good isn't the problem, the problem seems to be an actual physical reaction with light which has some dependence on the frequency of light. So ugly white light is more effective than attractive yellow light. Being depressed because your surroundings are ugly is something very different, and light therapy isn't the solution, getting rid of your 70's decor is.

Soapy Sam
25th January 2011, 03:30 PM
The flat wasn't built until 1980.

And I repainted it in ...let me see...1990 something.

Seventies is tres retro anyway.

I really meant the tendency for the light to dim after an initial flare on switch-on.

I've heard a lot of grumbles about that and I know I find it really upsetting- though I'd say it angers rather than depresses me, to be honest.
I expect a light to come on bright and stay that way- as the technology of the last 50 years had led me to expect. A lamp that dims after being switched on just makes me want to throw it away.

Furcifer
25th January 2011, 03:52 PM
I really need to see a citation before I accept the conclusions you describe.

"In 1987 the town of Traer, Iowa handed out 18,000 free fluorescent bulbs to its residents in a demonstration project aimed at reducing power consumption, Kazman noted. Residential electricity use actually rose by 8 percent, because people used more lights and kept them on longer, once they realized their lighting was cheaper."

http://www.cflimpact.com/?p=566

Soapy Sam
25th January 2011, 04:12 PM
I'm intrigued by this business of handing CFLs out free.
There were similar large scale giveaways in the UK.
Who funded all this?
Who lobbied for the EC ban on filament bulbs rated over 60W?
If these things are so good, why do we need to have them shoved down our throats?

Ziggurat
25th January 2011, 04:16 PM
If these things are so good, why do we need to have them shoved down our throats?

Because you're wicked. And stupid.

Apparently.

I like CFL's because I like saving money, but I want the choice, and it offends me that politicians think they're justified in depriving me of that choice.

mike3
25th January 2011, 04:59 PM
So: if you insist that it's unfair to compare things to coal---the factor of 2 is important, we should compare things to 50-50 coal and gas---then I likewise insist that you stop comparing things to Bhopal, a perfectly preventable disaster at a low-tech pesticide factory. If you want to concoct a fair comparison (as fair as "50% coal 50% gas") for the dangers of CFLs, maybe this would be a fair comparison:

Isn't there also some X percent of oil and nuke in the US power supply as well (since you're using the 50% coal figure which looks to be like the US)?


That's the sort of thing that could happen, sometimes, if electronics manufacturing ramps up in countries with weak environmental laws. Making parts sold to non-ROHS countries. In large quantities. It's bad stuff, and we should prevent it as much as possible, but it's not "OH NOES we're all gonna die unless we throw the polar bears under the bus right now!!!!"


It seems that a good sense of scale is something a lot of people lack. Considering how many people don't grasp how big (or small, depending on the POV most appropriate for the situation) a million really is, for example.


And I dispute that it'll happen much at all. The computer I'm typing this on contains more discrete components than all the CFLs I'll ever buy in my life, put together.

Good point.

mike3
25th January 2011, 05:01 PM
Your posts are intellectually dishonest or outright lies. Don't be a hater.

Prove he's a "hater". How do you know that? Telepathy?

Malerin
25th January 2011, 05:20 PM
I really need to see a citation before I accept the conclusions you describe.

I suspect there's only post hoc connection between conversion to CFLs and power use. What were the controls? What is the typical fluctuation from year to year? &c.

I'm old enough to remember CFLs circa 1987. I find it hard to believe 'half the town' could have switched their lighting for trying in 1987.

(or was this a municipal project - street lighting and public buildings were converted and the citizens became more wasteful in their homes?)







I've found plenty of excellent products.

I get cool white for utility rooms and warmer colours for living spaces. The last holdout was stairwells, but I've been able to obtain some of those new instant-on models. I think all my lights are either CFLs or LEDs at this point, with the one exception being the oven interior light.

Related: my wife does research with illumination as a treatment for mood disorders, and the superior products all use CFLs as light source.

People with anxiety disorders hate fourescent lights.
http://www.healthcentral.com/anxiety/c/88918/43465/underappreciated

ben m
25th January 2011, 05:32 PM
If these things are so good, why do we need to have them shoved down our throats?

Two reasons.

The first reason is the same as the reason for auto emissions standards, municipal recycling laws, hazardous waste laws, anti-littering ordinances, etc. They're things that benefit society at large, but only if everyone does them. So you have to legislate to make them happen.

The first reason is the same as the reason for CAFE (auto fuel efficiency) standards, standard airbags, appliance efficiency standards, building codes, 911-GPS-in-phones, etc.. They're things that DO benefit the individual that does them, but in a nearly-invisible way that triggers specific consumer-psychology tricks that makes people not switch voluntarily. So you legislate away the trick.

(Actually, the light-bulb law I'd like to see is this one: every light bulb package is required to include a coupon for a year's worth of electricity. Thus the package you buy at the grocery store gets rung up for $11, but it includes a $1 incandescent bulb and a $10 coupon (or coupon code or whatever) that you can send in with your energy bill. Sitting right next to it is a $6 package that includes a $4 CFL and a $2 electric-coupon. That'd fix the consumer psychology. On the other hand, this is the sort of paperwork-creating regulation that I would probably get annoyed with and say "It'd be easier if you just banned incandescents already".)

Malerin
25th January 2011, 06:12 PM
Two reasons.

The first reason is the same as the reason for auto emissions standards, municipal recycling laws, hazardous waste laws, anti-littering ordinances, etc. They're things that benefit society at large, but only if everyone does them. So you have to legislate to make them happen.

The first reason is the same as the reason for CAFE (auto fuel efficiency) standards, standard airbags, appliance efficiency standards, building codes, 911-GPS-in-phones, etc.. They're things that DO benefit the individual that does them, but in a nearly-invisible way that triggers specific consumer-psychology tricks that makes people not switch voluntarily. So you legislate away the trick.

(Actually, the light-bulb law I'd like to see is this one: every light bulb package is required to include a coupon for a year's worth of electricity. Thus the package you buy at the grocery store gets rung up for $11, but it includes a $1 incandescent bulb and a $10 coupon (or coupon code or whatever) that you can send in with your energy bill. Sitting right next to it is a $6 package that includes a $4 CFL and a $2 electric-coupon. That'd fix the consumer psychology. On the other hand, this is the sort of paperwork-creating regulation that I would probably get annoyed with and say "It'd be easier if you just banned incandescents already".)

If it were that simple, consumers would simply pick the CFL's every time. They don't. There are other factors involved.

Furcifer
25th January 2011, 06:18 PM
Prove he's a "hater". How do you know that? Telepathy?

You believe in telepathy? Wrong forum. :boggled:

Furcifer
25th January 2011, 06:24 PM
Are any of these bulbs made in the US or Canada? From what I read the incandescent bulbs were. One more indication CFL's aren't as cheap or as environmentally friendly.

Not to mention the loss of jobs. I guess the homeless are more environmentally friendly anyways.

Ziggurat
25th January 2011, 07:51 PM
The first reason is the same as the reason for auto emissions standards, municipal recycling laws, hazardous waste laws, anti-littering ordinances, etc. They're things that benefit society at large, but only if everyone does them. So you have to legislate to make them happen.

But that's simply not true. First off, both society AND individuals can benefit even when only some people adopt CFL's. And second, CFL adoption has been accelerating even WITHOUT laws banning incandescents, precisely because they are cheaper over their lifetime. You can benefit from your own use of CFL's regardless of what anyone else does. So it really isn't like car emission standards at all.

Furthermore, given that people can change their consumption habits in response to cost changes, it's not even guaranteed that CFL adoption WILL reduce energy consumption. Which makes mandating it an especially heavy-handed tactic for very questionable gains, and quite a bit of justifiable resentment.

ben m
25th January 2011, 08:20 PM
Furthermore, given that people can change their consumption habits in response to cost changes, it's not even guaranteed that CFL adoption WILL reduce energy consumption. Which makes mandating it an especially heavy-handed tactic for very questionable gains, and quite a bit of justifiable resentment.

I understand; I don't think there's a slam-dunk case for this regulation. I think it's a minor fluctuation to the "overregulation" side of indifferent.

ApolloGnomon
25th January 2011, 09:02 PM
http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/energy/blogs/skirting-eu-law-the-rebranding-of-incandescent-bulbs-as-heat-balls

Skirting EU law: The rebranding of incandescent bulbs as 'Heat Balls'
A German businessman is getting around a law banning incandescent bulbs by selling them under a different name.

The funny thing about this is that incandescent bulbs are fairly efficient when they are used as heaters, throwing off around 95 percent of the energy they draw as heat. In colder climates, using the bulbs for lighting isn't always an inefficient choice as the bulbs add to the warmth of the home.

bit_pattern
26th January 2011, 01:03 AM
Fluorescents contain less mercury than would be produced by burning enough coal to power an incandescent lamp for its life span.

Ivor the Engineer
26th January 2011, 01:38 AM
If it were that simple, consumers would simply pick the CFL's every time. They don't. There are other factors involved.

Two others being ignorance and irrationality.

chulbert
26th January 2011, 08:42 AM
"In 1987 the town of Traer, Iowa handed out 18,000 free fluorescent bulbs to its residents in a demonstration project aimed at reducing power consumption, Kazman noted. Residential electricity use actually rose by 8 percent, because people used more lights and kept them on longer, once they realized their lighting was cheaper."

http://www.cflimpact.com/?p=566

How did this happen, though? Did homes completely convert to fluorescent bulbs? If so, that is a staggering increase in usage given that CFLs are three-to-five times more efficient. Or did homes only partially convert, overestimate the savings, and ended up running all their lighting for longer periods of time.

It's an important distinction to make. One means that in practical terms CFLs do not save energy at all, the other suggests that the savings are realized only when the conversion is near complete.

Soapy Sam
26th January 2011, 09:33 AM
(Actually, the light-bulb law I'd like to see is this one: every light bulb package is required to include a coupon for a year's worth of electricity. Thus the package you buy at the grocery store gets rung up for $11, but it includes a $1 incandescent bulb and a $10 coupon (or coupon code or whatever) that you can send in with your energy bill. Sitting right next to it is a $6 package that includes a $4 CFL and a $2 electric-coupon. That'd fix the consumer psychology. On the other hand, this is the sort of paperwork-creating regulation that I would probably get annoyed with and say "It'd be easier if you just banned incandescents already".)
Not sure if you're entirely serious there, but consider the case I quoted earlier- my own case. (And that of many other people who live in "all electric" housing. ) Say I choose to keep my flat at a given temperature (perhaps by a thermostat); if I use less hot lighting, my heating bill simply rises to compensate. The quantity of heat is unchanged.
How would your idea affect me, except to add the cost of posting the certificates, reversing the entire "Green no documents by mail" policy of my power supplier? And what about the elderly or learning disabled customer who would probably pay the surcharge and lose the refund certificate?

Soapy Sam
26th January 2011, 09:39 AM
How did this happen, though? Did homes completely convert to fluorescent bulbs? If so, that is a staggering increase in usage given that CFLs are three-to-five times more efficient. Or did homes only partially convert, overestimate the savings, and ended up running all their lighting for longer periods of time.

It's an important distinction to make. One means that in practical terms CFLs do not save energy at all, the other suggests that the savings are realized only when the conversion is near complete.

My guess.
Switch on a CFL and there is a brief bright flare, followed by a noticeable dimming. It takes several minutes for the bulb to reach and stabilise at full output.
Many "switch on" events involve someone entering a room briefly, doing something, then leaving. With a filament bulb that works fine. With a CFL it doesn't. Just when the light is required, it is at it's faintest. So people leave them on. I've personally seen many examples of this. People even buy them specifically so they can be left on- as in stairways.

Ivor the Engineer
26th January 2011, 09:50 AM
Re: Power usage of CFLs, it has to be remembered the power factor of a CFL is about 0.5.

Power factor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_factor) may be thought of how out of phase the current drawn by the load is compared to the voltage (though this is not the cause of the low power factor of CFLs, which is due to harmonic distortion of the current waveform caused by the input rectifier and smoothing capacitor). If there's a 90 deg. phase shift between current and voltage, the power factor is 0.

A CFL with a power factor of 0.5 and a power rating of 15W requires the generator to produce 30VA (VA stands for Volt-Amps).

Households are only charged for the 15W of power consumed, but the power companies have to generate and supply 30VA.

ben m
26th January 2011, 09:57 AM
A CFL with a power factor of 0.5 and a power rating of 15W requires the generator to produce 30VA (VA stands for Volt-Amps).

Households are only charged for the 15W of power consumed, but the power companies have to generate and supply 30VA.

... which only requires 15W mechanical power input to the generator.

Volt-amps is just "multiply RMS voltage by RMS current"; it doesn't correspond to power either at the source or at the load.

BenBurch
26th January 2011, 10:00 AM
More modern meters compensate for power factor, BTW.

Ivor the Engineer
26th January 2011, 10:07 AM
... which only requires 15W mechanical power input to the generator.

Volt-amps is just "multiply RMS voltage by RMS current"; it doesn't correspond to power either at the source or at the load.

It's a bit more complicated than that. The spiky currents introduce far higher losses in the transmission lines and other components of the electrical generation and distribution system, which have to be sized to handle them.

Ivor the Engineer
26th January 2011, 10:11 AM
More modern meters compensate for power factor, BTW.

Could you post a link?

How could a meter manage to do that for loads that are not always in the circuit?

Ziggurat
26th January 2011, 10:33 AM
... which only requires 15W mechanical power input to the generator.

But the generator and transmission infrastructure still need to handle the higher current loads. Whether or not you're using more power (and in fact you are, since transmission losses go up), the infrastructure requirements increase. And that has costs.

ben m
26th January 2011, 10:57 AM
But the generator and transmission infrastructure still need to handle the higher current loads. Whether or not you're using more power (and in fact you are, since transmission losses go up), the infrastructure requirements increase. And that has costs.

Do the transmission losses really scale as VA? Huh.

I would imagine that dimmer switches have the same problem.

I don't know much about how, where, etc., the utilities manage their waveforms. I always thought that the "lossy" part of the system was the long-distance, high-voltage power lines, and that the spiky/low-power-quality part of the system was the part between my house and the substation. But maybe I'm wrong.

I wonder if there'd be a market for "waveform fixing power". If you're a customer who just needs (say) low-quality AC for heating, you could put in a separate utility meter with a 60 Hz high-pass filter in front of it, and plug this into your big heating load. Your load helps the power company smooth out their (spiky) downstream loads, solving part of their transmission problem, and so they should give you a big discount on this separate meter. "I pay $0.15/kWh for 60Hz line power but only $0.05/kWh for up to 100kW of high-frequency noise power".

Ziggurat
26th January 2011, 12:18 PM
Do the transmission losses really scale as VA?

Electric power is IV. But the voltage drop in the lines is different from the voltage the generator supplies, so that's not so useful for figuring out transmission losses. Transmission losses will scale as I2 (since the voltage drop within the lines scales with current) regardless of what your total voltage is doing, so if you draw more current, you lose more energy in the transmission lines.

I don't know much about how, where, etc., the utilities manage their waveforms. I always thought that the "lossy" part of the system was the long-distance, high-voltage power lines, and that the spiky/low-power-quality part of the system was the part between my house and the substation. But maybe I'm wrong.

Both parts lose power. I'm not sure the exact breakdown, but I do know that if losses in the post-substation part of the grid are negligible compared to the backbone, then the power company is probably spending too much money on that part of the infrastructure. But the problem isn't simply noise. Even with zero noise, if your load has a large inductance or capacitance, then there's a phase difference between the current and the voltage. That requires a larger current draw to produce the same power, and hence an increase in transmission loss. Incandescent lights have a purely resistive load, but I think CFL's have an inductive load too.

blutoski
26th January 2011, 02:59 PM
"In 1987 the town of Traer, Iowa handed out 18,000 free fluorescent bulbs to its residents in a demonstration project aimed at reducing power consumption, Kazman noted. Residential electricity use actually rose by 8 percent, because people used more lights and kept them on longer, once they realized their lighting was cheaper."

http://www.cflimpact.com/?p=566

Oh, seriously, now. This is not a citation. It's hearsay.


did this even happen (this sounds like an urban legend?)
did the community actually install the free bulbs and use them?
was 8% increase outside normal variance? (ie: what if the community's usage fluctuates 15% from year to year with a long-term trend toward 1% annual growth?)
could the 8% increase be a universal baseline change (what happened to other similar communities that did not conduct this experiment - ie: what are the controls? what if other communities increased usage 10% that year?)
were confounding factors considered and rejected as possible causes (was it a hotter summer than the previous year and saw more air conditioner use? were people buying new electrical equipment - like computers in 1987 - because of a local market shift? Did the population go up 8% - population changed 3% last year, according to their city website - there's only 1500 people in the town so an 8% shift could simply be population bump)
are there other studies with similar or different results? Is this typical? What does the overall body of literature say?


These are pretty obvious questions before accepting an incredible claim of causal mechanism as even plausible, much less as true. As we can observe, commercial buildings and MDUs have largely converted to CFLs because they consistently observe lower power consumption and it is therefore very economical. The unique one-off reporting for in this community strongly suggests that the interpretation for this one study is simply incorrect, even if the raw facts are true.

So: I gotta level with ya. This is the worst citation I've seen in months, and I sift through altmed claims. I've read better documented stories about fish falling from the sky reported in the Fortean Times.

Most skeptics laugh at this quality of evidence for clams about alternative medicine or unlimited energy. Why should we accept this story? Can you help with any of the above reasonable questions?

blutoski
26th January 2011, 03:02 PM
Two others being ignorance and irrationality.

People still buy LPs and tube amps and claim they're 'better'. My friend is frustrated he can't get replacement parts for his 8-track.

There's no fixing stubborn. Sometimes we just have to wait for them to all die of old age in order to move forward.

Furcifer
26th January 2011, 03:05 PM
How did this happen, though? Did homes completely convert to fluorescent bulbs? If so, that is a staggering increase in usage given that CFLs are three-to-five times more efficient. Or did homes only partially convert, overestimate the savings, and ended up running all their lighting for longer periods of time.

It's an important distinction to make. One means that in practical terms CFLs do not save energy at all, the other suggests that the savings are realized only when the conversion is near complete.

I honestly don't know, I can't find the actual study, just references. I find it hard to believe myself, at least that the usage went up.

I do believe people are less inclined to conserve when it doesn't cost them as much. To what extent in today's World I'm not sure.

Furcifer
26th January 2011, 03:14 PM
Oh, seriously, now. This is not a citation. It's hearsay.


http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=5491378

Great urban legend

Don't try and Google anything. You just sit there and be skeptical. That's what it's all about. :rolleyes:

ben m
26th January 2011, 03:31 PM
Even with zero noise, if your load has a large inductance or capacitance, then there's a phase difference between the current and the voltage. That requires a larger current draw to produce the same power, and hence an increase in transmission loss. Incandescent lights have a purely resistive load, but I think CFL's have an inductive load too.

I wonder if any large consumer loads are capacitative? Nothing comes to mind, not at 60Hz.

Furcifer
26th January 2011, 03:51 PM
Fluorescents contain less mercury than would be produced by burning enough coal to power an incandescent lamp for its life span.

It depends on the number of HVAC heating days, if the disposal is done properly, if your electric actually comes from coal or hydro/nuke/natural gas, and if you practice conservation.

Hence the problem with mandating their sale. It would seem that for most of Canada incandescent light bulbs would be "greener". If that's what you decided to do over cost savings.

Nothing is ever simple. I'm going back to whale oil lamps.

blutoski
26th January 2011, 04:34 PM
http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=5491378

Great urban legend

I didn't say it was an urban legend. I asked if it was an urban legend. The cite provided was entirely inadequate.

This is a better citation. It doesn't mean the previous one was any good.



Don't try and Google anything. You just sit there and be skeptical. That's what it's all about. :rolleyes:

Of course. Just like any altmedder or 9/11 conspiracy theorist. "I can't be bothered to provide evidence - you look it up yourself. I'm only making the claim. I'm not responsible for supporting it with evidence. You're job is to do all the work to see if it's true."

I'm happy to read the study cited. The abstract tells us nothing. As you are probably familiar, altmed has made a cottage industry of doing research showing their product does not work but - undaunted - writing a conclusion saying their product works.


Most important: I'd appreciate somebody addressing my most important question in the list: how does this 1987 study fit into the current body of literature? Is it independendtly replicated? Is it typical? Is it a one-off?

You're the one making the claim with a reputation at stake and the great Google-Fu, so you would have reviewed that, right? What's your finding?

blutoski
26th January 2011, 04:39 PM
I honestly don't know, I can't find the actual study, just references. I find it hard to believe myself, at least that the usage went up.

I do believe people are less inclined to conserve when it doesn't cost them as much. To what extent in today's World I'm not sure.

I think this is my point: the results sound absurd, so it's quite reasonable to suspect something is wrong with the study as a starting stance.

I really think it's a huge mistake to toss it out there as good evidence of paradoxical effects.

It's entirely plausible that people may be less inclined to conserve if they believe they have achieved license through efficiencies. It is currently undemonstrated in this thread if this means any concrete negative benefit of CFLs worthy of serious consideration.

blutoski
26th January 2011, 04:46 PM
How did this happen, though? Did homes completely convert to fluorescent bulbs? If so, that is a staggering increase in usage given that CFLs are three-to-five times more efficient. Or did homes only partially convert, overestimate the savings, and ended up running all their lighting for longer periods of time.

My impression of the hypothesis is that the model is not isolated to lighting use. The numbers wouldn't be even remotely plausible at that point.

I am assuming that the theory is that after conversion, residents overcalculated the savings and expanded their use of all electronics, not just lights.

It's not implausible - we see this in other behaviors such as dieting (eg: "I had a Diet Coke so I can eat two Big Macs instead of one.")

It's just that this study is counter to every other conservation study I've ever seen, so it sounds like a one-off has become the hero urban legend of critics of CFLs or conservation technologies in general. Basically, that's the only place I could find it repeated. Proves nothing, but it's a bad sign.

Many urban legends are exaggerations of a true event. This study obviously really took place. It remains to see if the story making the rounds reflects the study's actual findings, whether the study is acceptable in the first place, and whether it's important in context of the overall body of research on the subject.

blutoski
26th January 2011, 04:57 PM
Not sure if you're entirely serious there, but consider the case I quoted earlier- my own case. (And that of many other people who live in "all electric" housing. ) Say I choose to keep my flat at a given temperature (perhaps by a thermostat); if I use less hot lighting, my heating bill simply rises to compensate. The quantity of heat is unchanged.
How would your idea affect me, except to add the cost of posting the certificates, reversing the entire "Green no documents by mail" policy of my power supplier? And what about the elderly or learning disabled customer who would probably pay the surcharge and lose the refund certificate?

This is true, and more relevant in areas where heat is electric (and therefore convertible 1:1 in terms of pollution) and where we can assume heat is required wherever a light is installed. These assumptions are weak.

Firstly:
The US has a good range of climate, but my understanding is that huge swaths of the country employ air conditioning a good part of the year. In this case, switching lights to CFLs has the dual benefit of both using less energy to produce light and also competing less with the cooling instruments, which also reduces energy demand.

Vancouver may be a bit odd, as it's a mild climate for Canada. We hardly use air conditioning at all (I have never seen residential air conditioning installed in Vancouver), and our own furnace is only active between end of September and about April, but houses vary.

Secondly:
Almost all central heating here in Vancouver is air or water heated with natural gas, rather than electric. It's hard to convert 1:1 this way.

Thirdly:
I gotta tell ya: nobody's burning lightbulbs at night, when the heat's most needed in a cold climate. This may make conversion entirely unrealistic.

blutoski
26th January 2011, 05:00 PM
If these things are so good, why do we need to have them shoved down our throats?

Ah. Antivaxxer logic.

Furcifer
26th January 2011, 05:36 PM
You're the one making the claim with a reputation at stake and the great Google-Fu, so you would have reviewed that, right? What's your finding?

My point is skepticism isn't about being lazy and having this "show me to my satisfaction" attitude. It begins to border on paranoia when it becomes this "I don't believe anything that controverts my view".

The quote was accurate, in fact it seems to detail more than the abstract. You have no study to refute this, what it your basis other than opinion that people actually conserve and don't just use more?

I support that with the commonly held opinion "the more you make the more you spend". It seems to support this "the more you conserve the more you use" study.

Aside from the fact CFL's save money, there is very little to support the claim that they are "greener". It's a marketing gimmick.

Furcifer
26th January 2011, 05:51 PM
It is currently undemonstrated in this thread if this means any concrete negative benefit of CFLs worthy of serious consideration.

Quite the contrary. Many things have been refuted and questioned about how the term "greener" has been applied.

And you're from BC, 94% of the electricity in BC comes from hydro. Not all heat is waste either. You've got no leg to stand on, your CFL's are not environmentally friendly. You care about money more than the environment :p

Trakar
26th January 2011, 05:56 PM
Digging Deep: Are CFLs Really Green?
http://www.rmi.org/rmi/Library/C08-11_DiggingDeepCFLsGreen
AUTHOR: Ramroth, Laurie
DOCUMENT ID: C08-11
YEAR: 2008
DOCUMENT TYPE: Report or White Paper
PUBLISHER: RMI


This paper addresses the debate over compact fluorescent lamps and incandescent light bulbs through life-cycle analyses. It compares the environmental impacts of providing a given amount of light from incandescents and CFLs for 10,000 hours. Special attention has been paid to recently raised concerns regarding CFLs—specifically that their complex and energy-intensive manufacturing process uses so much energy that it outweighs the benefits of using CFLs, that frequently turning CFLs on and off eliminates their energy-efficiency benefits, and that they contain a large amount of mercury. The research shows that the efficiency benefits compensate for the added complexity in manufacturing; while rapid on-off cycling of the lamp does reduce the environmental (and payback) benefits of CFLs they remain a net “win,”; and the mercury emitted over a CFL’s life—by power plants to power the CFL and by leakage on disposal—is still less than the mercury that can be attributed to powering the incandescent. This document concludes with tips on how consumers can maximize the environmental benefits of CFLs by using and disposing of them properly.

Download 233KB (http://www.rmi.org/cms/Download.aspx?id=1364&file=C08-02s_CFLLCA_FinalShort_080401.pdf&title=Digging+Deep%3a+Are+CFLs+Really+Green%3f)

Furcifer
26th January 2011, 06:18 PM
Digging Deep: Are CFLs Really Green?
http://www.rmi.org/rmi/Library/C08-11_DiggingDeepCFLsGreen

Yep, hasn't changed since yesterday :p

Trakar
27th January 2011, 02:04 AM
Yep, hasn't changed since yesterday :p

And yet the foot-stomping and bush-shaking continues!

Furcifer
27th January 2011, 02:35 AM
And yet the foot-stomping and bush-shaking continues!

That study is probably the most comprehensive I've seen and it still falls short. I'm highly skeptical they are in any way more environmentally friendly. I've had two burn out on me in the last 6 months, I don't know how old they were, but they were both Sunbeams from the dollar store so I suspect they weren't that old but there's no way they did 10000 hours. Plus I threw them in the garbage (total brain fart, I didn't even think about recycling them). I think I may have broken one of them. The EPA says you're supposed to evacuate the room for 10 hours and shut of the HVAC, basically treat them like the chemical spill they are. After reading this thread I'm not even sure how much of an energy savings they really are. I wouldn't recommend them for home use. For commercial absolutely, that seems to be the most logical and cost effective place to use them. 60W for me as long as I can get them. Hopefully by then LED's will be cheaper.

BobTheDonkey
27th January 2011, 03:53 AM
That study is probably the most comprehensive I've seen and it still falls short. I'm highly skeptical they are in any way more environmentally friendly. I've had two burn out on me in the last 6 months, I don't know how old they were, but they were both Sunbeams from the dollar store so I suspect they weren't that old but there's no way they did 10000 hours. Plus I threw them in the garbage (total brain fart, I didn't even think about recycling them). I think I may have broken one of them. The EPA says you're supposed to evacuate the room for 10 hours and shut of the HVAC, basically treat them like the chemical spill they are. After reading this thread I'm not even sure how much of an energy savings they really are. I wouldn't recommend them for home use. For commercial absolutely, that seems to be the most logical and cost effective place to use them. 60W for me as long as I can get them. Hopefully by then LED's will be cheaper.

/facepalm

Malerin
27th January 2011, 06:24 AM
Two others being ignorance and irrationality.

It's irrational not to want to feel anxious :rolleyes:

When exposed to the conventional pulsating fluorescent light under double-blind conditions the agoraphobic group showed a higher heart rate and reported more anomalous visual effects in response to an epileptogenic pattern. Control subjects reported more bodily symptoms under the conventional fluorescent light than under the two other lighting conditions
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2236367

I can tell you personally that I can't stand flourescents and they make me feel uneasy.

Ivor the Engineer
27th January 2011, 06:35 AM
It's irrational not to want to feel anxious :rolleyes:

When exposed to the conventional pulsating fluorescent light under double-blind conditions the agoraphobic group showed a higher heart rate and reported more anomalous visual effects in response to an epileptogenic pattern. Control subjects reported more bodily symptoms under the conventional fluorescent light than under the two other lighting conditions
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2236367

I can tell you personally that I can't stand flourescents and they make me feel uneasy.

CFLs are driven at high frequency. The study you linked to reports the symptoms were only apparent under the regular fluorescent lights pulsing at twice the line frequency (which translates to 100 times a second in Europe and 120 in the US).

blutoski
27th January 2011, 01:26 PM
My point is skepticism isn't about being lazy and having this "show me to my satisfaction" attitude.

No, but skepticism does make a big deal about assigning the burden of proof to the claimaint.




It begins to border on paranoia when it becomes this "I don't believe anything that controverts my view".

Not at all. I'm evaluating that claim the way I evaluate all published research. If this was a study refuting the hypothesis that conservation increased use, I would ask exactly the same questions. When I do a literature review, I usually reject 95% of the articles as unsatisfactory, regardless of their conclusion. Most studies in any field are so poorly done that they do not tell us anything. That makes an assumption of irrelevance a reasonable starting position, knowing nothing else.




The quote was accurate, in fact it seems to detail more than the abstract.

Yes, more than the abstract, and that's exactly what sets up a red flag. It's typical that the description of the research is an opinion of the author of the article, rather than anything supported by the paper itself. It may even contradict the paper's discussion or conclusion.

Again: this is not about bulbs. A recent example was a study that showed acupuncture didn't work. What do the acupuncturists report? "Study proves acupuncture works." Why not. Who other than skeptics interested in healthfraud would actually read the article, and skeptics are a writeoff market segment to scammers anyway.





You have no study to refute this, what it your basis other than opinion that people actually conserve and don't just use more?

My opinion is formed from an observation of consumer and every business I have ever worked with who has converted their incandescents to CFLs. I used to manage MDUs and commercial buildings, and we saw overall decrease in electricty use after switching to CFLs. That's 20 years of conversion without single exception. The claims from that article are quite extraordinary and counter to my experience, and the common knowledge of my peers in the profession of property management.





I support that with the commonly held opinion "the more you make the more you spend". It seems to support this "the more you conserve the more you use" study.

Aside from the fact CFL's save money, there is very little to support the claim that they are "greener". It's a marketing gimmick.

I disagree, and I think this thread has provided a great deal of evidence that CFLs have a smaller carbon and pollution footprint than incandescents of equivalent lux.





It's worth investigating what experts in the field think. Also worth reviewing the literature. A quick scan of article titles over the years in that journal that carried your second citation shows there were several studies published over the years along this line. My impression is that there might be a literature review in there somewhere worth reading, and that's where I'd concentrate my attention, rather than one individual study that you admit you haven't read.

Furcifer
27th January 2011, 03:33 PM
No, but skepticism does make a big deal about assigning the burden of proof to the claimaint.

Aren't you the one claiming (with a rather woo-ish word) they are "greener"? There's room for give and take in a discussion. It seems counterproductive if you just take a position and say "show me show me show me".



My opinion is formed from an observation of consumer and every business I have ever worked with who has converted their incandescents to CFLs.

Placebo? ;)

Businesses, unless they've had an energy audit and installed motion sensors, usually just run lights from open to close. That's why I said they are the best and most logical place to use them. It doesn't follow logically that this would translate over to home use though.

blutoski
27th January 2011, 04:33 PM
Quite the contrary. Many things have been refuted and questioned about how the term "greener" has been applied.

I was specifically referring to the hypothesis that deployment of efficient technology will provoke a paradoxical increase in power use. I don't see satisfactory evidence that this is a legitemate concern. It appears to be a claim to fuel FUD / Doubtcasting.




And you're from BC, 94% of the electricity in BC comes from hydro. Not all heat is waste either. You've got no leg to stand on, your CFL's are not environmentally friendly. You care about money more than the environment :p

I'm not sure I understand you. Hydro is an environmentally destructive elecricity source. They flooded a quarter million hectares of forest to build the WACB dam reservoir. In fact, my earlier statement was to consider that that the damage / externalality is sunken, so the marginal externality for additional kWh may be close to zero at this point. A colleague pointed out that there is an argument to treat electricity as fungible in that some of our surplus generation is wholesaled to the US.

Eventually, the dam's capacity will be exceeded and another will have to be built. Postponing that through efficiencies postpones the day we have to flood another valley and obliterate a billion animals and a fifth of a million trees.

mike3
27th January 2011, 04:36 PM
Aren't you the one claiming (with a rather woo-ish word) they are "greener"? There's room for give and take in a discussion. It seems counterproductive if you just take a position and say "show me show me show me".

If you *claim to have evidence*, then you don't tell other people to go look for it themselves, *YOU* point *directly* to what you have.

If I claimed I had studies or something to prove CFLs are "green", then I'd post hard links/cites/whatever. *YOU* have to do that too.

blutoski
27th January 2011, 04:41 PM
Aren't you the one claiming (with a rather woo-ish word) they are "greener"? There's room for give and take in a discussion. It seems counterproductive if you just take a position and say "show me show me show me".

I'm saying they lead to less power use. That seems obvious since they use less power.

I was responding to your claim that efficient bulbs lead to more power use, which is an extraordinary claim that I would accept with extraordinary evidence. It has not been provided, so I recommend shoring up the claim with better evidence or withdrawing it.





Placebo? ;)

No, they're accountable to stakeholders and have to supply metrics.



Businesses, unless they've had an energy audit and installed motion sensors, usually just run lights from open to close. That's why I said they are the best and most logical place to use them. It doesn't follow logically that this would translate over to home use though.

I don't understand your statement. These clients have energy audits that show the benefits I describe. That's the point. We'd switch one over, monitor for change, observe benefits, and it makes a case to convert others. Many are MDUs, which are residential housing blocks and most of the use is consumer (the exception being common areas). I'm unaware of any that operated lights 24/7.

Perhaps you misunderstood because MDU is biz lingo: it stans for "multi dwelling unit" ie: condos, gated communities, &c.

Furcifer
27th January 2011, 04:43 PM
I'm not sure I understand you. Hydro is an environmentally destructive elecricity source.

This is a good counter point, but it doesn't address the issue at hand which is mercury.

The transport of light bulbs from China to North America, and their storage is also an issue. I'd weigh that against the hydro claim. Freighters transporting things into the Great Lakes have ruined the ecosystem as an example.

blutoski
27th January 2011, 04:47 PM
This is a good counter point, but it doesn't address the issue at hand which is mercury.

No, but that's a red herring. As pointed out, we can dispose of them quite safely. I had one blow in the last 20 years (a bird pooped on it and it fried the base) and I dropped it off at Rona.



The transport of light bulbs from China to North America, and their storage is also an issue. I'd weigh that against the hydro claim. Freighters transporting things into the Great Lakes have ruined the ecosystem as an example.

You're saying that CFLs are more likely to be manufactured overseas and require more storage or something? That sounds like you're reaching a bit.

Furcifer
27th January 2011, 04:47 PM
If you *claim to have evidence*, then you don't tell other people to go look for it themselves, *YOU* point *directly* to what you have.

I did. I just jumped through hoops for no reason because skeptics can be lazy. There was no reason to believe the initial quote was made up or an urban legend. It's not like a "I know a guy who knows a guy" quote. It was specific and completely true.

Furcifer
27th January 2011, 04:52 PM
You're saying that CFLs are more likely to be manufactured overseas and require more storage or something? That sounds like you're reaching a bit.

I see you aren't going to try to understand because this controverts your preconceived notion.

Incandescent light bulbs were made in the US by Phillips and GE?, the CFL's aren't being made here.

I can't believe anyone would think a container full of mercury filled light bulbs would be packaged for shipment or stored in the same manner as a regular old light bulb. That's just silly.

ETA: http://joe-1280782.newsvine.com/_news/2010/10/06/5242156-ge-closes-last-incandescent-light-bulb-plant-jobs-sent-to-china

http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/gadgets-electronics/stories/last-major-us-factory-making-incandescent-light-bulbs-closes

blutoski
27th January 2011, 04:54 PM
CFLs are driven at high frequency. The study you linked to reports the symptoms were only apparent under the regular fluorescent lights pulsing at twice the line frequency (which translates to 100 times a second in Europe and 120 in the US).

This is quite relevant. Standard fluorescent lights are quite credibly associated with stress, if for no other reason than conditioning subjects with workspaces. There isn't really a 'double-blind' test of fluorescent lights. People who have learned to hate the environment where they have been exposed to fluorescents in the past will carry the baggage into the test environment.

On the other hand, CFLs are used in phototherapy devices. I'm unaware of any phototherapy devices that use incandescents. They are actually a legitemate treatment for stress and anxiety and dysthymia. Not just useful for SAD.

So, yes, avoiding CFLs which have been demonstrated to reduce anxiety because of a study about standard fluorescent lights would be irrational.

Furcifer
27th January 2011, 04:56 PM
Many are MDUs, which are residential housing blocks and most of the use is consumer (the exception being common areas). I'm unaware of any that operated lights 24/7.

Perhaps you misunderstood because MDU is biz lingo: it stans for "multi dwelling unit" ie: condos, gated communities, &c.

Wait. Do you know what a double standard is? Where the citation? Where's the study? Linky?

Now you're substituting anecdote for an actual study? Unbelievable.

blutoski
27th January 2011, 05:01 PM
I did. I just jumped through hoops for no reason because skeptics can be lazy. There was no reason to believe the initial quote was made up or an urban legend. It's not like a "I know a guy who knows a guy" quote. It was specific and completely true.

"... as revealed later by a better citation." But the original cite was pretty bad evidence, and I stand by that evaluation.

It also remains to be seen if the passage in the original citation bears any resemblance to the content of the paper.

As explained above, most editorialization about research is motivated, and most primary research is pretty bad in and of itself - more so in the social sciences. It's therefore quite reasonable to assume that an individual paper has been misrepresented by a writer, and I would personally read a paper's content and possibly even bounce it past an expert in the field if it was outside my scope of competence - before using it to support a claim.

Especially if the paper's alleged conclusions sound unlikely. eg: contains a claim of paradoxical effects. Efficient bulbs use more energy. That deserves a closer look before I put my nickel down and use it.

blutoski
27th January 2011, 05:11 PM
Wait. Do you know what a double standard is? Where the citation? Where's the study? Linky?

It takes awhile to get a grasp of the literature. I would not want to cite one study. I would want to read a literature review. At this point, I'm trying to obtain access to the journals (I have access to medical literature inventory through my position at the university, but not these engineering or many social science journals).





Now you're substituting anecdote for an actual study? Unbelievable.

I don't think so. We should be critical thinking. Weigh all the evidence in proportion. My anecdote and experience would not trump a well-done study, but it's part of the body of knowledge that can be considered with a well-done study.

Is this a study we should consider? Have you even read the study? If not... then why would you cite it?

A bad study is worse than no information, because it misinforms. Part of the skill of using studies is building a process for discarding the ones that actually misinform.

Again: this is a general skill, not specific to claims about lightbulbs. The bulk of studies on homeopathy show homeopathy works. If there was only one study on homeopathy, it'd probably show it works. But it sounds fishy, so we do an exercise to filter the studies. Turns out... there's only a couple of good studies and they show homeopathy doesn't work. The bulk of the literature is inadequate and misinforming.

This is the whole point of Drs. Novella and Hall's emphasis on science based medicine instead of evidence based medicine. Most published research is inadequate. Don't just go gathering a block of citations. That's not an evaluation of the claim.

Furcifer
27th January 2011, 05:16 PM
"... as revealed later by a better citation." But the original cite was pretty bad evidence, and I stand by that evaluation.

It also remains to be seen if the passage in the original citation bears any resemblance to the content of the paper.

As explained above, most editorialization about research is motivated, and most primary research is pretty bad in and of itself - more so in the social sciences. It's therefore quite reasonable to assume that an individual paper has been misrepresented by a writer, and I would personally read a paper's content and possibly even bounce it past an expert in the field if it was outside my scope of competence - before using it to support a claim.

Especially if the paper's alleged conclusions sound unlikely. eg: contains a claim of paradoxical effects. Efficient bulbs use more energy. That deserves a closer look before I put my nickel down and use it.

So instead you maintain an unsupported undocumented position? Not exactly critical thinking, but that's OK. Keep using the theoretical energy usage as evidence of conservation and ignore the study. I don't think you will be convinced of anything that doesn't fit your already established way of thinking. No matter the evidence.

While I don't believe an 8% increase myself, I think 75% of the theoretical savings is reasonable. That's from the study and my personal experience. I know I've looked down the hall at a light and mentally said "It's CFL, I'll just leave it on".

Furcifer
27th January 2011, 05:19 PM
It takes awhile to get a grasp of the literature. I would not want to cite one study. I would want to read a literature review. At this point, I'm trying to obtain access to the journals (I have access to medical literature inventory through my position at the university, but not these engineering or many social science journals).


I did find a reference to a more recent German study that showed some savings. I couldn't find the journal it was published in though.

blutoski
27th January 2011, 05:21 PM
So instead you maintain an unsupported undocumented position? Not exactly critical thinking, but that's OK.

From what I can see at this point, both positions are unsupported. I have not read the citation to see its content.

I repeat the question: have you read the study you cited?




Keep using the theoretical energy usage as evidence of conservation and ignore the study.

I'm not ignoring the study entirely... I have no idea how to treat it until I have answered the questions listed above.





I don't think you will be convinced of anything that doesn't fit your already established way of thinking. No matter the evidence.

While I don't believe an 8% increase myself, I think 75% of the theoretical savings is reasonable. That's from the study and my personal experience. I know I've looked down the hall at a light and mentally said "It's CFL, I'll just leave it on".

I think there's a big difference between projecting your individual behavior on a population vs my experience observing a representative population (MDUs) and projecting that to the whole.

The latter is called 'sampling' and is the accepted way to get good information about a population's behavior.

Furcifer
27th January 2011, 05:31 PM
From what I can see at this point, both positions are unsupported. I have not read the citation to see its content.
I repeat the question: have you read the study you cited?

No, but I don't really need to to maintain my original claim that these studies aren't anywhere near being comprehensive when it comes to claims of being "greener".


The latter is called 'sampling' and is the accepted way to get good information about a population's behavior.

Yah but aside from the fact you're presenting anecdote (I don't think you're lying, I'm just giving you an equally hard time) you're biased. You claim to save money, then you measure that savings. Not exactly the most objective way to do things. This study on the other hand was done by the Utilities commission and Philips. They would if anything be interested in showing a savings as per their original claim. It stands to reason they are more objective. No offense.

Trakar
27th January 2011, 05:39 PM
...I can't believe anyone would think a container full of mercury filled light bulbs would be packaged for shipment or stored in the same manner as a regular old light bulb. That's just silly...

No, "mercury filled light bulbs" is silly. The volume of mercury in the typical CFL is smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. Newer bulbs contain less than 1 mg of mercury, old thermometers had about 500mg. You get more mercury from a couple of cans of tuna than you would from sucking out a CFL.

Trakar
27th January 2011, 05:51 PM
(...)Is this a study we should consider? Have you even read the study? If not... then why would you cite it?

A bad study is worse than no information, because it misinforms. Part of the skill of using studies is building a process for discarding the ones that actually misinform.

Again: this is a general skill, not specific to claims about lightbulbs. The bulk of studies on homeopathy show homeopathy works. If there was only one study on homeopathy, it'd probably show it works. But it sounds fishy, so we do an exercise to filter the studies. Turns out... there's only a couple of good studies and they show homeopathy doesn't work. The bulk of the literature is inadequate and misinforming.

This is the whole point of Drs. Novella and Hall's emphasis on science based medicine instead of evidence based medicine. Most published research is inadequate. Don't just go gathering a block of citations. That's not an evaluation of the claim.

Sounds rather like Mooney's description of "sound science."

Furcifer
27th January 2011, 06:16 PM
No, "mercury filled light bulbs" is silly. The volume of mercury in the typical CFL is smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. Newer bulbs contain less than 1 mg of mercury, old thermometers had about 500mg. You get more mercury from a couple of cans of tuna than you would from sucking out a CFL.

lol, I still don't see the EPA recommending leaving the room when a can of tuna is opened. :rolleyes:

A can of tuna has about 30 micrograms of mercury, a CFL has 5000-12000 micrograms. I think you're confusing the prefixes micro and milli.

Not too mention light bulbs are considerably more fragile than cans of tuna.

ETA: yes "mercury filled" is a tad hyperbolic, but technically accurate.

Malerin
27th January 2011, 07:31 PM
This is quite relevant. Standard fluorescent lights are quite credibly associated with stress, if for no other reason than conditioning subjects with workspaces. There isn't really a 'double-blind' test of fluorescent lights. People who have learned to hate the environment where they have been exposed to fluorescents in the past will carry the baggage into the test environment.

On the other hand, CFLs are used in phototherapy devices. I'm unaware of any phototherapy devices that use incandescents. They are actually a legitemate treatment for stress and anxiety and dysthymia. Not just useful for SAD.

So, yes, avoiding CFLs which have been demonstrated to reduce anxiety because of a study about standard fluorescent lights would be irrational.

Source?

Trakar
27th January 2011, 08:18 PM
lol, I still don't see the EPA recommending leaving the room when a can of tuna is opened. :rolleyes:

No, because the mercury is integral to the flesh of the fish and therefore not prone to atmospheric dispersal upon exposure. A possibly warm glass tube with a trace amount of the substance likely already vaporized, on the other hand, is a far different issue. The problem generally isn't in a single exposure but for anyone who may have reason for rather more common exposure to such situations (housekeeping, maintenance, etc.,) such procedures fall under the "better safe than sorry" auspices of many environmental concerns.

http://web.archive.org/web/20051103092737/http://www.nema.org/lamprecycle/epafactsheet-cfl.pdf


A can of tuna has about 30 micrograms of mercury, a CFL has 5000-12000 micrograms. I think you're confusing the prefixes micro and milli.


no, no, you put dirt *into* holes in the ground.
4mg = 4000g
http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/promotions/change_light/downloads/Fact_Sheet_Mercury.pdf
...Thanks to technology
advances and a commitment from members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, the average
mercury content in CFLs has dropped at least 20 percent or more in the past several years. Some manufacturers
have even made further reductions, dropping mercury content to 1 mg per light bulb...

And what we are talking about is exposure. In cans of tuna we consume the entire amount. In CFLs, it is difficult (without deliberate effort) to inhale or absorb more than a tiny fraction of the total, especially since the average consumer will so infrequently encounter circumstances of exposure to the minute amounts of mercury

Atlantic albacore tuna contains about 13.35 micrograms of mercury per ounce.
6oz can x 2 = 160.2g = .1602mg
so it might take what what ~12 cans of tuna to actually equal the mercury content of one cfl, but you are likely to consume all of the mercury from tuna in a few months time, whereas under normal circumstances you are only likely to be exposed to a small fraction of the mercury in a cfl a handful of times in your entire life. The danger of mercury poisoning from tuna is much higher than from cfls, and in fact if you look at the little EPA fact sheet I linked above, you'll see that exposure to mercury from normal incandescent lighting is actually greater than the exposure from cfls as well.



Not too mention light bulbs are considerably more fragile than cans of tuna.


LOL,...Seriously!?!?!
Okay, well how about we open and consume the mercury in tuna, but we are only rarely and at best indirectly exposed to some fraction of the mercury in a CFL?


ETA: yes "mercury filled" is a tad hyperbolic, but technically accurate.

hyperbolic, yes. technically accurate, not even loosely close.
and yet you continue to use the phrase.

Furcifer
27th January 2011, 08:38 PM
And what we are talking about is exposure.

lol, no we're not. We're talking about transport and storage. You shift the goal posts so much you don't realize when you're doing it. :D



hyperbolic, yes. technically accurate, not even loosely close.
and yet you continue to use the phrase.

lol, "filled" doesn't always mean "full of"

filled: a. To put into (a container, for example) as much as can be held: fill a glass with milk.
f. To add a foreign substance to (cloth or wood, for example [or mercury] ).

Tricky language English. You'll get the hang of it.

Trakar
27th January 2011, 09:07 PM
lol, no we're not. We're talking about transport and storage.
I objected to "mercury filled light bulb" not anything to do with transport or storage.


You shift the goal posts so much you don't realize when you're doing it. :D

lol, "filled" doesn't always mean "full of"


I rather hope you stay exactly as you are, the irony of your naive contortions are actually somewhat amusing upon occassion.


filled: a. To put into (a container, for example) as much as can be held: fill a glass with milk.
f. To add a foreign substance to (cloth or wood, for example [or mercury] ).


do you really not know what cloth filling or wood filling is?


Tricky language English. You'll get the hang of it.

Actually its pretty straight-forward, unless one is deliberately trying to play games with it.

Furcifer
27th January 2011, 09:53 PM
dupe post

Furcifer
27th January 2011, 09:55 PM
I objected to "mercury filled light bulb" not anything to do with transport or storage.

That's why it's called goal post shifting. :rolleyes:



Actually its pretty straight-forward, unless one is deliberately trying to play games with it.

lol, you're a hoot. "Mercury" and "filled" and "CFL" google search, 702,000 hits.

http://www.google.ca/search?q=%22mercury%22+and+%22filled%22+and+%22CFL %22&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

Stop playing games and quit trying to change the English language! And stop the derail. The transport and storage of CFL's is not the same as a normal light bulbs because of the mercury. Whether they are "filled" or "partially filled" or "kinda slightly filled" or "filled with a mercury containing vapour" or what ever. If a container of CF's was dropped and the bulbs broke it would not be treated like a normal light bulb. That's why there are extra precautions and packaging. My old light bulbs came in a biodegradable paper package. These CFL's come in a Hazmat level 7 bullet proof/childproof hermetically sealed non-biodegradable package.

Trakar
27th January 2011, 11:31 PM
That's why it's called goal post shifting. :rolleyes:




lol, you're a hoot. "Mercury" and "filled" and "CFL" google search, 702,000 hits.

http://www.google.ca/search?q=%22mercury%22+and+%22filled%22+and+%22CFL %22&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a


ROFLOL try "mercury filled" "CFL" you get ~10,000 hits and they either link to or talk about science contrarian myth pages, or the pages debunking and exposing such myths.

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22mercury+filled%22+CFL&hl=en&num=10&lr=&ft=i&cr=&safe=images&tbs=



Stop playing games and quit trying to change the English language!


another irony meter shot!


And stop the derail.


the topic of the thread is "are CFLs really greener" not focussed upon transport storage issues.


The transport and storage of CFL's is not the same as a normal light bulbs because of the mercury. Whether they are "filled" or "partially filled" or "kinda slightly filled" or "filled with a mercury containing vapour" or what ever. If a container of CF's was dropped and the bulbs broke it would not be treated like a normal light bulb. That's why there are extra precautions and packaging. My old light bulbs came in a biodegradable paper package. These CFL's come in a Hazmat level 7 bullet proof/childproof hermetically sealed non-biodegradable package.

LOL, I don't know which is more precious, the blustering BS or the foot stamping spewage.

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22mercury+filled%22+CFL&hl=en&num=10&lr=&ft=i&cr=&safe=images&tbs=

doesn't look too intimidating to me.

how about this one:
http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1894033

Looks rather like a biodegradable cardboard box to me.

here's a 12-pack in a box if that's what you want.
http://www.amazon.com/Compact-Fluorescent-Spiral-Incandescent-Equivalent/dp/B003XT4AHO

The main reason blister packs are used is because intact bulbs sell better than broken ones and this is true whether we are talking CFL or incandescent

http://www.lightology.com/index.cfm/method-light.store_profile/sku-B3IB10-MEDE26-060CL-XX15?utm_source=google&utm_medium=products

http://www.petstore.com/ps_viewitem.aspx?idproduct=ES67096&child=ES67098&utm_source=pscseggl2&utm_medium=pscse&utm_campaign=pscseggl2&utm_content=ES67098

Roger Ramjets
27th January 2011, 11:37 PM
Atlantic albacore tuna contains about 13.35 micrograms of mercury per ounce.
6oz can x 2 = 160.2g = .1602mg
so it might take what what ~12 cans of tuna to actually equal the mercury content of one cfl, but you are likely to consume all of the mercury from tuna in a few months time, whereas under normal circumstances you are only likely to be exposed to a small fraction of the mercury in a cflA very small fraction. A single can of Tuna might contain more mercury than your likely exposure from a broken CFL.

Fluorescent lamp (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorescent_lamp)
"If a fluorescent lamp is broken, a very small amount of mercury can contaminate the surrounding environment. About 99% of the mercury is typically contained in the phosphor, especially on lamps that are near their end of life. The broken glass is usually considered a greater hazard than the small amount of spilled mercury."

Furcifer
28th January 2011, 12:01 AM
ROFLOL try "mercury filled" "CFL" you get ~10,000 hits and they either link to or talk about science contrarian myth pages, or the pages debunking and exposing such myths.

Yet none of them question the word "filled". Only you and your semantics. This is boring.


the topic of the thread is "are CFLs really greener" not focussed upon transport storage issues.

Oh well of course that doesn't matter to how environmentally friendly a product is. This is the same mentality that results in sweats shops and child slave labour. Who cares how it gets to America. :rolleyes:



The main reason blister packs are used is because intact bulbs sell better than broken ones and this is true whether we are talking CFL or incandescent

And how much fossil fuel goes into making that? Who cares it's China's problem!

Roboramma
28th January 2011, 02:06 AM
Oh well of course that doesn't matter to how environmentally friendly a product is. This is the same mentality that results in sweats shops and child slave labour. Who cares how it gets to America. :rolleyes: Transportation costs, and the associated energy consumption/pollution are certainly a part of the environmental impact of any product. Of course, the cost of transporting a good is factored into it's price, so, as was stated up thread, the impact of that transport is also related to the price of the product.

If, for instance, the transportation of CFLs made them net less efficient than incandescents, then people wouldn't be able to save money on them during their lifetime.

And how much fossil fuel goes into making that? Who cares it's China's problem!
Since the same amount goes into making the packaging for incandescents as well as for CFLs, and since CFLs have a longer lifespan, it seems that this also shows a way in which they are superior, rather than inferior.

Furcifer
28th January 2011, 02:57 AM
Transportation costs, and the associated energy consumption/pollution are certainly a part of the environmental impact of any product. Of course, the cost of transporting a good is factored into it's price, so, as was stated up thread, the impact of that transport is also related to the price of the product.

The contention is that it isn't anymore. The price "savings" today seem to reflect neglect to environmental standards and worker safety. We spend a lot of money here in NA keeping workers safe and ensuring things get handled and disposed of properly. On small items that tends to be the difference between making it here or making it over seas.



Since the same amount goes into making the packaging for incandescents as well as for CFLs, and since CFLs have a longer lifespan, it seems that this also shows a way in which they are superior, rather than inferior.

I'd say the average person gets their CFL's from the dollar store or Wal-Mart. One comes in a paper sleeve, the other in plastic. I'm sure you can find CF's in edible packaging and incandescents in plastic, but that's not as common.

All of these little things add up; some paint, some mercury, some arsenic, some plastic. Studies tend to overlook these things but they affect the environment.

excaza
28th January 2011, 05:41 AM
Cost of a broken CFL is higher than a broken incandescent, that's why one is in plastic and the other is in paper. It has nothing to do with mercury.

Furcifer
28th January 2011, 05:59 AM
Hasbro released the updated Easy Bake Oven Cook Book, 36 hours to bake brownies.

Won't somebody please think of the children?

excaza
28th January 2011, 06:03 AM
Hasbro released the updated Easy Bake Oven Cook Book, 36 hours to bake brownies.

Won't somebody please think of the children?

So you've abandoned your silly footstomping about mercury?

Furcifer
28th January 2011, 06:52 AM
So you've abandoned your silly footstomping about mercury?

All I'm saying is the claim that they are "greener" for residential use is rubbish. They save money and that should be enough for most people. Don't pat yourself on the back thinking you're saving the environment as well because you aren't. More importantly, don't think because you're saving a few bucks you can leave them on all day and throw them in the garbage when they burn out.

Oh and don't forget they cause Autism :boxedin:

Trakar
28th January 2011, 12:26 PM
Yet none of them question the word "filled". Only you and your semantics. This is boring.


All of them that aren't promoting the lie, challenge the term as inaccurate and ludicrous, which is exactly what I did. And you are boring merely naively gullible and predictably repetitive.


Oh well of course that doesn't matter to how environmentally friendly a product is. This is the same mentality that results in sweats shops and child slave labour. Who cares how it gets to America. :rolleyes:


Cut off Canadian exports and quit buying stuff from overseas and the problem for you is solved. You are the only one arguing without compelling evidenciary support for your position. If you have a point, make it and support it. If you are going to keep throwing out unsupported perjoratives and juvenile smilies thinking you are actually engaging in reasoned discussion, you have issues that go far beyond this media's capacity to address.


And how much fossil fuel goes into making that? Who cares it's China's problem!

Plastic is generally a locked up form of carbon, and energy wise it may be cheaper than commercial cardboard, at least in some cases. The recycled plastic blister packs (which account for more than half of all such packaging) require even less energy to manufacture (~70% less according to most studies and the most common methods used).

http://www.plasticsindustry.org/AboutPlastics/content.cfm?ItemNumber=792&navItemNumber=1124

http://www.teppfa.org/pdf/HSEGUAstudysummaryJuly05.pdf

http://www.americanchemistry.com/s_plastics/bin.asp?CID=1211&DID=4589&DOC=FILE.PDF

http://www.plasticsinfo.co.za/energy-and-climate.asp

http://view.digipage.net/?userpath=00000001/00005935/00045692&page=95

http://www.blisternews.com/2009/09/cold-seal-blister-packaging-in-total-compliance-with-the-objective-of-sustainability/

Furcifer
28th January 2011, 04:51 PM
All of them that aren't promoting the lie, challenge the term as inaccurate and ludicrous, which is exactly what I did. And you are boring merely naively gullible and predictably repetitive.

I just enjoy people squirming over semantics. It's an admission their argument lacks substance. I'm sure you're aware of the subtle differences between something filled with a liquid and something filled with a gas or in this case a vapour, yet you persist. To what end, I don't think you know.


Cut off Canadian exports and quit buying stuff from overseas and the problem for you is solved. You are the only one arguing without compelling evidenciary support for your position. If you have a point, make it and support it. If you are going to keep throwing out unsupported perjoratives and juvenile smilies thinking you are actually engaging in reasoned discussion, you have issues that go far beyond this media's capacity to address.

I suggest you take a look at the working conditions for humans in China and then tell me how well you think they're doing with the environment, :rolleyes:


Plastic is generally a locked up form of carbon, and energy wise it may be cheaper than commercial cardboard, at least in some cases. The recycled plastic blister packs (which account for more than half of all such packaging) require even less energy to manufacture (~70% less according to most studies and the most common methods used).

Hand waving.


http://www.plasticsindustry.org/AboutPlastics/content.cfm?ItemNumber=792&navItemNumber=1124

Well if the plastics industry says so...

If I thought for a minute people were actually recycling things instead of throwing them in the garbage I might be naive enough to agree. Until then the claims of "green" are down right fraudulent in most cases.

In real life people throw things in the garbage and tend to leave the lights on when they know it doesn't cost them much. I'll be keeping an eye on the grid and let you know how successful mandating CFl's actually are. So far not much.

Trakar
28th January 2011, 11:31 PM
All of them that aren't promoting the lie, challenge the term as inaccurate and ludicrous, which is exactly what I did. And you are boring merely naively gullible and predictably repetitive...

...And you are *not* boring, merely naively gullible and predictably repetitive...

mia culpa

Trakar
28th January 2011, 11:51 PM
I just enjoy people squirming over semantics...

Truely?!

That seems a most peculiar psychological kink.

In scientific discourse, and consideration, words tend to have distinct and precise meanings.

Furcifer
29th January 2011, 12:05 AM
Truely?!

That seems a most peculiar psychological kink.

In scientific discourse, and consideration, words tend to have distinct and precise meanings.

Just curious, what did you expect when you watched a movie and they said "Fill em' full of lead"? :cool:

In case you hadn't noticed we weren't have "scientific discourse". I was talking about a shipping container full (oops, 65.4% "full") of mercury filled (0.045% by volume) light bulbs.

With all you floundering around you knocked the goal posts over. :rolleyes:


ETA: it's not really peculiar. People do it all the time around here. Instead of just admitting they're wrong they try to apply every other definition of a word to save face. It's a clear sign of embarrassment. If there was any true confusion over a word they would ask for clarification before making themselves look foolish. In this case you know that a light bulb couldn't function "filled" with mercury, so you know exactly what meaning was being used.

Trakar
29th January 2011, 12:45 AM
Just curious, what did you expect when you watched a movie and they said "Fill em' full of lead"? :cool:

In case you hadn't noticed we weren't have "scientific discourse". I was talking about a shipping container full (oops, 65.4% "full") of mercury filled (0.045% by volume) light bulbs.

With all you floundering around you knocked the goal posts over. :rolleyes:


ETA: it's not really peculiar. People do it all the time around here. Instead of just admitting they're wrong they try to apply every other definition of a word to save face. It's a clear sign of embarrassment. ...

Obviously

However, as this is a science board, most of us rather expect that topical discussions will at the least strive towards scientific discourse standards,...of course you are free to do as you wish.

Furcifer
29th January 2011, 01:20 AM
However, as this is a science board, most of us rather expect that topical discussions will at the least strive towards scientific discourse standards,...of course you are free to do as you wish.

The "intellectual high road", that's a new one. ;)

Whether they are "full" or 0.0001% full there are still environmental hazards associated with the transport, handling and storage of CFL's that you don't have with incandescent bulbs. These are never properly factored into the equation before claims of them being "greener" are made.

Nor are any realistic evaluations of human behavior. Not everyone is going to recycle the plastic packaging, and the bulbs or reduce their net usage of electricity. If your calculation is based on ideal human behaviour it's wrong before it's even started.

Trakar
29th January 2011, 12:34 PM
The "intellectual high road", that's a new one. ;)

Whether they are "full" or 0.0001% full there are still environmental hazards associated with the transport, handling and storage of CFL's that you don't have with incandescent bulbs. These are never properly factored into the equation before claims of them being "greener" are made.

Nor are any realistic evaluations of human behavior. Not everyone is going to recycle the plastic packaging, and the bulbs or reduce their net usage of electricity. If your calculation is based on ideal human behaviour it's wrong before it's even started.

And yet, the very studies which you seem dismissive of, do factor these issues into their considerations. So it inspires curiosity in trying to understand why and how you reach these conclusions and then continue to return to them even after having been presented with evidence that they are without merit?

Furcifer
29th January 2011, 01:02 PM
And yet, the very studies which you seem dismissive of, do factor these issues into their considerations. So it inspires curiosity in trying to understand why and how you reach these conclusions and then continue to return to them even after having been presented with evidence that they are without merit?

Perhaps you could point them out then. All I've seen is a bunch of fail. The same logic we saw try and prove paper was better then plastic and plastic better than paper. We just ignore some of the inconvenient truths and end up with whatever conclusion we desire.

Trakar
29th January 2011, 09:31 PM
Perhaps you could point them out then. All I've seen is a bunch of fail. The same logic we saw try and prove paper was better then plastic and plastic better than paper. We just ignore some of the inconvenient truths and end up with whatever conclusion we desire.

I've already pointed them out, and even linked to some of them directly.

http://www.rmi.org/cms/Download.aspx?id=1364&file=C08-02s_CFLLCA_FinalShort_080401.pdf&title=Digging+Deep%3a+Are+CFLs+Really+Green%3f

http://www.gelighting.com/na/home_lighting/ask_us/downloads/FAQsAboutCFLs.pdf

Furcifer
29th January 2011, 10:41 PM
I've already pointed them out, and even linked to some of them directly.
http://www.rmi.org/cms/Download.aspx?id=1364&file=C08-02s_CFLLCA_FinalShort_080401.pdf&title=Digging+Deep%3a+Are+CFLs+Really+Green%3f


You have to go to the RMI website and download the 26 page study, but I did find it.

First off, I don't use 100W light bulbs. As long as I've been buying light bulbs I've been buying 60W or 40W.

I believe they use a 100W light bulb to deliberately skew the results in favour of the CFL's. There's no other reason to pick the highest wattage bulb to make a comparison to (although I believe you can find 150W bulbs they are specialty bulbs)

Second, incandescent light bulbs are made in the US. The assumption they are made in China is another deliberate attempt to skew the results in favour of the CFL's.

Third, if you read the study, CFl's release 4.6 times the arsenic and almost 20 times the lead into the environment.

While it's a very comprehensive study it's obviously biased. It's disgusting how they downplay the release of toxic chemicals into the environment.

Ivor the Engineer
30th January 2011, 02:37 AM
<snip>

Second, incandescent light bulbs are made in the US.

<snip>

All of them? Most of them?

ETA: And looking at the life cycle analysis, the emissions from shipping are such a small proportion of the total, subtracting them from incandescent bulbs wouldn't change the conclusion that CFLs are "greener".

Furcifer
30th January 2011, 03:10 AM
All of them? Most of them?

ETA: And looking at the life cycle analysis, the emissions from shipping are such a small proportion of the total, subtracting them from incandescent bulbs wouldn't change the conclusion that CFLs are "greener".

They had the capacity until this recent prohibition. Light bulbs cost $0.50, probably $0.15-$0.25 to make so there's no labour savings making them in China (labour is at most a nickel).

No, transport is basically irrelevant environmentally. The manufacturing however is a little different because from what I gather more electricity comes from coal in China. It's not a big deal, but it's wrong, and it's most likely done to downplay the loss of jobs.

The more I read the less impressed I am with the decision to ban them. Depending on the application CFL's can be worse. Like in my bathroom, a single 60W going on and off 4 or 5 times a day is probably cheaper and more environmentally friendly than a CFL.

Ivor the Engineer
30th January 2011, 03:20 AM
<snip>

The more I read the less impressed I am with the decision to ban them. Depending on the application CFL's can be worse. Like in my bathroom, a single 60W going on and off 4 or 5 times a day is probably cheaper and more environmentally friendly than a CFL.

Other than in the bathroom, how many lights around your home are switched on and off several times an hour?

Furcifer
30th January 2011, 03:54 AM
Other than in the bathroom, how many lights around your home are switched on and off several times an hour?

Just the kitchen and fridge I guess. I've got good natural light and the rest are floor lamps with the round CFL's.

Trakar
30th January 2011, 11:33 AM
They had the capacity until this recent prohibition. Light bulbs cost $0.50, probably $0.15-$0.25 to make so there's no labour savings making them in China (labour is at most a nickel).


False, there was only one incandescent lamp factory in the US prior to the decision to phase out incandescents and it was on the verge of bankruptcy when the phase-out decision was made. Most incandescent bulbs sold here in the US have come from overseas for the last 2+decades.

Like in my bathroom, a single 60W going on and off 4 or 5 times a day is probably cheaper and more environmentally friendly than a CFL.

Simply wrong again. The CFL still uses significantly less energy, lasts significantly longer, and the initial pricing simply isn't that different, even in these on-off quick cycling applications. You don't get the full cost benefits, but it still beats the typical incandescent (BTW flicking incandescents on and off significantly shortens filament life as well).

Furcifer
30th January 2011, 12:01 PM
False, there was only one incandescent lamp factory in the US prior to the decision to phase out incandescents and it was on the verge of bankruptcy when the phase-out decision was made. Most incandescent bulbs sold here in the US have come from overseas for the last 2+decades.

Sorry, you're wrong.

I'm not sure when the Phillips plant closed, 2007 I believe, but the GE plant closed last year. Both plants were capable of making 50 000 per hour and had the capacity to provide enough bulbs for the entire US.



Simply wrong again. The CFL still uses significantly less energy, lasts significantly longer, and the initial pricing simply isn't that different, even in these on-off quick cycling applications. You don't get the full cost benefits, but it still beats the typical incandescent (BTW flicking incandescents on and off significantly shortens filament life as well).

Wrong. They may be rated for long life but they don't achieve it unless they run constantly. And wrong, it isn't turning incandescents on and off that ruins them it's changes in voltage.

Anyone that's ever changed a light bulb knows it's a crap shoot. The CFL's aren't any different, sometimes they last forever, sometimes they don't. Nobody leaves a light on continuously these days.

I had a bulb in my garage (old chicken barn) that was 80 some years old. Hand blown glass and a thick tungsten filament. They don't make em like that anymore :)

Dave_46
30th January 2011, 01:14 PM
<snip>
And wrong, it isn't turning incandescents on and off that ruins them it's changes in voltage.
<snip>


I think you'll find that switching on and off causes quite a change in the voltage.

Dave

Ivor the Engineer
30th January 2011, 02:24 PM
I think you'll find that switching on and off causes quite a change in the voltage.

Dave

:)

Interesting fact: The lifetime of a incandescent bulb is related to the ratio between it's rated voltage and it's operating voltage raised to the twelfth power.

E.g., running a bulb at 10% lower voltage than it is rated for will increase it's expected life by over 3 times!

Furcifer
30th January 2011, 04:54 PM
I think you'll find that switching on and off causes quite a change in the voltage.

Dave

"An incandescent lamps life largely depends on operating voltage while a CFLs life depends on operating cycle. Put a different way, an incandescent lamp fails when its tungsten filament has evaporated to the point where it breaks, and thus cannot carry a current. A CFL fails due to a loss of emissive coating on the electrode."

I assumed everyone read the article and knows what I meant. ;)

Furcifer
10th February 2011, 09:24 PM
I just thought I'd post this recent study from UC Irvine: http://today.uci.edu/news/2011/02/nr_LED_110210.php

"LED products billed as eco-friendly contain toxic metals, study finds"

"Those light-emitting diodes marketed as safe, environmentally preferable alternatives to traditional lightbulbs actually contain lead, arsenic and a dozen other potentially hazardous substances, according to newly published research."

Coincidentally these contain high levels of lead and arsenic, the same as the CFL's which produce up to 20 times what a normal incandescent would.

So much for LED's :(

Prometheus
10th February 2011, 09:41 PM
I just thought I'd post this recent study from UC Irvine: http://today.uci.edu/news/2011/02/nr_LED_110210.php

"LED products billed as eco-friendly contain toxic metals, study finds"

"Those light-emitting diodes marketed as safe, environmentally preferable alternatives to traditional lightbulbs actually contain lead, arsenic and a dozen other potentially hazardous substances, according to newly published research."

Coincidentally these contain high levels of lead and arsenic, the same as the CFL's which produce up to 20 times what a normal incandescent would.

So much for LED's :(

That article also says he had to "crunch and leach" the LED fixtures in order to get these metals out of them. He didn't actually measure how much toxic material get's out of the LED's and into the environment under normal circumstances.

Pulvinar
10th February 2011, 09:47 PM
"LED products billed as eco-friendly contain toxic metals, study finds"

If you grind up the LEDs and swallow them, that is.

Best to stick to grinding up and swallowing incandescents. No harm there, right?

Furcifer
10th February 2011, 10:04 PM
That article also says he had to "crunch and leach" the LED fixtures in order to get these metals out of them. He didn't actually measure how much toxic material get's out of the LED's and into the environment under normal circumstances.

Yah, I think this is probably relevant to the long term effect. I'm not sure how long these metals can be effectively sequestered in the fixtures.

I'm just not sure how comfortable I am with spreading poisons all of the planet. I'd like to know before their use becomes mandated.

Furcifer
10th February 2011, 10:06 PM
Best to stick to grinding up and swallowing incandescents. No harm there, right?

lol, CFL's and LED's have effectively ruined not only the easy bake oven, but circus sideshows too.

ben m
10th February 2011, 10:10 PM
I'm just not sure how comfortable I am with spreading poisons all of the planet.

Then stop encouraging everyone else to burn 500kg of coal (and >1 gram of mercury, and cadmium, and lead ...) per light fixture per year.

All you have to do is swallow your aversion to landfilling a microgram or two of arsenic per decade---maybe---if you throw those LEDs away in the trash.

Several gram per year is a lot, lot, lot worse than a few micrograms per decade. Thanks for nothing.

Trakar
10th February 2011, 10:18 PM
That article also says he had to "crunch and leach" the LED fixtures in order to get these metals out of them. He didn't actually measure how much toxic material get's out of the LED's and into the environment under normal circumstances.

What about the manufacturing plants and the environmental impact of them? Think of all the money the manufacturers are gonna have to spend to perform environmental studies, to design equipment and processes that operate efficiently and without contaminating and degrading the environment with its operations!! All that money wasted that could have been paid out in dividends.

Furcifer
10th February 2011, 10:21 PM
All you have to do is swallow your aversion to landfilling a microgram or two of arsenic per decade---maybe---if you throw those LEDs away in the trash.


lol, do you actually believe this or is it a lie?

ETA: nm, I see your trying to down grade the collective effect of billions of bulbs. that's just intellectually dishonest.

Prometheus
10th February 2011, 10:28 PM
What about the manufacturing plants and the environmental impact of them? Think of all the money the manufacturers are gonna have to spend to perform environmental studies, to design equipment and processes that operate efficiently and without contaminating and degrading the environment with its operations!! All that money wasted that could have been paid out in dividends.

...Or burned as fuel. ;)

Prometheus
10th February 2011, 10:30 PM
lol, do you actually believe this or is it a lie?

ETA: nm, I see your trying to down grade the collective effect of billions of bulbs. that's just intellectually dishonest.

Not at all. He's comparing it to the collective effect of burning billions of tons of extra coal to get the same amount of light out of incandescents, but stating the comparison on a per-bulb scale.

Trakar
10th February 2011, 10:33 PM
...Or burned as fuel. ;)

LOL!
Makes about as much sense!

ben m
10th February 2011, 10:52 PM
lol, do you actually believe this or is it a lie?

ETA: nm, I see your trying to down grade the collective effect of billions of bulbs. that's just intellectually dishonest.

What was I trying to downgrade? I compared a per-bulb LED number to a per-bulb incandescent number.

The collective effect of N LED bulbs is N times the effect of one bulb, so N micrograms of heavy metals per decade. Into landfills.

The collective effect of N incandescent bulbs is N times the effect of one bulb, so N x 500 kg of heavy metals per year. Some into the atmosphere, some into fly ash landfills.

Furcifer
10th February 2011, 11:04 PM
Not at all. He's comparing it to the collective effect of burning billions of tons of extra coal to get the same amount of light out of incandescents.

The poisons in CFL's and LED's are real. This reduction in burning coal is theory.

Unless you live in a moderate climate where electricity is supplied exclusively by coal all you're doing is spreading poisons. It doesn't seem "greener" to me.

OnlyTellsTruths
10th February 2011, 11:11 PM
This may have been brought up in this thread before, but anecdotally: No one that I know recycles these things properly, they just put them in the normal trash like anything else (including batteries).... This even includes the (very few) people I know that actually recycle some things (usually just aluminum and plastic).

Furcifer
10th February 2011, 11:18 PM
This may have been brought up in this thread before, but anecdotally: No one that I know recycles these things properly, they just put them in the normal trash like anything else (including batteries).... This even includes the (very few) people I know that actually recycle some things (usually just aluminum and plastic).

One of the websites I read (pro conversion to CFl's) said about 80% of people don't recycle them properly.

The use of coal continues to increase and unfortunately there's no appreciable decrease that can be correlated to the change to CFL's.

I don't mind having them available or using them (they save $), but I question the mandate based on them being "greener".

ben m
10th February 2011, 11:21 PM
The poisons in CFL's and LED's are real. This reduction in burning coal is theory.

What?

Unless you live in a moderate climate where electricity is supplied exclusively by coal all you're doing is spreading poisons. It doesn't seem "greener" to me.

The vast majority (about 70%) of Americans live in moderate climates where electricity is supplied by coal (carbon+metals) and natural gas (just carbon). Another 10% get hydro and 20% get nuclear. You're one of them? Congratulations. So an LED law would decrease nine other people's mercury emissions from ~5+ grams per year each to ~0.5 micrograms per year each, and as collateral damage this law would "increase" your emissions from ~0 to ~0.5 micrograms. That's a net win.

Furcifer
10th February 2011, 11:58 PM
What?

You claim there's been a reduction in burning coal because of CFL's Prove it.



The vast majority (about 70%) of Americans live in moderate climates

That's incorrect. What percentage of homes have furnaces they use every winter?


where electricity is supplied by coal (carbon+metals) and natural gas (just carbon). Another 10% get hydro and 20% get nuclear. You're one of them?

Nope. I get 20% of my electricity from coal generation. The rest from nuclear and natural gas, a bit from alternatives.


So an LED law would decrease nine other people's mercury emissions from ~5+ grams per year each to ~0.5 micrograms per year each, and as collateral damage this law would "increase" your emissions from ~0 to ~0.5 micrograms. That's a net win.

Nope. That's just your belief, it isn't supported by the evidence. That's the desired effect of calling things "greener", to make people believe they are doing something they really aren't.

Right now I may be saving money (it's freezing out), but I'm actually ruining the environment with these CFL's. That's a fact. Right now, unless you're in Miami or Mexico you are too.

Ziggurat
11th February 2011, 12:41 AM
Nope. I get 20% of my electricity from coal generation. The rest from nuclear and natural gas, a bit from alternatives.

Your marginal use (which is what matters here) comes almost completely from coal and natural gas.

Are you familiar with the concept of marginal use?

Nope. That's just your belief, it isn't supported by the evidence

Not true. You've just been ignoring the evidence.

Right now I may be saving money (it's freezing out), but I'm actually ruining the environment with these CFL's. That's a fact. Right now, unless you're in Miami or Mexico you are too.

Even in cold climates, if you've got a gas furnace, you're saving energy with CFL's.

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 12:58 AM
Your marginal use (which is what matters here) comes almost completely from coal and natural gas.
Are you familiar with the concept of marginal use?

Are you familiar with peak use? What times of the morning and night are the lights on at your home and what industry supplies the additional energy at that time of the day?


Even in cold climates, if you've got a gas furnace, you're saving energy with CFL's.

I'm afraid you've been mislead, perhaps by a salesman maybe? The average furnace is no where near as efficient at a light bulb (http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Light_bulb). You probably think, incorrectly, natural gas furnaces are above 95% efficiency. Very, very few are. That's changing but it will be a while before there's enough in use to make your statement correct.

OnlyTellsTruths
11th February 2011, 01:06 AM
So, after the incandescent "ban", which as far as I know covers 100 watts in 2012, then down to 40 watts in 2014, will I be able to purchase them anywhere? International mail order perhaps?

I have an outdoor motion sensor unit that doesn't seem to work with CFLs, all brands that I've tried just flicker in that unit. It was like $50.... (ETA: I understand this is the case with many dimmer units, as well as motion sensor units.) That's a lot of expensive hardware that will become useless everywhere.

ETA: Also, I can't find a fault in this quote from the bulb phase-out wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs):

However there are some areas where the extra cost of a CFL may never be repaid, typically where bulbs are used relatively infrequently such as in little-used closets and attics.

Ziggurat
11th February 2011, 01:22 AM
I'm afraid you've been mislead, perhaps by a salesman maybe? The average furnace is no where near as efficient at a light bulb (http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Light_bulb). You probably think, incorrectly, natural gas furnaces are above 95% efficiency. Very, very few are. That's changing but it will be a while before there's enough in use to make your statement correct.

That isn't the relevant comparison. The relevant comparison includes not only the lightbulb, but also the power used to generate the electricity to power it. And a gas generator is not as efficient as a gas heater, for rather fundamental reasons of thermodynamics. So even assuming 100% efficiency with your lightbulb as a heater, you're still using more energy to light and heat your house with an incandescent than you are lighting and heating your house with CFL's and a gas furnace.

I don't know if you've been misled or not, but one way or another, you've managed to get this completely wrong.

OnlyTellsTruths
11th February 2011, 01:26 AM
This quote (from same wiki I linked two posts up) seems more fishy, but would be very interesting if true:

For example, in moderate to cool climates, a significant proportion of the heating requirements of an average home is provided by the electric appliances and lighting in the house. Reducing the wattage of the electric lighting directly affects the heat provided to the space. The heating system runs longer to make up for the lost heat contribution. If the heating is gas fired, then additional energy is consumed to overcome the less than 100% gas fired furnace or boiler. The net result in moderate to cool climates is increased energy consumption. Where electricity is hydroelectric, and the house is heated by gas, the greenhouse gas production also increases dramatically.

ETA: I just noticed that this is what Ziggurat is talking about in the previous post... I'm glad I thought it sounded fishy.

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 01:44 AM
So even assuming 100% efficiency with your lightbulb as a heater, you're still using more energy to light and heat your house with an incandescent than you are lighting and heating your house with CFL's and a gas furnace.


lol, who's heating their house with light bulbs?

This is just a residual effect of their use as LIGHTS.

Ziggurat
11th February 2011, 01:52 AM
lol, who's heating their house with light bulbs?

This is just a residual effect of their use as LIGHTS.

Way to miss the point.

Your comparison was wrong. The correct comparison indicates that even in cold climates, CFL use lowers fossil fuel use if your house uses a gas heater and your marginal electric generation is fossil fuel (the latter is true for almost everyone). The savings are larger if you live somewhere warm, but they're still there even in cold climates. It's only a wash if you live somewhere cold AND your heating is electric.

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 02:42 AM
Way to miss the point.

Your comparison was wrong. The correct comparison indicates that even in cold climates, CFL use lowers fossil fuel use if your house uses a gas heater and your marginal electric generation is fossil fuel (the latter is true for almost everyone). The savings are larger if you live somewhere warm, but they're still there even in cold climates. It's only a wash if you live somewhere cold AND your heating is electric.

lol, CFL's don't run on magic, natural gas doesn't show up to your door with the breeze and not all electricity comes from coal.

This is the problem with "green" claims, they delude people. You think you're saving the planet by spreading chemicals all over the place? By bringing them into your home?

These bulbs have proper applications where they benefit the environment, and applications where they don't. Home use is one where they just don't make sense. People should have a choice.

Ziggurat
11th February 2011, 08:17 AM
lol, CFL's don't run on magic

I never suggested they did. They just run on significantly less electricity than incandescents.

natural gas doesn't show up to your door with the breeze and not all electricity comes from coal.

Indeed: a lot of electricity also comes from natural gas. Which is less efficient to use for electricity generation than it is for direct heating.

This is the problem with "green" claims, they delude people. You think you're saving the planet by spreading chemicals all over the place? By bringing them into your home?

Ooooh! Chemicals!

I'm NOT a "greenie", in no small part because I'm NOT paranoid about "chemicals". But if you want to talk about toxic heavy metals, i've got bad news for you: coal power plants spread it "all over the place" a lot more than CFL's do. And not just mercury either. Cutting down on power consumption (and a far larger percentage of marginal power consumption in the US is from coal than the total percentage) is a very good thing when it comes to heavy metal pollution.

These bulbs have proper applications where they benefit the environment, and applications where they don't. Home use is one where they just don't make sense.

It makes perfect sense for home use. My own utility bills are lower because of them.

People should have a choice.

Congratulations. You've finally said something I agree with. I have never been in favor of outlawing incandescents of any wattage, and I have never argued for it either.

Trakar
11th February 2011, 08:36 AM
...I don't mind having them available or using them (they save $), but I question the mandate based on them being "greener".

They are "greener" because they consume far less energy over their normal use life. In an environment where the energy to run them is produced via nuclear, solar, wind, geotherm, etc., power. Their "green-ness" is much more debatable, but their energy efficiency, which regardless of power source, is much greater than incandescents (less power to generate the same levels of light), is the same regardless.

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 08:45 AM
They are "greener" because they consume far less energy over their normal use life.

This is the problem, you've been convinced of that by marketing. It isn't a simple as converting the bulbs expected lifetime to coal and patting yourself on the back.

Trakar
11th February 2011, 08:45 AM
So, after the incandescent "ban", which as far as I know covers 100 watts in 2012, then down to 40 watts in 2014, will I be able to purchase them anywhere? International mail order perhaps?

I have an outdoor motion sensor unit that doesn't seem to work with CFLs, all brands that I've tried just flicker in that unit. It was like $50.... (ETA: I understand this is the case with many dimmer units, as well as motion sensor units.) That's a lot of expensive hardware that will become useless everywhere.

ETA: Also, I can't find a fault in this quote from the bulb phase-out wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs):

I suspect that there will be means and methods of acquiring them, as a specialty item of limited manufacture, however, don't be surprised if the cost goes up immensely (~$10/bulb). In the long run it is going to be cheaper to replace the units (dimmer set-ups, sensor lights, etc.,) for units that function with CFLs, ...or skip that step and go straight to the LED solution, which should work in all incandescent fixtures, but you are again going to pay high prices for the bulbs for a few years till production is ramped up. Either way it sounds like expensive bulbs are in the works for a few years, but the LEDs should be dropping in price and last a long time, whereas the incandescents will be rising prices and short life-spans.

Ziggurat
11th February 2011, 08:52 AM
This is the problem, you've been convinced of that by marketing.

I've been convinced of that by my electric bill.

It isn't a simple as converting the bulbs expected lifetime to coal and patting yourself on the back.

And yet, the method YOU tried to use instead got it completely wrong. Hmmm... who to believe... you or my lying utility provider?

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 09:04 AM
Ooooh! Chemicals!
I'm NOT a "greenie", in no small part because I'm NOT paranoid about "chemicals".

Good for you! Remember- "Baby steps".


But if you want to talk about toxic heavy metals, i've got bad news for you: coal power plants spread it "all over the place" a lot more than CFL's do.

That's ridiculous, did you think this out? There's mercury and arsenic from CFL's that was never there before. You're aware that there isn't a coal plant in every home, but there are CFL's right?


And not just mercury either. Cutting down on power consumption (and a far larger percentage of marginal power consumption in the US is from coal than the total percentage) is a very good thing when it comes to heavy metal pollution.

No, there's been no reduction in coal use since CFL's were introduced, and consumption only took a dip when the economy did. There are more coal plants scheduled for construction and it's the fastest growing source of electricity Worldwide.


It makes perfect sense for home use. My own utility bills are lower because of them.

Sure they are. I'm sure you've convinced yourself of that but never actually audited yourself before and after installing them to actually make this statement on anything but an assumption. How sure are you that it's not just the placebo effect?


Congratulations. You've finally said something I agree with. I have never been in favor of outlawing incandescents of any wattage, and I have never argued for it either.

I can see how requiring businesses to make the switch could be beneficial, but I'm simply not convinced they're any better in the home. I think they delude people into thinking things are all right and they are doing their part for the environment.

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 09:12 AM
I've been convinced of that by my electric bill.

Sure you are. ;) I bet the utility company set a guy out to check your meter after you switched because they couldn't believe how little electricity you were using.


And yet, the method YOU tried to use instead got it completely wrong. Hmmm... who to believe... you or my lying utility provider?

lol, if you think your utility provider wants you to save electricity you really are deluding yourself.

ben m
11th February 2011, 09:41 AM
So we can't do any analysis at all. How much arsenic, in micrograms, is there in an LED, how much power does it use, how much power does an incandescent use, how much mercury, in grams, is released by that power generation, how much home-heating-energy does an incandescent offset ... ?

No, the only analysis 3bodyproblem will accept is:

a) There are nonzero amounts of heavy metals in LEDs.
b) You can't compare this to anything else, that's all obscured by "marketing".

End of analysis.

Ziggurat
11th February 2011, 09:52 AM
lol, if you think your utility provider wants you to save electricity you really are deluding yourself.

That's the whole point! They DON'T have an incentive to drop my utility bill. And yet, it dropped. It didn't drop because they WANT it to, it didn't drop because they're trying to convince me of anything, it dropped because I used less power, and they had NO CHOICE but to charge me less money because I used less power.

You really missed the boat on that one, 3body.

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 09:58 AM
That's the whole point! They DON'T have an incentive to drop my utility bill. And yet, it dropped. It didn't drop because they WANT it to, it didn't drop because they're trying to convince me of anything, it dropped because I used less power, and they had NO CHOICE but to charge me less money because I used less power.

You really missed the boat on that one, 3body.

Sure it dropped. By how much?

(this is where you scramble to calculate the fake number)

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 10:03 AM
So we can't do any analysis at all. How much arsenic, in micrograms, is there in an LED, how much power does it use, how much power does an incandescent use, how much mercury, in grams, is released by that power generation, how much home-heating-energy does an incandescent offset ... ?

No, the only analysis 3bodyproblem will accept is:

a) There are nonzero amounts of heavy metals in LEDs.
b) You can't compare this to anything else, that's all obscured by "marketing".

End of analysis.

Well I can produce a year long study that showed an 8% INCREASE in electricity usage after a town switched to CFL's. You know,scientific evidence, cold hard facts. What have you got? More stories about how your electrical bill dropped? An app at your utility company website?

I want evidence these things save energy and coal. I haven't seen any, in fact quite the opposite.

Got facts?

Trakar
11th February 2011, 10:17 AM
This is the problem, you've been convinced of that by marketing. It isn't a simple as converting the bulbs expected lifetime to coal and patting yourself on the back.

Actually, I've been convinced of that because I can actually measure how much electricity they consume in their operations and how much light they produce. As opposed to reading some rant on a political blog and equating it with reality.

Of course, there are independent measurements of such, by the official entities who perform such assessments for a variety of purposes, and independent private entities seeking to answer these same questions,...assuming that you have a problem with my personal evaluations and assessments.

http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/corporate/newsroom/storyideas/compactfluorescentlamps/

http://www.iea.org/papers/2010/phase_out.pdf

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/news/4215199

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/home-improvement/hardware-building-supplies/lightbulbs/cfls/overview/cfl-ov-.htm

And ultimately, it isn't that difficult to perform such measurements and assessments for your self with a good multimeter and photometer/lux meter.

Ziggurat
11th February 2011, 10:19 AM
No, there's been no reduction in coal use since CFL's were introduced

There's been a reduction in MY use of coal since CFL's were introduced into my house.

There are more coal plants scheduled for construction and it's the fastest growing source of electricity Worldwide.

Surprise, surprise: lighting isn't the only use for electricity, and the demand for other applications keeps rising. Do you actually have a point?

Sure they are. I'm sure you've convinced yourself of that but never actually audited yourself before and after installing them to actually make this statement on anything but an assumption. How sure are you that it's not just the placebo effect?

I'm quite sure. The numbers on my bill matched with my rough calculations of expected power use based on wattage and time used.

Unless you think I'm not only fooling myself about the power I use, but the CFL manufacturers are lying about the wattage of their bulbs too. Is that what you think? Do you think the wattage ratings are all a big giant fraud?

I can see how requiring businesses to make the switch could be beneficial, but I'm simply not convinced they're any better in the home.

Better? Oh, I never said they were better. Whether they're better or not depends on what you care about. Sitting in the dark isn't better as far as I'm concerned, but it's more environmentally friendly. Some people really like the light from incandescents more than CFL's, so even if CFL's cost nothing and used no energy they wouldn't be better for those people. I don't mind the CFL light quality, so the reduced electricity consumption and lifetime cost make them better for me.

I think they delude people into thinking things are all right and they are doing their part for the environment.

I'm sure plenty of people get CFL's in order to "go green" without thinking beyond that. But I don't really care, it doesn't really matter. I use them because they save me money. And they save me money as a consequence of having a lower environmental impact through reduced electricity consumption. That's really just a little perk, the money is what motivates me.

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 10:29 AM
Actually, I've been convinced of that because I can actually measure how much electricity they consume in their operations and how much light they produce. As opposed to reading some rant on a political blog and equating it with reality.

Well, don't keep us in suspense, let's see your data. The before and after, the bottom line.

How do you know you didn't just change your habits? What was your benchmark? Did you do it all at once, or over time? Did you keep records for year? 2 years? Did you vacation more? Sleeping patterns?

No more anecdotes, let's get down to business.

Trakar
11th February 2011, 10:35 AM
That's ridiculous, did you think this out? There's mercury and arsenic from CFL's that was never there before. You're aware that there isn't a coal plant in every home, but there are CFL's right?


There are at least some CFLs in about 53% of US homes right now, of course the mercury in those is generally sealed away inside glass tubing, not in the air you breath or water you drink. There is air and water contaminated with coal combustion toxins in virtually 100% of all homes world-wide.


No, there's been no reduction in coal use since CFL's were introduced, and consumption only took a dip when the economy did. There are more coal plants scheduled for construction and it's the fastest growing source of electricity Worldwide.


Talk about disingenuous!
Are you really trying to imply that the only use of electricity is lighting, and thus since some lighting has been switched to CFLs and there is still an increasing demand for more and more electricity that they actually encourage the use of more electricity,...seriously?!?!

...I can see how requiring businesses to make the switch could be beneficial, but I'm simply not convinced they're any better in the home. I think they delude people into thinking things are all right and they are doing their part for the environment.

I see, it's a conspiracy!

Communists or illuminati?

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 10:37 AM
There's been a reduction in MY use of coal since CFL's were introduced into my house.

OK. Let's see some evidence. Right now I'm sure you're lying, but I'm game.


Surprise, surprise: lighting isn't the only use for electricity, and the demand for other applications keeps rising. Do you actually have a point?

Yes, you've been brainwashed and don't have any evidence CFL's do what they claim.


I'm quite sure. The numbers on my bill matched with my rough calculations of expected power use based on wattage and time used.

Cool story.


Unless you think I'm not only fooling myself about the power I use, but the CFL manufacturers are lying about the wattage of their bulbs too. Is that what you think? Do you think the wattage ratings are all a big giant fraud?

Yes, you are fooling yourself. Not me. Evidence?


I use them because they save me money. And they save me money as a consequence of having a lower environmental impact through reduced electricity consumption. That's really just a little perk, the money is what motivates me.

They can, but do they? I've heard stories, lots of stories, but no evidence. People don't mind telling you how much they save on their energy bill, but never any evidence.

I'll start another thread about the price of electricity going up and suddenly nobody is happy with their energy bills.

I'm calling placebo effect on CFL's.

Ziggurat
11th February 2011, 10:41 AM
Yes, you've been brainwashed and don't have any evidence CFL's do what they claim.

I don't have any evidence that CFL's use less power than incandescents?

So the listed wattage ratings are all a big giant fraud? A conspiracy, in fact, since they're tested by third parties like Underwriter's Laboratory?

Who exactly do you think is buying this, 3body? What paranoid rabbit hole have you gone down?

excaza
11th February 2011, 10:45 AM
Who exactly do you think is buying this, 3body? What paranoid rabbit hole have you gone down?

A deep one.

excaza
11th February 2011, 10:51 AM
I know this will get handwaved away because it was done by the evil government, but....

http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/promotions/change_light/downloads/Fact_Sheet_Mercury.pdf

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 10:51 AM
There is air and water contaminated with coal combustion toxins in virtually 100% of all homes world-wide.

Evidence? Talk is cheap. Let's see some graphs or something. The real issue is cooling water and that means lakes and streams and that's where the mercury ends up. But you say 100% of the world, let's see some data, some concentration levels near power plants etc.




Are you really trying to imply that the only use of electricity is lighting,

No incandescent light bulbs are only used for lighting. Anyways...:boggled:



I see, it's a conspiracy!

Communists or illuminati?

Conspiracy? Hell no. Something much more powerful, fad. The hula-hopp, cabbage patch kids, beanie babies and tickle me elmo. People are collecting CFL's and talkin bout how much money they save on their electric bills and how much coal they don't burn. :rolleyes:

You got that .pdf of your experiment ready yet? I'm willing to read it. Until then it's just stories. Did you read any of the responses to the Popular Mechanics study? In the real world CFL's don't seem to last as long or save any money.

excaza
11th February 2011, 10:58 AM
Conspiracy? Hell no. Something much more powerful, fad. The hula-hopp, cabbage patch kids, beanie babies and tickle me elmo. People are collecting CFL's and talkin bout how much money they save on their electric bills and how much coal they don't burn. :rolleyes:

CFLs use roughly 1/5th of the power as an incandescent to produce the equivalent lumens. Lower power is less electricity.

You got that .pdf of your experiment ready yet? I'm willing to read it. Until then it's just stories. Did you read any of the responses to the Popular Mechanics study? In the real world CFL's don't seem to last as long or save any money.
Studies have shown that CFLs can have a surprisingly high failure rate (~10% in some cases, last I checked). CFLs can also tend to dim before the end of their useful lifespan, and don't perform very well in recessed lighting.

Personally, I believe the push should be on LEDs (that's what I use), but they have some heat problems that still need to be worked out before they can be produced in enough quantity to lower the cost. They are even more efficient than CFLs, and produce a more desirable light quality.

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 11:04 AM
I don't have any evidence that CFL's use less power than incandescents?

Nope.


So the listed wattage ratings are all a big giant fraud?

Nope.


A conspiracy, in fact, since they're tested by third parties like Underwriter's Laboratory?

Nope.


Who exactly do you think is buying this, 3body? What paranoid rabbit hole have you gone down?

I'm saying you've bought it obviously.

You're claiming without any evidence you're electricity bill went down. It should have, but did it? How do you know your behaviour didn't change? What metric did use to determine your bill actually went down?

I've got a study showing people didn't conserve and didn't save energy, it in fact went UP. That's a considerable departure from what it should have gone down.

You looked at a calculator and assumed your bill would go down. Did you actually calculate what it should have gone down based on the number of bulbs and measure it to make certain? Have the bulbs lasted as long as rated? Did you make the base with the date when you installed them?

I'm just saying there's a lot of talk about how much they're saving on their electric bill, when in reality the amount they save on their bill would be almost unnoticeable. Unless you changed every bulb in your house at the same time and took into account your usage before and after, it's entirely possible you didn't decrease your usage.

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 11:12 AM
CFLs use roughly 1/5th of the power as an incandescent to produce the equivalent lumens. Lower power is less electricity.

There's no disputing this. I'm just questioning if people actually conserve energy. I have a study that suggests people don't. There are constantly people saying "I saved money on my electric bill" but how many of them actually know? For most people their usage changes month to month more than they would save switching to CFL's. Plus people don't usually switch them all at once.

There should be more people saying "I'm not really sure if I'm saving money or not, it's hard to tell. I'll have to keep track over the next year or two and see" Than "Well my electricity bill is down, they obviously work!"

Now tshaitanku and ziggy are saying their bills went down, I believe tshaitanaku might have done some actual investigating, but I don't believe for a second ziggy did like he claims. I think a lot of people are claiming their bill went down without actually knowing it did. It's not as easy as they are making it out to be. That makes me wonder.

Ziggurat
11th February 2011, 11:19 AM
You're claiming without any evidence you're electricity bill went down.

I'm not claiming that without evidence. I'm just not going to dig up my electric bills (which aren't where I am right now) in order to present that evidence directly to you.

It should have, but did it? How do you know your behaviour didn't change?

Well, I'd need to leave the lights on at least four times as long in order to use the same amount of energy. And yes, I'm VERY sure I don't do that. I'm a cheap bastard, always have been, and I'm conscientious about turning lights off when I leave a room.

What metric did use to determine your bill actually went down?

kilowatt hours AND price (the rate didn't really change while I made the switch). What else would I use?

I've got a study showing people didn't conserve and didn't save energy, it in fact went UP.

I've seen mention of a study. I've not seen the actual study. And even in the mentioning of such a study, I saw no indication that power used by residential lighting went up on a per-person basis.

That's a considerable departure from what it should have gone down.

Unless, of course, the dominant effect came from something completely unrelated to residential lighting usage.

You looked at a calculator and assumed your bill would go down.

Yup. And then it did.

Have the bulbs lasted as long as rated?

So far most of them have. They haven't reached their expected lifetimes yet, but I've already recouped much of their cost. If they all fail tomorrow I'll have lost money, but I don't anticipate that happening.. I've had a few early failures, but if the premature failure rate stays as low as its been until the expected lifetime, then I'll have saved money overall. A fair amount of money compared to the purchase price.

I'm just saying there's a lot of talk about how much they're saving on their electric bill, when in reality the amount they save on their bill would be almost unnoticeable.

Except I noticed it.

Unless you changed every bulb in your house at the same time

Over the course of about a month, yes, that's pretty much what I did: I converted most of my house to CFL's. The remaining incandescents are used very infrequently.

it's entirely possible you didn't decrease your usage.

Not unless the listed wattages are wildly wrong. Which I feel quite safe assuming are not.

Trakar
11th February 2011, 11:22 AM
Well, don't keep us in suspense, let's see your data. The before and after, the bottom line.

How do you know you didn't just change your habits? What was your benchmark? Did you do it all at once, or over time? Did you keep records for year? 2 years? Did you vacation more? Sleeping patterns?

No more anecdotes, let's get down to business.

I used a lux meter to measure the visible light output of a set of 60-Watt incandescent bulbs, and to measure the visible light output of a set of 13-Watt CFLs. The CFLs produced an average of about 5% more light in the visible light spectrum than the incandescents. I then plugged the utility fixture into a "Kill-a-Watt" meter and assessed the amount of energy each lamp consumed. The CFLs averaged 13.2 Watts and the incandescents averaged 69.8 Watts. Based on these numbers it is rather simple to calculate the difference in household lighting energy consumed for all incandescent vs all CFL. Straight-forward, direct, and simple, regardless of any other indirect variables which would tend to distort or confuse the issues of lighting vs other uses, seasonal/weather variations, and electrical prices rather than clarify them.

Trakar
11th February 2011, 11:26 AM
Well I can produce a year long study that showed an 8% INCREASE in electricity usage after a town switched to CFL's. You know,scientific evidence, cold hard facts. What have you got? More stories about how your electrical bill dropped? An app at your utility company website?

I want evidence these things save energy and coal. I haven't seen any, in fact quite the opposite.

Got facts?

Please produce any study you have which indicates that there is was an 8% increase in the amount of electricity used for lighting subsequent to a town of the same economic size shifting from incandescent lighting to CFL lighting.

Trakar
11th February 2011, 11:34 AM
...You got that .pdf of your experiment ready yet? I'm willing to read it. Until then it's just stories. Did you read any of the responses to the Popular Mechanics study? In the real world CFL's don't seem to last as long or save any money.

So the only anecdotes you accept are those that confirm your predetermined biases,...I see.

Amazing that you deny the empirical evidences offered with handwaving dismissals while focussing on anecdotal rants from politically motivated respondants to some of the empirical studies, all without ever engaging in any real or substantive investigations of your own,...what a peculiar method of understanding the world,...you do realize that this site is dedicated to true skepticism, critical thinking and science,...don't you?

Trakar
11th February 2011, 11:41 AM
...Studies have shown that CFLs can have a surprisingly high failure rate (~10% in some cases, last I checked). CFLs can also tend to dim before the end of their useful lifespan, and don't perform very well in recessed lighting.

Personally, I believe the push should be on LEDs (that's what I use), but they have some heat problems that still need to be worked out before they can be produced in enough quantity to lower the cost. They are even more efficient than CFLs, and produce a more desirable light quality.

I would be interested in reading these studies, I know that some of this was true of many of the earlier (70s-early 90s) lamps, but most of the studies I have seen regarding modern CFLs tend to come to the conclusion that these concerns seem to be greatly exaggerated perceptions (myths) more than reality. I am always interested in evidences and facts, however, and would appreciate any references you could point to.

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 11:41 AM
I'm not claiming that without evidence. I'm just not going to dig up my electric bills (which aren't where I am right now) in order to present that evidence directly to you.

Riiight. I'm not buying your excuses. You have no evidence.


Well, I'd need to leave the lights on at least four times as long in order to use the same amount of energy. And yes, I'm VERY sure I don't do that. I'm a cheap bastard, always have been, and I'm conscientious about turning lights off when I leave a room.

Anecdote.


I've seen mention of a study. I've not seen the actual study. And even in the mentioning of such a study, I saw no indication that power used by residential lighting went up on a per-person basis.

But you saw a calculator and that's good enough for you. OK. :rolleyes:



So far most of them have.

Di you factor that into your "study"?



They haven't reached their expected lifetimes yet, but I've already recouped much of their cost.

You think you did.


If they all fail tomorrow I'll have lost money, but I don't anticipate that happening..

If you do I know where there's million bucks we could make.


I've had a few early failures, but if the premature failure rate stays as low as its been until the expected lifetime, then I'll have saved money overall. A fair amount of money compared to the purchase price.

You think you have, but this is all done in your head, there's no actual hard data is there? You know how memories are. Especially at your age.


Except I noticed it.

I'm sure you think you did.


Over the course of about a month, yes, that's pretty much what I did: I converted most of my house to CFL's. The remaining incandescents are used very infrequently.

Spring, summer, fall, winter? How many days were sunny and how many were cloudy from one month to the next?


Not unless the listed wattages are wildly wrong. Which I feel quite safe assuming are not.

I'm sorry it doesn't work like that. You know what they say about assuming ;)



Since I know you're not bad at math (as bad as you pretend) I'm going to run something by you.

The month you changed you bulbs to CFL's how many times did you cook? On the stove or in the oven? How many times after the change? I'm just curious, but let's say the month you changed to CFL's you bought a 3lb. roast or a nice fryer. How would that affect your bill? Figure 20 minutes per pound, and you preheated the oven for 15 minutes. What percentage of your savings from CFL's does that represent?

Do you see what I'm getting at?

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 11:46 AM
I used a lux meter to measure the visible light output of a set of 60-Watt incandescent bulbs, and to measure the visible light output of a set of 13-Watt CFLs. The CFLs produced an average of about 5% more light in the visible light spectrum than the incandescents. I then plugged the utility fixture into a "Kill-a-Watt" meter and assessed the amount of energy each lamp consumed. The CFLs averaged 13.2 Watts and the incandescents averaged 69.8 Watts. Based on these numbers it is rather simple to calculate the difference in household lighting energy consumed for all incandescent vs all CFL. Straight-forward, direct, and simple, regardless of any other indirect variables which would tend to distort or confuse the issues of lighting vs other uses, seasonal/weather variations, and electrical prices rather than clarify them.

Awesome. Now all we need is the before and after bill and I'll eat my hat ;)

(It sounds like you wasted a lot of electricity doing this though)

Trakar
11th February 2011, 11:49 AM
...Do you see what I'm getting at?

Yep, there are a lot of ways to cloud and confuse issues if you tangent off into indirect irrelevencies instead of focussing on simple direct comparisons of relevence.

Furcifer
11th February 2011, 11:52 AM
So the only anecdotes you accept are those that confirm your predetermined biases,...I see.

Ahh, no. I read a rather in depth study about spectrum and lighting qualities, then I happened to notice most of the people responding, with real world experience seemed to disagree. I found that noteworthy when discussing the difference between the lab and the real world.

It's one thing to hook a light up to a kW meter to a light bub in a lab and leave it running for a year, and another to flip it on and off once and a while or leave it out in the rain etc.

It's time to take notice when people are telling you "It ain't like that".

excaza
11th February 2011, 11:56 AM
I would be interested in reading these studies, I know that some of this was true of many of the earlier (70s-early 90s) lamps, but most of the studies I have seen regarding modern CFLs tend to come to the conclusion that these concerns seem to be greatly exaggerated perceptions (myths) more than reality. I am always interested in evidences and facts, however, and would appreciate any references you could point to.

I'll have to dig it up, I read it last year as part of some coursework, so I could be remembering incorrectly.

Ziggurat
11th February 2011, 11:57 AM
Riiight. I'm not buying your excuses. You have no evidence.

Your standards for evidence are... inconsistent. To put it charitably.

If you do I know where there's million bucks we could make.

It's hardly extraordinary to assume that most of my lightbulbs will last about as long as their rated lifetime.

You think you have, but this is all done in your head, there's no actual hard data is there? You know how memories are. Especially at your age.

While we're on the subject of Randi's million dollars, what do you think my age is, and how did you figure it out?

Spring, summer, fall, winter? How many days were sunny and how many were cloudy from one month to the next?

Going from summer into fall. So the light change would have led to increased usage. But I still saved overall.

I'm sorry it doesn't work like that. You know what they say about assuming ;)

Oh, so you do believe in a massive fraud and conspiracy to completely mislabel the wattages of CFL's. Or at least you think this is a plausible scenario. Good to know.

You know what else I assume? I assume that Obama is not an invisible lesbian Israeli robot.

Do you see what I'm getting at?

I do: you're trying desperately to come up for reasons why using CFL's wouldn't reduce my power consumption, based on absolutely no evidence, and despite the fact that they use less power.

It's really kind of sad at this point. The fact that lower-power appliances use less power shouldn't be controversial.