« Back to Home Page

Ban the Lightbulb? It Could Save Billions.

| Monday February 6th, 2006 | 6 Comments

bulb.jpgEveryone knows that compact florescent bulbs and LEDs are far more efficient than the standard lightbulb. This interesting BBC piece suggests that incandescent bulbs are so inefficient that if they were introduced today “it is highly unlikely they would be allowed onto the market.” It goes so far as to (only partly in jest) suggest that the old style bulbs be banned. With lighting using up 5-10% of the world’s energy, and plenty of subsidies available, it’s not such a crazy idea!


▼▼▼      6 Comments     ▼▼▼

Newsletter Signup
  • BenE

    LEDs are not that efficient except for flashligh sized bulbs. That’s because flashlight incandescent are insanely inefficient. Fluorescent is the way to go for general lighting.

  • Lonetree

    Put a tax on incandescent lightblubs and have the funds go to either rebates on flourescents or to renewable energy production/research.

  • http://sustainablelog.blogspot.com Mark Brandon

    The beneficiaries of more efficient lighting need to do a better job of explaining the benefits. John Q. Consumer sees a compact flourescent for $6 in the store, next to a pack of 4 incandescents for $2.50.
    One of the books advertised in your reading list, “Natural Capitalism” offers a great suggestion for this problem. Someone should make lighting a service, whereby both the consumer and the ESCO are rewarded for wringing efficiencies out of the system.
    Mark Brandon
    Sustainable Log – News and Views for Socially Responsible Investors
    http://sustainablelog.blogspot.com
    http://www.firstsustainable.com
    When you subscribe to Sustainable Log, we give $1 to Alternative Gifts International in support of a cause of your choice.

  • Sherry C.

    There is something in this debate that is being ignored and that is a REAL medical issue posed by flourescent lighting. As someone who suffers from a seizure disorder, any extended exposure to the high frequency flickering of a flourescent bulb literally triggers seizure activity. If this would become the only source of lighting available, I would be forced to live in a home that would make me ill, work in an office that makes me ill, and shop or go into stores everytime that make me ill. As it is right now, I can tolerate small amounts of time (thanks to medication) under flourescent bulbs, allowing me to fullfil my role as wife, mother, consumer, employee. I know I am not the only person with this disorder, so I know that there are those out there who may not yet know of this push. I am concerned about our environment, but this is where I have to put my concern secondary to my health. There have to be other ways, and other things we can do. I just ask that before we (as a society and world) take the step to ban these bulbs, we learn the whole effect, and realize that the damage it has the potential to do far outweighs the benefit.

  • Janet Kaye Love, MSSW, MBA, LPC, NCC

    The push to use fluorescent lights could be very bad for many people with disabilities. The Job Accommodation Network (http://www.jan.wvu.edu) lists reduction or elimination of fluorescent lighting as an appropriate accommodation for many conditions. In addition to causing headache, fatigue, and problems with light sensitivity, they are listed as problematic for individuals with epilepsy, migraine, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, and vertigo (related to cardiovascular problems, multiple scleroses, and several other disorders.) I have also seen accounts of difficulties faced by individuals with hyperactivity, autism and anxiety. Fluorescent treatment of depression can have the side effect of mania.
    When I talk about my own sensitivity (resulting in seizure activity regardless of the type of fluorescent), approximately 15% of the population respond with stories about symptoms from this type of lighting, most commonly headache, fatigue and confusion. I find that many people are not aware that their lights are causing their symptoms, until they start thinking about the circumstances the problems occur in.
    Doctors are not talking about this either; they are using the troublesome lights. I had uncontrollable seizures for 20 years before I figured out the lights were triggering most of my problems. The doctor said he was not surprised, and told me about some of the many other problems people have! No one even suggested I consider it before that.
    When standard lighting triggers severe health problems, one is excluded from many important activities. It seems to me that if cement were as valuable as energy, we would be telling people in wheelchairs that it is not reasonable to expect a ramp. I was very disappointed to learn that cities have started developing building codes encourage, or even specify, that this health hazard be implemented in much of the new construction.
    Compact fluorescents for household use should come with a hazard warning! The ideal would be to exclude fluorescents from commercial use with accessibility standards. Certainly, with the recent increases in problems experienced by children, this issue should at least be addressed in schools.
    Please consider taking action to reverse this trend. Write your city, state and national legislators to make them aware of this problem. They are starting to pass laws to make incandescent bulbs illegal, which would leave some of us completely in the dark. We need to look further for alternatives that do not harm any one, or leave them stuck outside, or in the dark.

  • Janet Kaye Love, MSSW, MBA, LPC, NCC

    The push to use fluorescent lights could be very bad for many people with disabilities. The Job Accommodation Network (http://www.jan.wvu.edu) lists reduction or elimination of fluorescent lighting as an appropriate accommodation for many conditions. In addition to causing headache, fatigue, and problems with light sensitivity, they are listed as problematic for individuals with epilepsy, migraine, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, and vertigo (related to cardiovascular problems, multiple scleroses, and several other disorders.) I have also seen accounts of difficulties faced by individuals with hyperactivity, autism and anxiety. Fluorescent treatment of depression can have the side effect of mania.
    When I talk about my own sensitivity (resulting in seizure activity regardless of the type of fluorescent), approximately 15% of the population respond with stories about symptoms from this type of lighting, most commonly headache, fatigue and confusion. I find that many people are not aware that their lights are causing their symptoms, until they start thinking about the circumstances the problems occur in.
    Doctors are not talking about this either; they are using the troublesome lights. I had uncontrollable seizures for 20 years before I figured out the lights were triggering most of my problems. The doctor said he was not surprised, and told me about some of the many other problems people have! No one even suggested I consider it before that.
    When standard lighting triggers severe health problems, one is excluded from many important activities. It seems to me that if cement were as valuable as energy, we would be telling people in wheelchairs that it is not reasonable to expect a ramp. I was very disappointed to learn that cities have started developing building codes encourage, or even specify, that this health hazard be implemented in much of the new construction.
    Compact fluorescents for household use should come with a hazard warning! The ideal would be to exclude fluorescents from commercial use with accessibility standards. Certainly, with the recent increases in problems experienced by children, this issue should at least be addressed in schools.
    Please consider taking action to reverse this trend. Write your city, state and national legislators to make them aware of this problem. They are starting to pass laws to make incandescent bulbs illegal, which would leave some of us completely in the dark. We need to look further for alternatives that do not harm any one, or leave them stuck outside, or in the dark.