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SC Lawmakers Try to Keep Traditional Light Bulbs on the Shelves

South Carolina legislators are attempting to circumvent a federal law that will force the phase-out of traditional light bulbs starting in 2012.

The Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act aims to permit manufacturers to make incandescent bulbs in the state, as long as the bulbs are stamped with the words “Made in South Carolina” and sold only in that state. Co-sponsor Rep. Bill Sandifer says that the federal government can’t tell consumers and business owners what kind of light bulbs they can use, the Associated Press reported.

“These rights to have the kind of light bulbs we want and need are our rights. They are not given to the federal government,” Sandifer said.

A federal law passed in 2007 sets efficiency standards for bulbs, which will require manufacturers to phase out most 100-watt incandescent bulbs in 2012, and discontinue 40-, 60- and 75-watt bulbs in 2014.

South Carolina has one company that makes incandescent bulbs, and Sandifer says the bill will encourage others to start up in the state. The bill’s supporters say that the federal law would hurt South Carolinans because they use the bulbs not only sources of light, but also of heat.

“Did you also know there’re a lot of people in rural areas of our state that still put a light bulb in their well house to keep it from freezing in the winter time or in their dog house to keep their dog from freezing?” Rep. Mike Pitts asked.

He also said that his granddaughter won’t be able to make him cakes in her Easy-Bake Oven anymore, which relies on an incandescent bulb as its heating element. But Easy-Bake maker Hasbro recently announced that in the fall it will launch a new version of the oven that does not use an incandescent bulb.

“This new oven features a heating element that does not use a light bulb and offers an extensive assortment of mixes reflective of the hottest baking trends for today,” Hasbro said.

Last year Arizona lawmakers tried to pass a law similar to South Carolina’s, but it was vetoed by Republican governor Jan Brewer. Such bills have also been considered in Texas, Georgia and Minnesota. But California is phasing out incandescents a year early.

Survey results released yesterday suggest that a large majority of Americans support the higher efficiency standards. Three out of five respondents (60 percent) were unaware of the federal law, but two-thirds (66 percent) feel that it is a good idea.

The poll by marketing agency EcoAlign found that a majority of Americans have installed some type of energy efficient lighting in their homes. Many of those polled – 41 percent – did not know whether their utility offers incentives for buying such lighting.

“Americans have fully embraced more energy efficient lighting options such as CFLs [compact fluorescent lamps] and LEDs [light emitting diodes],” EcoAlign CEO Jamie Wimberley said. The survey found that price is not the top consideration when Americans choose light bulbs. If cost is not a consideration, one-third consider CFLs to be the best option, and one-fourth prefer LEDs.

“A fundamental shift is occurring in American attitudes towards energy efficiency,” Wimberley said. “Efficiency is now more anchored in performance, meaning that more efficient products perform differently and better than less efficient products, and thus are more desired.”

Picture credit: Pablo Charlón

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34 thoughts on “SC Lawmakers Try to Keep Traditional Light Bulbs on the Shelves

  1. Okay – anyone ever try to use CFLs in their garage door opener? I bet not! And for a good reason. I’ve been experimenting with all sorts of manufacturers CFLs for this application and to date none have lasted more than six months with the typical CFL lasting about four months at best. Meanwhile in the adjacent spot in the opener the incandescent bulb has been working just fine for well over three years!

    CFLs are NOT the answer for all applications. With certain restrictions we need to keep incandescent bulbs available. At least until another equally robust solution comes along.

    Shock and Vibration kills CFLs! And replacing them three or more times a year is not only a waste of money but also a horrible burden on the eco-system relative to an incandescent bulb. We need to look at the bigger picture and not mandate technology for technologies sake.

  2. Just to clear up a misconception here: it is not true that replacing CFLs 3 times a year results in a “horrible burden on the eco-system relative to an incandescent bulb”.

    A study by the Australian CSIRO found that CFLs recoup the energy used to manufacture them in a matter of months. That is, they save more energy (over an incandescent) in that time than was used in their manufacture. For the rest of their useful lives, whether that is measured in months or in years, the energy they continue to save adds up.

    In another study (https://old.rmi.org/images/PDFs/Climate/C08-02_CFL_LCA.pdf), it was found that “Even with a cycle time of 5 minutes, CFLs still save 63.4 percent of of the CO2e emitted from incandescents. The environmental impact from CFLs is dramatically smaller than incandescents for all operating cycles” (quote taken from page 15).

  3. Many scientists still claim that CFL contain mercury which is exposed to the population, that they emit UV rays in a quantity that can harm eyes and skin, so everybody should be given the freedom of choice.

  4. This for Interested and your logic makes no sense. Here’s Amazon’s cost for GE 13-Watt Energy SmartTM – 8 Pack – 60 watt replacement

    http://www.amazon.com/GE-13-Watt-Energy-SmartTM-replacement/dp/B000NISDNU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301606886&sr=8-1

    or

    $7.99.

    1000bulbs.com

    http://1000bulbs.com/category/13-watt-cfl-compact-fluorescents-2700k/

    1.27 for ONE 60 watt equivalent.

    Since these bulbs ARE NOT lasting as long as intended, there’s hundreds of reports of this and even the boxes say that on/off cycles can shorten their life, and someone stated, vibration and shock are killing them in four months.

    If you replace the bulb four times a year, just for the SINGLE lowest end bulb, that’s $6.12. For the higher quality or Sylvania, which is $2.90 each, that’s $11.20 and you still have to deal with recycling. One 4 pack of GE 60 watts incans- $4.79 and probably cheaper at your local grocery store (our local grocery store selling 5 bulb packs for a dollar). Using the garage door example here, he will be spending almost THREE TIMES as much to replace that bulb, where the incan will be replaced in about two years and with a four pack, will have enough bulbs to keep going for at least another six years.

    Seriously, use math and logic.

    CFL’s ARE NOT cost efficient.

    “Even with a cycle time of 5 minutes, CFLs still save 63.4 percent of of the CO2e emitted from incandescents.

    When CO2 is brought in as a pollutant, I immediately discredit it. CFL’s have a high current draw at first, because of the switching power supply.

  5. Agree with Paladin

    Besides,
    it is about a ban, halogen incandescents have a whiter light and
    other differences, and cost much more for the small savings with them,
    which is why they are not popular today either with consumers or
    governments, who push CFL use.

    There is no present or future shortage of energy sources for electricity
    justifying telling what paying consumers can use,
    especially since the overall USA energy savings from light bulb regulations
    are less than 1% anyway,
    based on the Dept of Energy’s own statistics ( http://ceolas.net/#li171x )
    – remember the politicians keep including non-incandescent street and
    industrial lighting in the usual high usage percentages quoted.

    Much greater, and much more relevant, energy waste savings arise from
    effectively organized electricity generation and grid distribution,
    and from reducing the unnecessary use of appliances:
    rather than from stopping people in their choice of what appliance to use.

  6. @Paladin – “When CO2 is brought in as a pollutant, I immediately discredit it” – this stark statement immediately calls into question your objectivity and your willingness to accept the scientific facts. CO2 is mankind’s primary GHG pollutant. It is a pollutant in the sense that human-generated amounts of it are increasing, and are an unnatural addition to what is emitted otherwise. This additional CO2 is accumulating in our atmosphere and leading directly to global climate change. Those are all widely accepted scientific facts.

    “CFL’s have a high current draw at first, because of the switching power supply” – incandescents have an even higher initial power draw. In any event, the initial power draw pales in significance compared to the power drawn during steady state operation – even over a 30 second interval, let alone 5 minutes or longer periods. And incandescent steady state power draw dwarfs that for CFLs.

    “CFL’s ARE NOT cost efficient” – wrong again. Except for high switching rate applications, CFLs last approximately 10 times longer than equivalent incandescents. That has been proven numerous times, in numerous studies, and with the experiences of millions of customers. For high switching rate applications, the cost savings decrease, but the energy savings are still favorable for CFL use.

    Oh – and about those cost savings: you are forgetting about the energy cost to light those bulbs. Example: say one incandescent lasts about 750 hours before burning out. Over that lifetime, it burned about $3.38 more electricity than the equivalent incandescent would have (at $0.10 per KWhr). When you factor that ‘hidden’ cost into your above estimates, the picture changes completely.

  7. @José Rabello – This is from the EPA website:

    “The EPA estimates the U.S. is responsible for the release of 104 metric tons of mercury emissions each year. Most of these emissions come from coal-fired electrical power. Mercury released into the air is the main way that mercury gets into water and bio-accumulates in fish. (Eating fish contaminated with mercury is the main way for humans to be exposed.) Most mercury vapor inside CFLs becomes bound to the inside of the light bulb as it is used. EPA estimates that the rest of the mercury within a CFL – about 11 percent – is released into air or water when it is sent to a landfill, assuming the light bulb is broken. Therefore, if all 290 million CFLs sold in 2007 were sent to a landfill (versus recycled, as a worst case) – they would add 0.13 metric tons, or 0.1 percent, to U.S. mercury emissions caused by humans.”

    Incandescents release far more mercury into the environment than do CFLs – since incandescents require so much more electricity than do CFLs.

    And with respect to UV radiation: CFLs emit practically NO UV radiation. That’s what the interior bulb coating is for: to convert UV radiation into visible wavelengths for useful light output. And by the way, did you know that incandescents also give off UV radiation?

  8. Thumbs up for Paladin!

    What if CFLs and LEDs are so good?
    “Expensive to buy but cheap in the long run”?
    Battery (Energizer bunny!) and washing up liquid manufacturers can
    imaginatively advertise and sell such products – if they are good
    enough.
    So can light bulb and other manufacturers,
    rather than force people into buying overly-expensive inferior
    products they would not otherwise buy….

    How manufacturers and vested interests have pushed for the ban on
    regular light bulbs,
    and lobbied for CFL favors: http://ceolas.net/#li1ax
    with documentation and copies of official communications

  9. Doug,

    You’re missing the point, these bulbs are NOT lasting as long as intended. My parents own a clothing salon. I am doing the primary maintenance. The fixtures use 75 watt incans and 45-60 watt floods. We spent almost $1000 on eco friendly bulbs when we first opened four years ago, the most they lasted was two months, along with a couple of pretty spectacular flameouts. I even special ordered another commercial grade set and they only lasted 4 months. The light quality was absolutely horrible and I had to research to find ones that were in the same color temperature, even then it wasn’t consistent. I also was fed up with changing bulbs all the time and the flameouts worried me. I switched to 10,000 hour incans both the 75 watts and the floods, and the overall light quality was unbelievable, it was night and day.It was so much brighter. All the jewelry and decorations on the clothes now sparkle. Even our customers commented on the difference. Best of all, I haven’t had to change a bulb in three years. There’s something wrong with this picture.

    The next flaw in the logic is this. Lighting makes up less than 6% of the entire draw on the grid.

    Pwr gens have to keep a certain amount of reserve online to handle spikes and insure stability. That never changes. Here’s why. Take a hot summer day in the south, pwr gens ramp up during the afternoon to handle the a/c load, then ramp down again during the off peak hours. Lighting, especially residential, is used during the OFF PEAK hours, when the demand is the lowest. <—read that again.

    How is it that something that's actually used during lowest demand time of day, is actually going keep plants from being built, or taken off line? Especially when they have to ramp up again the next day to handle the load?

    When I talk about switching power supplies, I am talking about the power supplies themselves. Look up the different between capacitive/inductive loads vs. pure resistance. Motors (inductive loads) often use start/run capacitors to reduce the draw on startup.

    On mercury, you can’t have it both ways. There’s about as much mercury in CFL’s as the dot at the end of this sentence. Multiply that times a thousand for these bulbs that won’t be recycled, and then you have a real problem. Plus the mercury from coal plants can be scrubbed, where the mercury from these bulbs is going directly into the landfills. The greens need to realize that a realistic large scale recycling program for these bulbs is simply non existent. That guy that lives out in the country, 15 miles from Home Depot sure the hell is not going to drive back into town for a stupid light bulb. That bulb is going into the trash, or worse yet, burned. This bulbs are also getting banned from landfills, so exactly what are we supposed to do?

    In old style thermometers, The typical "fever thermometer" contains between 0.5 to 3 g (.3 to 1.7 dr) of elemental mercury.[4] Swallowing this amount of mercury would, it is said, pose little danger but the inhaling of the vapour could lead to health problems. (Wiki)

    This is equal to 125 CFLs. Considering that just one home with a total of 30 sockets, three homes not recycling will blow that through that 125 quickly. EPA=estimates, this is hard math and math doesn't lie or have a vested interest in keeping quiet or being bought off by the highest bidder.

    Companies/corporations are required to recycle long tube fluorescent bulbs.

    CO2 issues- again, math doesn't lie.

    http://brneurosci.org/co2.html

    Found this today

    http://servv89pn0aj.sn.sourcedns.com/~gbpprorg/mil/mindcontrol/global_warming_hoax/

  10. @lighthouse – Your statement that “There is no present or future shortage of energy sources for electricity”; isn’t even on topic. The point is not whether or not there will be electricity in the future. The point is that the current forms of electricity production mostly rely on burning fossil fuels, which releases CO2 that contributes to global climate change. In every single instance where a traditional incandescent can be switched to a CFL, that switch allows for a 75% reduction in the amount of fossil fuels burned in order to provide that light source (not merely 1% – and by the way, that link you provided is to a very dubious website filled with shaky arguments and bad assumptions – I wouldn’t trust it if I were you). That’s a worthy goal.

    You then state “Much greater, and much more relevant, energy waste savings arise from
    effectively organized electricity generation and grid distribution, and from reducing the unnecessary use of appliances”. Your ‘relevancy’ comment is meaningless – all energy savings are relevant. In addition, electricity generation is already organized in a highly effective manner, so that comment is likewise meaningless. Grid distribution could stand alot of improvement, so this is the first (and only) point we agree on. But improving grid distribution does not mean that we should not also be improving the efficiency of how that delivered electricity is used, as in lighting efficiency for example. So we are still back to CFLs.

    We as a cociety need to address global climate change and other urgent issues. We need to address them in many ways – renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid distribution, etc., etc. CFLs are one valid way to proceed. I firmly conclude that the federal law in question is very thoroughly justified.

  11. @Doug,

    The point Lighthouse was trying to make is this, CFL’s mean nothing in terms of energy savings. The main energy issues are HVAC, clothes dryers, water heaters, cooking, and to some extent, the proliferation of “energy vampires” or small plug in chargers/electronic equipment on standby. Also large commercial/industrial complexes.

    Energy efficiency standards HAVE been implemented on a variety of appliances, most often at the expense of performance, one notable mention is ceiling fans. Current limiters on new fans won’t allow for more than 190 watts total draw, that includes both the fan and light kit. If this limit is reached, the fan and lights shut off. Performance is severely limited because of the smaller motors and that’s why I ripped all my newer fans out and replaced them with 50-70 year old fans. It’s night and day. Because they move so much more air, the a/c doesn’t run nearly as much. Anyway, I digress but do you see the paradox here?

    On electricity transmission losses are about 6%.

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

    In every single instance where a traditional incandescent can be switched to a CFL, that switch allows for a 75% reduction in the amount of fossil fuels burned in order to provide that light source

    ^show me the math please. This is a very dubious claim. Again, considering the true load of residential lighting on the grid. Changing ONE lightbulb might reduce the load less than .001%

  12. @Paladin – You are the one missing the point. To wit: “How is it that something that’s actually used during lowest demand time of day, is actually going keep plants from being built, or taken off line? Especially when they have to ramp up again the next day to handle the load?” The point is not to avoid building plants. The point is to keep fossil fuels from being needlessly burned and needlessly releasing CO2. Since 75% less electricity is required to light a CFL vs. an incandescent, less CO2 is released while keeping that CFL lit. On peak or off peak – it makes no difference.

    “The next flaw in the logic is this. Lighting makes up less than 6% of the entire draw on the grid”. This is not a logic flaw. I stand by my point that a CFL draws 75% less electricity than an equivalent incandescent.

    I fully grasp the differences between capacitive, resistive, and inductive loads. All real-life loads have all three components, and therefore all loads have startup power draws that are different than steady state operation. That holds true for incandescents just as much as it does for CFLs. And I also stand by my statement that the startup power draw for an incandescent is greater than it is for a CFL. I also stand by my statement that, as far al the lighting options are concerned, the startup power draw is completely insignificant in comparison to the power draw of steady state operation, when that steady state operation is integrated over intervals as short as 30 seconds (actually, shorter than one second in the case of a CFL).

    I’m not trying to “have it both ways” on the mercury question. The EPA figures are solid. Since CFLs consume far less electricity than incandescents, they lead to far less mercury contamination of the environment. Period.

    “CO2 issues- again, math doesn’t lie”. Our only point of agreement. Well, except for the fact that I accept the valid scientific conclusion that excess human-derived CO2 is causing global climate change. And I follow that to it’s logical conclusion: it pays to switch to CFLs when trying to reduce the amount of CO2 being pumped uneccesarily into our atmosphere.

    It is false that “CFL’s mean nothing in terms of energy savings”. First off, every little bit helps. Second, switching to CFLs is one of the easiest and fastest of all possible responses to our energy, environmental, security, and other concerns. Far faster than grid improvements, for example. And far less expensive. And by the way, since “Energy efficiency standards HAVE been implemented on a variety of appliances”, why not also implement them on light bulbs? There is no earthly reason not to.

  13. @Paladin – you asked to ‘see the math’ with respect to the statement that CFLs use 75% less energy than an equivalent incandescent.

    The math you request is stated on the box of every CFL sold. For example, a widely available CFL that nearly matches the light output of a 60 watt incandescent bulb uses only 13 watts. Let’s see now ………… if I’m not mistaken, 13*4=52, which is less than 60. Since 1/4 is equivalent to 25%, I stand by my statement that CFLs use only about 25% of the energy used by an incandescent of approximately equal brightness. The rest of the energy consumed by that incandescent is wasted as heat, which is why those old-fashioned bulbs get so hot.

  14. To Doug
    You keep telling everyone they are “missing the point”.

    Hardly…
    Light bulbs don’t burn coal and they don’t release any CO2.
    Ordinary simple bulbs are safe popular products, needlessly banned.

    If there is a problem – deal with the problem.
    That means power plants and grids themselves,
    and energy waste that is actual “waste” – as Paladin points out- rather than people’s personal choice of appliances,
    and again, if appliances have to be targeted, that should hardly be the light bulbs in the first instance compared to other options including what Paladin says,
    also street lighting and other changes as on the previous ceolas.net reference.

    More:
    Even if bulbs needed to be targeted (they don’t), they could be taxed and subsidise energy saving bulbs to make them cheaper and equilibrate the market and keep choice,
    though encouraging competition between manufacturers so they make what people want is better – since they have always wanted (good) energy saving products too.

    As for “dubious references”
    re less than 1% US energy saved from regulations:
    US Dept of Energy is hardly dubious, and other sites referenced in turn links to DOE and other institutional statistics.

    Similarly the so-called power factor of common CFLs alone
    means twice the energy is used as your meter says ( http://ceolas.net/#15eux with Sylvania DOE and other references
    – and with more on why supposed CFL savings don’t hold up)

  15. Doug,

    I’m holding off replying because I contacted ERCOT, which controls the grid in Texas. I’ll be back in a few days.

  16. RE “Americans have fully embraced more energy efficient lighting” etc

    OK:
    So why ban the old bulbs then?

    If a new product is preferred to the old one, why ban the old one?
    (No point = little savings)
    If an old product is preferred to the new one, why ban the old one?
    (No point = the old one is better)
    Think about it.

    “Expensive to buy but cheap in the long run”…
    Battery (Energizer bunny!) and washing up liquid manufacturers can imaginatively advertise and sell such products – if they are good enough.
    So can light bulb and other manufacturers,
    rather than happily see the end of unprofitable cheap light bulbs, so that they can make money from
    overly-expensive inferior products that people would not otherwise buy.

    After all:
    Why do all the major light bulb manufacturers welcome being told what light bulbs they can make?

    How manufacturers and vested interests have pushed for the ban on regular light bulbs, and lobbied for CFL favors: http://ceolas.net/#li12ax
    with documentation and copies of official communications.

  17. @lighthouse

    “Light bulbs don’t burn coal and they don’t release any CO2”. How absurd. No one ever said that light bulbs burn coal. But the electricity used to light the bulbs DOES come, in significant part, from burning coal. I stand by my point that less coal needs to be burned to light a CFL than that which needs to be burned to light an equivalent incandescent. Switching to CFLs IS a means to begin to “deal with the problem”. And using incandescents instead of CFLs IS “energy waste that is actual “waste””. Please try to stop making such inane statements. Your pretense at logical argument is laughable.

    It is not the US department of energy that is so dubious – it is the ceolas.net website which is full of dubious arguments, false assumptions, and illogical reasoning. The fact that the website in question refers to dept. of energy figures, in no way legitimizes the ceolas.net website itself. Any liar or ignoramus can make all the references they want while still lying or being incorrect.

    “Similarly the so-called power factor of common CFLs alone means twice the energy is used as your meter says “. This is a totally false statement. The meter reading is 100% correct, regardless of what is connected downstream from the meter. That’s what meters are for. This is a further example of the falseness emanating from ceolas.net; and if you buy this assertion then you are simply revealing your own lack of scientific abilities.

  18. @lighthouse – The majority of your other post appears to be a vague collection of remarks that reveal some sort of belief in a conspiracy theory – but the post basically makes no coherent sense. For example, long before legislation regarding lighting efficiency was even contemplated, millions of consumers were already buying CFLs.

    And interestingly, the legislation does not actually ban incandescents. It simply mandates minimum levels of energy use efficiency, and incandescents simply fail that efficiency standard rather miserably. If an incandescent could be made that satisfied the efficiency requirement, it could continue to be manufactured and sold. I would even happily buy it. But the incandescent technology is so hopelessly outclassed by more efficient approaches (CFLs and LEDs in particular), that there is no chance that incandescents can ever match the efficiency standard. That is a matter of basic physics.

  19. Yeahhh.., while waiting on ERCOT

    Treating the filament of a incan with a laser actually does vastly increase the efficiency

    http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=3385

    According to this article-100 watts of light from less than 60 watts.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090529121556.html

    millions of consumers were already buying CFLs.

    ^actually it peaked in 2007.

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/28/as-cfl-sales-fall-more-incentives-urged/

    CFLs are supported by government subsidies and this is someone is a die hard environmentalist. The entire site is finding ways for alternative energy, learning to work with the land and reducing waste

    http://www.richsoil.com/CFL-fluorescent-light-bulbs.jsp

    On brightness, the European Union admitted that the claims were false

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/6110547/Energy-saving-light-bulbs-offer-dim-future.html

  20. @Paladin

    Interesting article about treating the filament of a incandescent with a laser. Several things to note, however: 1) The efficiency of the treated spot was less than double that of the untreated areas – meaning that a CFL is still more efficient than the treated incandescent would be, 2) I wonder what the added cost to incandescent production would be – the ‘treated’ bulbs could well end up costing much more than a CFL or even an LED, 3) This was a report about some initial experimental results – we are probably still years away from anything like this becoming commercially available. But if, as, and when these and other potential concerns can be solved – as I’ve already noted, I’d consider buying a super-efficient incandescent. I’m not against incandescents – just against the enormous energy waste that they currently represent. Especially when super-efficient alternatives like CFLs are already available.

    Subsidies are coming down for CFLs because their price is dropping. Even without subsidies, they are already far more cost effective than a bunch of incandescents bought to last the same amount of time – exept for high switching rate applications, which I’ve also already noted. For high switching rate applications, the cost savings decrease, but the energy savings are still favorable for CFL use.

  21. And until super efficient incandescents, LEDs, or any other technology, arrives on the market that is 1) as efficient as a CFL and 2) as cost effective as a CFL, then it is the height of stupidity to use anything other than a CFL. You’re saving money. You’re saving energy. You’re saving the environmental impacts of all that extra GHG emitted. It’s currently a win, win, win situation to use CFLs.

  22. Just some additional thoughts about the prospects for super efficient incandescents produced by filament laser treatment.

    The potential cost could be prohibitive. You know, those femtosecond laser lashups ain’t exactly a dime a dozen. And an industry expected to supply most of the bulbs across the entire nation, let alone across the entire world, is going to need hundreds, to thousands, to perhaps more, laser treatment stations to crank out all those bulbs.

    Secondly, caution is also warranted in the bulb lifetime department. It is conceivable that the very laser surface treatment that increases emissions in the visible spectrum may very well also dramatically shorten filament lifetimes. Who knows?

    Third, the probable reason that the treatment works is that the curface cavities and structures produced tend to supress photon states in the spectral regions immediately adjacent to the visible band, and enhance production of photons in the visible band (so that overall energy is conserved). That is fine. But, as noted, the efficiency was still less than double. To increase efficiency even more, this suppression of photon states will have to be extended to regions farther and farther away from the visible band, and visible photon production enhanced even more. But there is only so much surface area available for all these structures, and more structures that operate over different wavelength regions must have different length scales to work properly. It is quite possible, and even somewhat likely, that further dramatic efficiency gains are simply not possible. Now, nothing is ruled out with certainty. But let’s keep our hopes down to reasonable levels while further investigations are carried out.

  23. The original story was about SC trying to pass legislation to get around the federal lighting efficiency law. The discussions we’ve been having are growing ever farther away from that starting point. And trying to do an end run around the efficiency mandate is most certainly a huge step backwards. Think about it. SC is trying to ensure that production of hugely inefficient, old fashioned incandescents can continue into the indefinite future. They are not trying to open a market for any new, super efficient incandescent. They are simply trying to allow continued production and use of an inefficient invention that is easily more than 100 years old.

    That makes no sense. It is wrong for the economics of the average consumer, who will save much more money by using CFLs. It is wrong from the standpoint of increased energy use for all those old fashioned bulbs. And that increased energy use translates directly into increased mercury emissions to support those bulbs. As well as increased emissions of CO2 that contributes to human-caused global climate change, with all the societal, economic, and security costs that such change will entail. And it translates directly into ever increasing energy costs for the ever decreasing remaining reserves of fossil fuels.

    SC is just plain wrong about this – from every angle.

  24. I’m saving the emission/grid questions for ERCOT.

    And an industry expected to supply most of the bulbs across the entire nation, let alone across the entire world, is going to need hundreds, to thousands, to perhaps more, laser treatment stations to crank out all those bulbs.

    ^actually before China came into play there were only four sites producing light bulbs for the entire US. One in Virginia, One in Canada, Mexico and Pennsylvania. Notice that two of these are in the US and by the way, South Carolina also has a light bulb manufacturing company. The American Lightbulb Company. I have bought bulbs from them to support them. This legislation has directly killed the GE plant, and is affecting your local plant that employs South Carolinans. The machine that produces light bulbs is about the size of a refrigerator.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    But, as noted, the efficiency was still less than double.

    ^by the numbers they gave, say they said it was 60 watts to produce 100 watts. (it’s roughly one half plus ten) Things start interesting when you start looking at the lower wattages. For 75 watts, that’s around 22 1/2 watts. For 60 watts, that’s around 20 watts, for 40 watts, it’s 10 watts. So for 40 watts you’ve already surpassed or met what CFL’s can do. And that’s not knowing what the actual efficiency rating is for the new bulb. Notice also that the new bulbs ratings are within just a few watts of the CFL’s.

    http://www.gelighting.com/na/home_lighting/ask_us/faq_compact.htm

    2) as cost effective as a CFL, then it is the height of stupidity to use anything other than a CFL.

    This is really presumptuous and dismissive. You don’t know the situation for each home, and each fixture. For instance, my main kitchen light is a restored 1940’s vintage industrial school light made by Guth. I absolutely love this fixture. It uses a single 300 watt silver bowl incandescent (It’s currently using a 1950’s vintage bulb). It uses a mogul base and there is no CFL replacement for this bulb. As much as you derided Lighthouse over power factor, CFL’s are hell on the speed controls on my vintage ceiling fans. They use a transformer and all CFL’s in the light kits cause them to overheat.

  25. @Paladin

    “actually before China came into play there were only four sites producing light bulbs for the entire US. One in Virginia, One in Canada, Mexico and Pennsylvania”. But it isn’t the number of manufacturing sites I was talking about. It’s the number of laser treatment stations. Each site might need dozens or more. How long does it take to align each filament and treat the entire surface? How often does the laser need to be removed from service and maintained? We are talking about research-grade instruments here, not manufacturing-floor equipment. Femtosecond lasers are a high-end specialty item. They are expensive to buy, and expensive to maintain.

    60 watts is the power input to produce the incandescent-equivalent of 100 watts. But a CFL can produce the equivalent of a 100 watt light output for roughly 23 watts. Good luck on matching or beating that mark. I don’t buy your scaling arguments. The technique is untested and unproven – we will have to wait for the experiments to be performed before blindly guessing. And by the way, the CFL equivalent of a 40 watt bulb uses just 7 watts.

    My actual statement was “It is wrong for the economics of the average consumer”. I stand by that statement. Very few people have vintage light fixtures. And in any event, I am not willing to allow a slowdown or stoppage of our societal response to our urgent problems just because somebody loves their old light fixture. That concept is simply ridiculous. If you like the look, have a replica made. If you want the original, then hang the fixture without a bulb.

    Finally, your are being idealistic in your expectations regarding the laser treatment. As I stated, there are a number of potential show-stoppers for this nascent technology. Above I estimated years before any market introduction. It’s probably fair to say the wait will be more than ten years. And it may never happen at all.

  26. Re: your scaling arguments:

    Somehow you conveniently went from 60/100 to 10/40. That is, you dropped from 60% energy use (the actual data point) down to 25% energy use. That’s one reason why I don’t buy your scaling arguments.

  27. Somehow you conveniently went from 60/100 to 10/40. That is, you dropped from 60% energy use (the actual data point) down to 25% energy use. That’s one reason why I don’t buy your scaling arguments.

    ^?

    Half of 100 is 50 add 10, = 60
    Half of 75 is 35 1/2, add 10= 25 1/2 (Yeah, I screwed up that one, it was 5 am when I added it up.)

    Half of 60 is 30 +10 = 20

    Half of 40 is 20, +10 = 10

    The article states that the bulb was using less than 60 watts to put 100 watts. That’s half plus 10.

    The actual algebraic equation is third grade math.

    (100-50)-10= 40

    (60-30)-10= 20

    I’m not doing the others, you get the idea.

    If you like the look, have a replica made.

    ^of a lamp that’s worth over $300 restored? Decent surviving versions of this lamp are almost non existent.

    If you want the original, then hang the fixture without a bulb.

    Now you’re being silly 😉

    This one is unrestored and hanging in my back room. The restored one is in my kitchen.

    http://img827.imageshack.us/img827/8392/img0349guth2.jpg
    http://img607.imageshack.us/img607/948/img0350aguth.jpg


    Granted, I’m an outlier on my lighting choices, but a more realistic issue is these bulbs are incompatible with many normal fixtures, such as recessed ceilings light where heat buildup kills them faster. They are not recommended for bathroom use because of moisture, they are not recommended for ceiling fans, fully enclosed fixtures, high switching circuits, uncovered outdoor, (which they can actually start fires, along with wrong kind of bulb in a dimmer circuit) in cold temperatures, and my personal favorite, base up. And this from the box itself. So, exactly where are we supposed to use these bulbs?

  28. True enough, Half of 100 is 50 add 10, = 60

    But the last time I looked, half of 75 is 35 1/2, add 10 = 45 1/2 (not 25 1/2)
    half of 60 is 30 + 10 = 40 (not 20)
    Half of 40 is 20 + 10 = 30 (not 10).
    There, I did all of them for you.
    (100-50)-10= 40 <– this has nothing to do with the original data point, nor with the formula you stated (i.e. "it’s roughly one half plus ten"). All you are doing is (mistakenly taking half of and subtracting 10. Which doesn’t even fit the original data point.

    “but a more realistic issue is these bulbs are incompatible with many normal fixtures, such as”:

    “recessed ceilings light where heat buildup kills them faster”. Actually, since CFLs are so efficient, they produce very little heat. Recessed ceiling fixtures are ideal spots for CFLs. I have seven in my own kitchen, and the CFLs are doing great. They’ve been there a long time, too. You can handle a CFL while it is lit, something you can’t do with an incandescent because they are just too hot – that pesky inefficiency issue again.
    “They are not recommended for bathroom use because of moisture”. I have I have a total of 18 CFLs in our bathrooms. They are well. They’ve been there just as long as the ones in our kitchen.
    “they are not recommended for ceiling fans”. I have a total of 20 CFLs in ceiling fans throughout our house. They work great in these locations!
    “fully enclosed fixtures” – I have no examples of these, but see my comments about the recessed lights. The same discussions holds true here.
    “my personal favorite, base up” – Well, let’s see: all my recessed kitchen lights are base up, as are all my ceiling fan lights (ok, they are at about a 45 degree angle from being 100% base up). So CFLs are great for base up applications throughout the house.

    None of the CFLs I have ever bought (and you can see that I’ve bought alot of them), ever came with any recommendations against any of the applications that I’ve just listed for you. And even if you have seen such warnings, my experience runs directly counter to those warnings. All my CFLs perform very well. The only thing that causes premature failure is the high switching rate situation, and I’ve already commented about that above.

    Replicas can be made of any lighting fixture. Age and/or rarity are non-issues.

  29. Oops, my mistake: I do have examples of fully enclosed fixtures (what was I thinking?). In fact, I have a total of 8 such fixtures, with two CFLs apiece, for a total of 16 CFLs installed and operating great within fully enclosed fixtures…

  30. I just counted them all up: a grand total of 79 CFLs installed and operating very well, in various locations at our house. Bathrooms, recessed fixtures, base up applications (14 vertical, 20 inclined at 45 degrees), enclosed fixtures, specialty candelabra bulbs, and ordinary desk and floor lamps.

    And in our previous house there were 31 CFLs. I left them there so that they would continue to save energy for the new occupant.

  31. what i think someone else said above and whati believe the feds want to do is set performance standards not dictate the kind of bulb you buy. silly people. If people are so attached to incandescents then they should figure out how to make them to meet those standards!

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