This is an update on a post from 2007. I think most of what I wrote and reproduced on the blog still stands. But apparently the Canadian Government doesn't think so. It has removed all the information I copied from their web site (available below). Pretty much all you find now is information extolling the virtues of compact fluorescents. Yet, still no comprehensive plan to dispose of damaged and expired CFLs (they contain toxic amounts of mercury).
A few updates and additions, courtesy of Wikipedia:
- CFLs produce less light later in their lives than when they are new.
- The current price of CFLs reflects the manufacturing of nearly all CFLs in China, where labour costs less.
- Because of delays when used outside in cold weather, CFLs are not suitable for motion-activated lighting.
- If individuals are exposed to the light produced by some single-envelope compact fluorescent lamps for long periods of time at distances of less than 20 cm, it could lead to ultraviolet exposures approaching the current workplace limit set to protect workers from skin and retinal damage.
- In the past decade, hundreds of Chinese factory workers who manufacture CFLs for export to first world countries were being poisoned and hospitalized because of mercury exposure.
- In some places, such as Quebec and British Columbia, central heating for homes is provided by the burning of natural gas, whereas electricity is primarily provided by hydroelectric or nuclear power. In such areas, heat generated by conventional electric light bulbs significantly reduces the release of greenhouse gases from the natural gas. Ivanco, Karney, and Waher estimate that "If all homes in Quebec were required to switch from (incandescent) bulbs to CFLs, there would be an increase of almost 220,000 tonnes in CO2 emissions in the province, equivalent to the annual emissions from more than 40,000 automobiles."
Buy incandescents while you still can. The price is already going up as demand is exceeding supply. Despite resolutions and requests from many representative bodies, many governments seem determined to go ahead with a ban on incandescent bulbs.
A Canadian government that claims to believe in minimal interference in our lives is telling us how we can light our homes.
An interesting video showing CFLs perfom worse than incandescents in many situations:
HERE'S WHAT I POSTED IN 2007:
I'm up there when it comes to minimizing energy use but remain leery about the much-touted compact fluorescent. Interestingly, it took a fair bit of online research to find out the difference in colour spectra of the two. In the end, it was a Government of Canada web page that told me that the old incandescents continue to provide more accurate colour rendition.
The Colour Rendering Index (CRI) of a lamp reflects how accurately the colour of an object can be determined under a given light source. Compact fluorescent lamps have a CRI of 82 (out of 100), which is considered excellent for fluorescent sources and good for artificial light in general. Incandescent lamps have a CRI of 97. Incandescent lamps provide excellent colour rendering because of the full spectrum of colour wavelengths present in the light they produce.
and that compact fluorescents, are affected by temperature, getting less efficient as the temperature moves above or below 25°C
Low temperatures pose the greatest problems for CF lamps. Not all compact fluorescent systems are equally susceptible to low-temperature problems, but in general, as temperature drops, so does light output and efficacy. At very low temperatures (below 32°F or 0°C), lamp output can decline to one-third the rated value or less. It is important to note that some CF lamps will have to warm up a while before producing sufficient light under cold conditions, some may take several minutes to ignite, and some won't start at all.
High ambient temperatures can be produced around enclosed CF lamps in interior lighting applications. In addition, less-efficient ballasts will introduce more heat into fixture enclosures. The IES Lighting Handbook points out that a 1% loss in light output (for fluorescent lamps in general) can be expected for every 2°F (1.1°C) above the optimum ambient temperature of 76°F (25°C). Efficiency can also drop, to some degree, at these higher temperatures. Ventilated fixtures for CF lamps remove excess heat from the enclosure.
. . . and that compact fluorescents deteriorate quicker with increased frequency of on-off switching.
While incandescent lamps do not suffer any reduction in service life from switching, fluorescent lamps do to a small extent. Consequently, the costs of shortened lamp life should not be overlooked when considering CF lamps in applications requiring frequent switching.
Recycling of ballasts is another issue. Is this the old nuclear energy argument in a nutshell: great energy but serious pollution/disposal problems?
So, while I want them to succeed, I'm being very conservative in switching, presently having only two: one in our crawl-space and one providing supplementary lighting for some indoor plants.