A new law that goes into effect on 01 January 2012 begins a ban on incandescent light bulbs starting with 100 watt bulbs and moving towards the lesser wattages over the coming years in an effort to save money. The real question is, does the current replacement bulb, the compact fluorescent bulb, effectively replace the incandescent bulbs. Has the bulb technology progressed to provide us with a suitable replacement.
Current compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFL’s, have claims of extraordinary lifespans but in reality the lifespans are vastly different between brands. The CFL’s also are much more expensive than the traditional incandescent lamp. The CLF’s also provide a different color light and are not suited for dimming applications or for lamps with multiple brightness settings. CFL bulbs also have a much larger environmental and health impacts. They contain mercury and cannot be cleaned up in the same manner as when a traditional bulb is broken.
With all these drawbacks, it is necessary to look for more alternatives. One alternative to the CFL is the LED bulb. LED bulbs unfortunately have not progressed in technology to where they are a viable replacement for the incandescent or CFL bulb. LED do require less energy and also have a much smaller impact on the environment (no mercury) but at the moment are nearly 50$ per bulb. This extremely high cost puts it out of reach for just about any consumer, especially when the lifespan of the bulb is less than that of a CFL.
This brings up the issue of stop-gap measures. Is this light bulb ban just another example of governmental propagation of environmental stop-gap measures? Or does it have a positive lasting effect on the environment?
Here is the link to the article I found in Popular Mechanics: http://www.popularmechanics.