Is The Light Bulb Ban A Bright Idea?

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.




5 thoughts on “Is The Light Bulb Ban A Bright Idea?

  1. Dave Vincenzi

    While I do believe that we need to progress technologies such as these I don’t feel we are ready for a ban of this magnitude at this point in time. It seems as though there are currently many unanswered questions regarding the environmental impact and longevity of such a product. I agree with the statement regarding to LED’s being a “thing” of the future however that technology is going to require a lot of refinement to get it to the level the market is currently at. I’m curious to see the amount of energy that goes in to making an incandescent light bulb versus a CFL.

  2. Richard

    Here is the answer to your question, I found it at this website: the bottom line is that a CFL requires 1.7kWh to produce and an incandescent requires 0.3kWh. However it only takes 50hrs for a CFL to overcome this energy difference when compared to the incandescent. I encourage you to look at the graph as well as it is very detailed.

  3. Tess

    The mercury in the CFL should be a bigger problem than it seems like the law is taking it. You need to consider all aspects of the life of the bulb, just not the length of the bulbs life. Not knowing all the details, I feel like the environmental and health concerns with an CFL bulb may come up in the future when they are more widely used.

  4. AJ Tingle

    I believe that the government needs to provide the public with more information about this new law, mainly because of the way that the bulbs need to be disposed of. The article made it seem that the places that can recycle CFL’s are not being very public about it and that there needs to be a better plan for places that need more recycling facilities. It also seems that once LED technology is improved that CFLs will become illegal as well.


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