Lighting choices constitute an important factor in Green Living
Based on the amount of virtual ink spilled on the issue of CFL utility in such a short period of time, it appears that almost as many people share a fondness for light bulb discussions as the amount of people who enjoy light bulb jokes.
On the one hand, the leading article noted,
"California's utilities are spending $548 million over seven years to subsidize consumer purchases of compact fluorescent lamps. But the benefits are turning out to be less than expected.
One reason is bulbs have gotten so cheap that Californians buy more than they need and sock them away for future use. Another reason is the bulbs are burning out faster than expected."
Left unsaid was the issue of the lightbulb brand(s) included in the CA study. Were the majority of the subsidized lightbulbs produced by familiar brand name companies, or start-ups seeking to earn a quick "subsidized dollar"? It could be the fact that some lightbulb producers produce longer lasting bulbs. OTOH, it could also be a fact that the entire light bulb industry over promised and under delivered in their zeal for earning a quick "subsidized dollar".
Other issues such as the use of mercury in CFL manufacturing, need to be taken more seriously than they have to date.
Other issues such as the "poor light" produced by CFLs need to be taken with a grain of salt. It does come across that opponents of energy saving lighting devices push the idea of poor lighting quality as a way to downplay their utility. The fact that CFL production spans the light spectrum, from soft light to daylight (6500K) means that there's a CFL for every lighting need.
IMHO, LEDs represent the light of the future. With the ability to produce light above the 6500K mark, they also span the lighting spectrum from soft light to daylight. Mercury is not one of their basic components. They last longer than incandescent lights and CFLs, making them a perfect addition to the energy neutral homes of the future.
What concerns me is the possibility, that as LED prices decline, creating a surplus of CFLs, developed states and their brand name producers will think it's a good idea to dump a bunch a mercury laden CFls on developing states, without providing the necessary funds for recycling the mercury once those CFLs burn out. That's no lightbulb joke.