Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More on Ban on Traditional Light Bulbs (see prior posts)

Tom writes:
I thought I would highlight this as I recall other messages on the issue in
other countries.

As one can see, there's a consultation period so people could send in
information or comments they have ready for other situations.

If the situation in Ireland was to be altered, it might be a useful
precedent to refer to in other countries e.g. if there was to be limited
access to traditional light bulbs for people for whom the new light bulbs
did not suit for medical reasons.  Also perhaps they could be ordered from

Hopefully it's self-explanatory.

Feel free to forward this E-mail to others who you know are interested in
this issue.

Please do not contact me with regards to this and please do not send on my
E-mail address as this is not an area that I have researched and I already
have enough work to be doing in the ME world.



Minister Gormley Launches Consultation Paper on Light Bulbs


John Gormley, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government, today (10  October 2008) launched a consultation paper on a
proposed energy efficiency and performance standard for light bulbs.

The consultation paper (  i.e.,18645,en.pdf ) outlines details of the proposed standard that will be introduced on a phased basis
over a number of years.

The Minister said "An important step in achieving this objective is to
remove the most energy inefficient light bulbs from the Irish market as
early as possible.  With more energy efficient alternatives now widely
available, the proposed standard is a sensible and timely measure in terms
of reducing both the carbon intensity and cost of general lighting".

The types of bulbs which will not meet the proposed standard, and, as a
consequence, will no longer be available on the Irish market are ordinary
incandescent tungsten filament bulbs and low energy-efficient incandescent
tungsten filament halogen bulbs for general lighting.

The first phase will be introduced in March 2009 and will apply to bulbs of
75W and above.  This will eliminate a substantial number, possibly in the
region of half, of the most energy inefficient light bulbs from the Irish

"The proposed standard will offer significant benefits for consumers in
terms of reducing the cost of lighting and for the environment in terms of
reducing greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change.  It
provides a great opportunity for individuals to actively engage in reducing
greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce their carbon footprint.  The
consultation process provides an opportunity for all concerned to make their
views known" said the Minister.

Comments are invited from all interested individuals and organisations by 14
November 2008, either by email to:

or by post to:

Alex Hurley,
National Climate Change Policy Section,
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government,
Custom House,
Dublin 1.


"What about medical conditions? Is it true that some energy efficient
lighting has negative effects on people suffering from conditions such as

Again, this is an area covered by this consultation process, to establish if
this is the case, and if any special measures are needed to cater for this.
However, as per above, Tungsten Halogen Bulbs would seem to provide the
answer if this is the case."

Tom adds:

Sources of further information that came up on a quick search (far from a
complete list but might get people started):
Spectrum Alliance


The UK and EU plans to phase out incandescent lightbulbs will mean suffering
and total social exclusion for people with light sensitivity conditions.

People with conditions including lupus, XP, forms of eczema and dermatitis,
electrosensitivity, ME, autism, epilepsy, migraines, certain types of
porphyria, and many more can suffer severe and painful reactions to
non-incandescent lighting.

Don't let the needs of sick and disabled people be ignored - go to the
Campaign Page to see how you can help
(A lot of it apart from the top is in English)

Email sent to European Parliamentarians: low energy light bulbs Options  i.e.
* * *
Tony writes:
Reference Tom Kindlons article on light bulbs I believe members would
be interested in the article below. This article is on Russ Andrews
website. Russ probably knows more about mains electricity in the UK
than any other person

Regards Tony

How green are low energy bulbs?

The EU has ruled that ordinary 40W / 60W / 100W incandescent lamps
will be banned from 2012. The decree is that domestic lights will be
replaced with 'energy saving' lightbulbs (or, more correctly 'compact
fluorescent lamps' or CFLs) in the interest of energy saving and
reducing our carbon footprint. It is claimed that these CFLs use 25%
of the energy and last eight times as long as the equivalent
incandescent lamps – and so will help "save the planet".

To understand more, some key things to know about are apparent power,
real power and the power factor. Apparent power is the amount of
energy an electricity company needs to supply to produce the real
power required by a component or a piece of equipment. Electrical
equipment where the apparent power is the same as the real power has a
power factor of 1. If a piece of equipment requires more apparent
power to produce the real power, it has a power factor of less than 1.
It doesn't take a genius to work out that equipment with a power
factor nearer 0 is not as 'green' or 'environmentally sensitive' as an
electrical component with a power factor nearer 1.

Knowing this, I've tested several CFLs with surprising results: taking
a sample 60W light bulb as a reference against the equivalent 13W CFL,
the CFL used more than twice as much apparent power as real power.
Compared with ordinary incandescent light bulbs, CFLs have a poor
power factor because they require more than the minimum apparent power
to supply the real power.

My tests have shown that the CFLs use half the power of a 60W lamp,
not quarter as stated and that's before taking into account the extra
power the supplier must generate.

The power difference between the real power consumed by the CFL (in
the case of the Osram, it's almost 15 watts) and the apparent power is
wasted in more ways than one. The electricity supply becomes less
efficient because it senses the difference between the real and
apparent and becomes unbalanced by the redundant currents swilling
around. The result is that it must generate more power than is really
being used and the system needs to be upgraded to handle it. The cost
of generation goes up and so the cost to the consumer goes up with it.
The net result of using CFLs is that there is no saving whatever
quite the opposite; the electricity supply system has doubled its
output and doubled its carbon emissions. The more people use CFLs, the
worse the problem will become. And that's before we've even talked
about the fact that CFLs use mercury in their construction, which
leads to more issues in their disposal
. Utter stupidity… isn't it
better just to switch off a few lights?

What has all this got to do with your system? Hi-Fi and Home Cinema
systems contain transformers and often have a low power factor. A 100W
amplifier can demand up to 100 amps from the electricity supply for a
millisecond to reproduce a drum transient. The lower the power factor,
the less current is available to accurately reproduce the dynamics of
your music – it's effectively being used as 'apparent' power. And the
more CFLs you fit, the worse the situation becomes. Me? I'm going back
to candles!
* * *
I say: 
I can't speak to the newer compact fluorescents, which I haven't tried, but can say that the older ones were problematic for me.
The manufacturers assure us that they've fixed the problems, but I'm still hearing reports of problems from people who've tried the newer ones.
Someone I know online teaches Special Ed.  Like most school buildings, her room has overhead fluorescents (the really old tube kind); the instant someone accidentally switches them on, some of her autistic kids start screaming.  They light their classroom entirely with incandescents.  Apparently, the autistic kids do react to the compact fluorescents if someone tries putting those in the floor lamps.
So, this is a real concern for a lot of people.  Like Tom, I have my plate full otherwise, but there is a CFS-er/lawyer working on it if anyone wants to contact her with your personal stories.  (Search this blog for "incandescent" and her contact info is in one of those prior blog posts.)  She's framing it as an ADA issue -- disabled people who react to fluorescent lighting are entitled to reasonable accommodation, and that includes lighting that doesn't make them sicker.
Meanwhile, if you live in one of the places (including the US) trying to outlaw incandescent bulbs, I recommend stocking up before they disappear.  For those of you who stitch or do artwork, the true color bulbs from cost more upfront, but they last forever.  The one over my stitching spot was on 8+ hours a day for over a year before it finally gave up the ghost.  In a fit of frugality, I decided to try the true color bulbs at WalMart.  I was replacing them every 4-6 weeks, so a year's worth of those would've cost more than the Verilux cost for a year.  Now I order the Verilux by the case for the quantity discount.
I'd also urge you to send Tony's comments to your legislators, especially the part about "no savings whatsoever".


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