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View Diary: The rise of LED light bulbs (218 comments)

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  •  You can buy mini cfls (1+ / 0-)
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    That will fit almost any fixture. They're no larger than an old bulb.

    I like the daylight ones, but the light does have a cooler cast than some others.

    •  Yeah, I think most people (9+ / 0-)

      would prefer the "warm" ones (which actually are a cooler "color temperature" - go fig) because they look more like incandescent, more of a golden hue.

      I think this diary puts too much spin against CFLs and in favor of LEDs.  The real efficiency difference in terms of light-visible-to-the-human-eye per watt between LEDs and CFLs is really rather small.  And the amount of mercury really is tiny.  They average something like 3mg - the mass of about 25 grains of salt.  Mercury isn't that strong of a toxin.  Remember, kids in the olden days used to play around with the stuff with their hands (wasn't good for them, but it drives home the point, this isn't sarin we're talking about here).  Also, CFLs have elemental mercury, not "organic" mercury (methyl- and dimethyl- mercury).  It's significantly less bioactive than organic mercury that comes from power plants and is found in food.  Most of the mercury remains on the glass (unless left sitting around for long periods).  One study found that even after two weeks only 14-40% had evaporated.  If you clean it up right away, we're talking a couple tenths of a milligram released into your home.  Of which maybe a couple hundredths might end up in your body.  Which is equivalent in terms of health consequences to a couple micrograms of methylmercury in food.    A can of tuna has a couple hundred micrograms of methylmercury.  I mean, it's really not an issue.

      •  That's a fair critique (2+ / 0-)
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        ozsea1, nzanne

        Judging from some of the comments here, I definitely have come across as too much like I'm selling a product.  That wasn't really my intention.  While I'm advocating for LEDs, I should have noted that I myself currently still have 3 CFLs lighting my apartment in addition to the LEDs.  But I am personally phasing them out.  LEDs are still very costly for me, and so the small directional issues I had didn't warrant me getting an even more expensive than the relatively cheap (for LED) $15 bulbs that could potentially address the issue.  I've seen bulbs that are less directional, but are quite pricy and out of my budget.  Noted, also, about the mercury.  I'm certainly no scientist, and I don't think any of the problems I mentioned are anything to be overly alarmed of, but since LEDs have none of those concerns AND are more energy efficient, I'm hoping they're the direction we head.

        •  Heh, I just wish *either* were cheap up here (1+ / 0-)
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          in Iceland.  Despite the reputation as a "green" country, most people here use incandescent.  Electronics (including LED and CFL) are expensive and power is cheap.

          •  But doesn't Iceland use geothermal power? (1+ / 0-)
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            •  Only about a quarter of the electricity is geo. (3+ / 0-)
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              ozsea1, nzanne, BYw

              Almost all of the rest is hydroelectric.  Although one could make the argument that most of the hydro goes to aluminum smelting and most people are on geo... but either way...

              Also, it's not like geo is impact-free, or that wasting power that could be used to offset power consumption elsewhere (aka, running power intensive industry in Iceland instead of on coal in some other country) is a good thing.

              Also, about geo, and probably one of the reasons for the confusion: 60% of Iceland's "primary energy" (all forms of energy combined, not just electricity) is geo.  But most of this is in the form of hot water, not electricity.  :)

              •  If you heat with electricity (1+ / 0-)
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                and it's cold enough outside to require heating, then incandescents are great. The waste heat isn't wasted, it's warming your house.

                "The right is correct on one thing...we really are a bunch of easily outraged nitpickers."

                by potato on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:19:17 AM PST

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                •  I've often found it strange that when (0+ / 0-)

                  I point this:

                  If you heat with electricity and it's cold enough outside to require heating, then incandescents are great. The waste heat isn't wasted, it's warming your house.
                  out to people they act as if the idea is ridiculous even when they have no counter argument. Even if you heat in other ways that you consider more efficient than electric it is still only a slight loss.

                  I would also note that the seasons in which heating is needed tends to correspond (though not perfectly of course) to the seasons in which light is needed.  Of course this is offset somewhat by the delay in the temperature change relative to the daylight change leading to relatively warm but short fall days and relatively cool by long spring days. Nevertheless, I suspect energy savings in changing from incandescent bulbs in northern areas might be significantly offset by the fact a substantial majority of the hours in which lighting is needed occur when heat is also needed.

                  •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

                    from an American perspective, the equation is:

                    fuel -> heat -> electricity (60-70% loss) -> transmission (5-10% loss) -> heat (1% loss)


                    fuel -> distribution (5-10% loss) -> heat (3-10% loss)

                    Clearly you can see the difference there  :)

                    From an Icelandic equation, swap "fuel" with "hot water".  And actually it's more significant because power's generally only generated from the less common "very hot" waters (usually 130C+) rather than the easily-available merely "hot" waters (90-130C).

                    Anyway, it's clear that the value of heating with electricity, whether it's a lightbulb or an electric heater, is horribly inefficient.  And so you don't want to be heating with incandescent bulbs.  And of course it goes the other way, too - in the summer, that waste heat is extra heat your AC has to pump out of your home (not applicable here in Iceland, since our cooling is of the "open the window slat" variety)

                •  Highly inefficiently... (0+ / 0-)

                  and in the summer raising your air conditioning bill (assuming you're in a place that requires AC in the summer, aka, most of the US).

                  Getting heat straight from the practically limitless lower-temperature hot waters here in Iceland instead of using the harder-to-get higher-temperature hot waters and turning them to electricity at 25% efficiency and then using that for heat... well, I'm sure you can see the difference.

                  The heat is a minor benefit but in no way one which counters its far greater environmental cost.

        •  hell, stick to your guns. (0+ / 0-)

          LED's are also:

          Less fragile than CFLs.

          Far longer-lived. Nevermind the assertions that your CFLs will last 7 years or whatever, I doubt I've ever had one go longer than 3. By contrast, your LED bulbs will last ... well, longer than you, probably. In fact, they were originally hyped not for their energy efficiency (which was good, but not even as good as CFLs) but for their life, meaning they were great for uses where replacing bulbs is expensive. IRONY ALERT: This caused problems in Minnesota, where the bulbs were installed in traffic lights (which are lights that have a VERY high down-time/replacement cost) ... but unlike their predecessors, they didn't get hot enough to melt blowing snow on a cold day ... so the traffic lights got all clogged with snow.

          Much cooler. CFLs are to LEDs as Pat Boone is to Little Richard.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:32:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  We have over 100 CFLs in our house, (2+ / 0-)
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        ozsea1, nzanne

        mostly put in around 10 years ago -- only two have burned out in that time, and I have NEVER broken one, such that Hg would be released.

        We also have strip LED lighting under our kitchen cabinets -- these are the lights that are on more than any others in our house. Most of the time we can get by with just those on while cooking and eating, and the whole array only draws 17 W.

        To replace ALL our CFLs with LEDs would be cost prohibitive, and in cases where they are seldom used (closets, basement) would bring negligible energy savings.

        I guess a rule of thumb would be, ditch all your incandescents; replace with CFLs everywhere except (1) the few lights that are on the most, or (2) where they are likely to be in the reach of small kids. In those cases, go LED.

        Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

        by memiller on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:40:12 AM PST

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        •  You must have a hell of a house. (0+ / 0-)

          I have about 20 bulbs of all types, I think.

          I'm surprised by your success with CFLs. As I note in another comment, I don't think I've ever had one last more than 3 years.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:37:05 PM PST

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          •  I don't doubt what you say (0+ / 0-)

            I've noticed in previous discussions of this issue that different people have wildly different experiences with different types of lighting fixtures. I wonder if it is their behaviour (duty cycles), differences in power quality, climate, quality of bulbs? I haven't a clue.

            Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

            by memiller on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 05:44:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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