The Scotsman; Energysaving light bulbs: Maybe they’re not such a bright idea after all

Posted March 10, 2010 // Tagged as News Clippings // No Comments ↓

Saturday, 12th December 2009

Published Date: 20 November 2009
By Robert Dex
ENERGY-SAVING light bulbs lose a fifth of their brightness over their lifetime, according to new research. The bulbs, known as compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), use up to 80 per cent less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs, which are being phased out of shops.
But a study carried out by a German consumer group found CFLs lose much of their brightness over their lifetime and can end up emitting just 60 per cent as much light as their nearest equivalent traditional bulb. Researchers tested 18 CFLs over 10,000 hours and found an average reduction in brightness of 22 per cent. Three of the bulbs stopped working altogether. Traditional bulbs lose no more than 7 per cent of their brightness by the time they stop working – which is about 2,000 hours after first being used.

Dickon Ross, editor of Engineering and Technology magazine, which published the research, said consumers were being misled. He said: “There is a big difference between what most bulbs’ packaging promises and what the reality is. It’s no wonder so many consumers are dissatisfied with the bulbs.”
Earlier this year, countries across the EU started a mandatory phase-out of 100W and frosted incandescent light bulbs in favour of energy-efficient CFLs following a voluntary phase-out that started in 2007. Supporters of the new bulbs say they can cut a home’s annual energy bill by up to £37 and save 135kg of each year. However, others say the energy-saving light bulbs can trigger migraines, exacerbate skin conditions and lead to other health problems.
In August, it became illegal for retailers to import 100W, frosted or pearled incandescent light bulbs, or to sell them once their current stocks have run out. Instead, consumers have to rely upon CFLs or low-energy halogen bulbs. From September 2011, 60W clear incandescent bulbs will be banned, followed by a ban on all remaining incandescent bulbs in September 2012. The EU says the measures will save enough energy by 2020 to power 11 million households every year, reducing emissions of carbon dioxide by 15 million tonnes a year. It says conventional incandescent light bulbs convert only about 10 per cent of the energy they use into light, with the rest given off as heat. Dr Paula Owen, at the Energy Saving Trust, the government-backed body, said good energy-saving light bulbs would only be noticeably dimmer after six to ten years. She added: “Typically, a low-energy light bulb used in a living room will last ten times longer than a traditional one. “In this time, the householder will have saved about £65 on their energy bill.” However, David Price, of Spectrum, an alliance of charities working with people with light-sensitive health conditions, said public concerns were being ignored in the move to energy efficiency.
Last Updated: 20 November 2009 12:46 PM
Source: The Scotsman
Location: Edinburgh
Energy-saving light bulbs: Maybe they’re not such a bright idea a……

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